1. The thing I am most looking forward to upon my return to the US is getting my hair cut. More than anything else: more than getting a massage, more than sitting down to poo, more than drinking tap water, more than drinking a soy chai latte--a haircut.
2. My sweet cat is about to have kittens. I have never seen kittens being born before. When we bring her home with us, I want to have her in the cabin of the plane with us but Tony thinks she will meow the entire 20 hour trip home; I think that would be really funny.
3. It is going to be very, very hard for me to say goodbye to my closest Tanzanian friends when we're finished with our service. There are no words to describe how their kindness has made me feel welcome and safe. Many of these friends have AIDS, which makes saying goodbye even more difficult.
4. I don't think I can happily live my life without all the tropical fruit I've been eating for the last 21 months (plus two extra months in Asia before we came to Tanzania).
5. I had no idea how hard this would be, for all sorts of reasons I never anticipated.
6. Traveling in Tanzania on public transportation (our only kind) sucks. There is no other way to say it. It is the worst part of living here.
7. Every single day, everywhere I go, everything I do: I am watched. When I walk down the road people stop and stare at me. When I hang clothes on the line to dry, people stop and stare at me. When I speak to someone at the market, other people stop to listen to me. When I sit in my courtyard, people try to see me through my fence. People yell at me to get my attention. I crave anonymity and I can't wait to be ignored again.
8. I worry that Tony and I will be really annoying when we come home: "When we lived in Tanzania, we..." Be patient with us as we work it all out. We will be different people when we come home than we were before we left.
9. I am really happy to be here.
10. Some of the things we've seen we will not be able to talk about; we have witnessed some awful things that would be extremely upsetting to talk about and hear about. So we won't tell you the whole story.
11. I wish everyone could live in a developing country for a while. It brings amazing perspective.
12. My favorite Swahili sentence: Karibu tule. It means "Welcome, let's eat." If a Tanzanian is eating something and you walk past, you will be invited to share. No matter how poor the person is, you will always be asked to join in. This is not special treatment because I'm a foreigner--everyone is always invited to join in. I love this about Tanzania.
13. Have I mentioned the fruit??