This past few days have been like I’m walking around with my eyes closed. Between leaving my mom for 2 years to using my first squatty potty (google Tanzanian toilet for the official image) I have already had many new experiences and all of them seem to feel like I am experiencing them in the third person.
On Tuesday I officially left the US en route to my new home. If you know me you know that I have never been on an international flight and I had the emotions/reactions of a kid at their first sleepover! A mix of containing my excitement so I don’t look like a noob, invading my neighbors privacy while I examined every part of my immediate cabin area, and sheer terror realizing the fact that I would soon be taking off on a 14 hour flight leaving behind everything I have ever known. It was surreal when we took off and in that moment I finally felt a bit of relaxation; the next 14 hours were out of my control so naturally I fell asleep…only to wake up and find I had missed the free wine(dammit).
From there we had a layover in Johannesburg where I learned while going through security that I had scissors in my carry on. This was made worse when they pulled my bag aside and told me and I confidently replies that I didn’t…which obviously resulted in them tearing apart my bag and then me looking like an ass when they found them. We then boarded a flight to Dar es Salaam where we were eagerly greeted by Peace Corps staff who helped us collect our luggage and then ushered us to buses that we took to our training location.
When we got to our training location we were again greeted by enthusiastic Peace Corps staff, given a brief overview of what to expect for the next little bit, and sent to dinner. In the time we left the US to finally reaching Tanzania we lost about a day due to time differences, so it is now almost the end of Thursday and we have already had 3 language lessons where I have learned 2 of my current favorite phrases. The first phrase being “pole pole” which phonetically is said like it has an “A” on the end of it, so pole pola which in english translates to slow or slower, which describes me perfectly right now; slow in moving, slow in learning, slow in everything. The second being “mambo” translating to “what’s up” which is answered with “poa” which is cool or “safi” which is fresh or clean, which I am neither of but it’s really “swaggy to say” according to our teacher.
An odd mix of emotions and sleeplessness (which honestly translates into more emotion) has been my lot for the past couple of days, but when I think about where I am in this exact moment I honestly couldn’t be more excited to finally be here getting to participate in this amazing experience.
P.S. Today we also learn that “jamba” in swahili is fart….what the heck Jamba Juice??