If you’re looking for a vivid mental image, take a moment to read about my chaotic welcome home to village life in Kenya. I hadn’t been in my house for a few weeks as I was blissfully enjoying the luxuries of my American vacation, but coming back to my vacant house was a bit more dramatic that I would have preferred...
I stepped into my dark house, hesitantly and weary of what creatures had taken over in my absence. One foot in the door, I realized that my flea problem had yet to subside, and in their state of ravenous hunger (no dog/human flesh to feast on for three weeks!) they eagerly attacked my flea-bite-free legs. Whatever, I thought, I have come prepared with flea bombs for this pesky problem!
I proceeded into my room.
“Not too bad,” I thought. For being gone for a few weeks I was expecting much worse.
I opened my dresser drawer and noticed that something was off. My clothing seemed oddly nest shaped.
At that moment, a rat jumped out of my drawer OVER my shoulder and onto the floor. I’m sure he was equally startled at my looming figure staring over his newfound, cozy, home. Then, my hungry cat jumped into the chaos and started chasing the rat around the room. I started screaming, the rat started squealing and my cat started sprinting around the room. In all the noise, another rat flies out of my dresser and joins the frantic bustle that is now taking place in my room. I jump on the bed and watch as my cat chases two rats around the room creating a slightly hilarious, slightly disgusting game of cat and mouse around my feet.
After a few short minutes, my cat comes out victorious and drags her TWO fresh kills under my bed. As I calm down and survey my dresser for additional rodents, my cat crunches bones beneath my bed.
“Gross!” I mumble to myself. My cat doesn’t understand. She’s thrilled.
I do some cleaning : transfer the mutilated rat carcasses outside, sweep, open my windows, take a bucket bath, and survey what’s left of my rat eaten cupboard contents. My allergies flare up, I take a benedryl and drift off to sleep dreaming about my rat-free room in California.
Sometime in the late evening, I start to dream about a breeze blowing across my face. Am I in a beach breeze room in Zanzibar? Did I leave the fan on in my comfy room in the states? I flick my hand at whatever is disturbing my sleep.
“Hmmm, that’s weird. Breezes don’t normally scuttle,” I think in my half-lucid state of sleep.
I sit straight up in bed to find that I’m brushing at not a breeze, not my mosquito net, but a fleet of cockroaches crawling across my bed.
And that, my friends, was how I spent my first day back in the village. While I know (and hope!) that my house can only get cleaner from here on out, it was quite a jarring welcome back to village life. As I sit here, slightly squeamish at the thought of being completely outnumbered by the number of unwelcome household guests, I reminisce fondly of my amazing vacation in the states. Here are some pictures from my visit home!
I was honored to be a bridesmaid in my best friend from college’s beautiful wedding. It was certainly the most gorgeous, fun, memorable wedding ever. They had a photobooth, fireworks, delicious food, and dancing! Here are the bridesmaids with the pretty hills of salt lake in the distance:
It was great to see friends from USC too! We all lived together our junior year:
I also was fortunate enough to have my longtime boyfriend come home from Afghanistan for his leave at the same time as mine. We went to Monterey for a night and enjoyed the beach, tourist attractions, and of course, the aquarium. Can you believe that these are seahorses?!
Did I mention that I brought my dogs back to the states? Well, I did! And it was a bit of a fiasco, but Nala and her puppy Kibo are now Kenyan immigrants. They had quite the time adjusting to American life. Who would have known that dogs freak out when first walking on hard wood floors? It was entertaining to watch them experience air conditioning, the ocean, dog treats, etc. for the first time!
Thanks mom for adopting my two Kenyan babies! I miss them like crazy.
I think one of the most spectacular things about the states is the FOOD! Seriously, there is just so much variety! I was in awe walking through the aisles of Whole Foods and Trader Joes. These stores are a stark contrast to my small village market comprised of a handful of mamas selling maize, beans, kale, and tomatoes. In the states, I remembered how much I love to cook, especially with the array of summer fruits and vegetables. I definitely cannot cook this breakfast in Kenya! Mmmmm …yum!
I did my fair share of eating. Maybe too much. I gained a spectacular amount of poundage in just three weeks. But, hey, at least it’s not ugali! Giant cookies, cake balls, frozen yogurt galore (one of my very first blog posts was about how I missed this), smores, and other deliciousness filled our kitchen. And this baby, a whoopee pie, is two chocolate fudge cookies sandwiching marshmallow fluff is something everyone must try!
Overall, my trip home was just what I needed. A necessary break from the sometimes chaotic Kenyan life and much needed quality time with friends and family who have been incredibly supportive throughout my Peace Corps service. Thanks friends + family! I miss you already!
Thanks for reading!