Tuesday, February 02, 2010

A New Top Ten

On this day a year ago, myself and 25 other individuals from all over the United States met for the first time in Philadelphia to travel to South Africa as the nineteenth group of Peace Corps volunteers to serve in South Africa. After orientation activities, shots galore, a blizzardy bus ride to JFK and a seventeen hour plane ride, we begin our South African journey two days later in Marapyane, South Africa.

To commemorate the day, I thought it appropriate to update old top ten lists and add a few new ones. Enjoy!

(Note: All lists are in no particular order.)

Top 10 sites I’ve seen in South Africa:
  1. Blyde River Canyon
  2. Indian Ocean
  3. My host brother dancing to Motown in our yard.
  4. Seaview Lion Park (nothing beats playing with lion cubs).
  5. A baby zebra on the road a few feet in front of me.
  6. Lions outside my tent when I woke up at the lion park.
  7. The sunsets in my village.
  8. A giant sea turtle on the beach.
  9. A herd of elephant in Krueger Park.
  10. The look on my coworkers’ faces the first time I made brownies.

Top 10 items received in a care package:
  1. Photos of people I love.
  2. Duct tape—of course it still makes the list. I’m about to be on my third roll.
  3. Sara Groves’ new album.
  4. Fall leaves from both Portland and Lubbock.
  5. Coffee from Jim and Patty’s in Portland.
  6. Drawings from my nephew.
  7. Individual-sized drink mixes. They’ve helped a lot in the heat when I get sick of drinking water.
  8. All the episodes of The Office that I’ve missed up until the package was sent.
  9. My new laptop—actually that was delivered by hand from my friend Anne, but still.
  10. And I’m still loving all the TLC granola bars.

Top 10 items that I just couldn’t do without:
  1. Photos, letters, phone calls, emails, etc. from home.
  2. Books—discovered during my computer’s long absence that these were absolutely invaluable.
  3. Toilet paper—I probably could if I absolutely had to, but I don’t want to go there.
  4. Duct tape—oh the endless uses.
  5. Cell phone—pretty much the only way to stay connected to anything around here.
  6. My Nalgene—hydration is too important in the heat.
  7. Buckets for all sorts of things.
  8. A table-top oven—even if the one I have is on the slow march, baking has become therapy for me.
  9. My Bible.
  10. My running shoes. The rainy season is slowing, and I’m finally able to get back out there. I had no idea how much I had missed it.

Top 10 things I never knew I could do or probably never would have tried without coming to South Africa:
  1. Cook a host of foods from scratch—tortillas, wheat bread, pasta sauce, brownies, to name a few.
  2. Learn to speak Setswana—I still have a long way to go, but I feel that I continue to improve.
  3. Jumping out of a plane.
  4. Be a good long distance communicator—probably still growing in this area too :)
  5. Live without a computer for almost six months.
  6. Live without a music source for a month of that time.
  7. Learn to sit in stillness for lengths of time without going crazy.
  8. Go without regular transportation.
  9. Go to bed at 9pm and rise at 5am or half past.
  10. Live in another country very different from my own for a year.


Jessica Bolt said...

Only 2 more episodes have come out since we sent the box. And even missing those, you aren't missing much. At all.

Miss you.

Mbini said...

Nice lists. Being "restricted" teaches one patience and contentedness. Hope you continue embracing your journey with love.