Part III Return to the good ol' USA
'In Romania, I've learned to live with lowered standards. In Mozambique, I've learned to live without.'
This is a line I've used a few times, and it's a statement I'm testing this trip home. How much can I preserve my viewpoint and adopted way of life surrounded by all that America is?
Catching connecting flights, I began to notice more and more passengers speaking English. Kind of like noticing the water temperature slowly change.
I've decided it is hard to travel and look well groomed. Travelers are unkempt people. It's too difficult trying to walk out the pages of GQ magazine onto a plane with all your crap in tow. I struck upon a nice costume for traveling. . I'd bought a giant basket the shape of those hats worn in Vietnamese rice paddies. The easiest way to carry it was on my head. Everyone from the kids on the street I passed in Vilanculos, sweating, hauling my butt to the airport on foot, to the women hawking credit card subscriptions in Atlanta, loved the hat. All you need then, is something slightly ridiculous. On my trip back to Africa, maybe clown shoes?
Last trip home I was trying only to get ready for the next step. This trip home I'm hoping to actually reach out to friends. But, not been able to since Jame, Cristy, and nephew Jesse are in town.
There are the predictable highlights: cheese, pizza, & coke. A muppets movie with popcorn and killing machines with the lobby's video game 'Terminator Salvation.' My parents organized a party for family and family friends that was like stepping onto a hug carousel. Other highlights include last night's giving my nephew a bath and listening to Al Green for the first time in 3 years.
Adjustments: walking into the Stop & Shop I noticed the potato chip bags have gotten bigger. The bakery there is filled with delectable treats. The shelves were arm deep, stacked with cans, cookies, plastic things, ice cream, nuts, chocolate....I'm flabbergasted that our economy can support this much stuff. How does this store not go out of business having so much capitol tied up into cupcakes and bread stuff that goes bad after a day and 1/2? I can see how there's an obesity epidemic. There's just too much good food around and it's too cheap! I wanna get fat too!
It seems that forces, like those reacting to Environmental Dangers, are gathering, educating people about nutrition, organic options, etc. but it's not happening fast enough.
In Machanga, I don't have a refrigerator: no milk, no cheese, no meat, no problem. With all my condiments, my kitchen compared to other Mozambicans, is intense. Mine, in comparison to kitchens here is a rusty old chevette. I'm cooking dinner for my neighbor this Sunday, and opening her fridge to peruse, she stated: 'I have nothing.' But, oh wow, she had so much!
Also, there's the getting used to driving everywhere. Yesterday I went for an hour and a half walk to staples. That felt good. It would have been a 10 minute round trip drive. Let me tell you, I'm glad I walked. Even though my folks live on kind of a jetty without a lot of traffic, I was still passed by cars every few minutes. Visiting the local gas station, passing the reflective shiny speed signs, getting passed by more cars, entering Staples where there's so much more stuff...I was struck by just how complex life is here. I passed on the way some marshes. Saw some berries I've missed until now and some lumber and other detritus. Those natural systems are awful complex, but our complex systems are pushing them off to the side.
One developing so much faster, changing faster then the other.