Friday, December 21, 2007

Merry Christmas/Feliz Natal

Hello everyone!

And so begins our third week in Nampula province. Everything is running smoothly. The house is in running order (I killed a large flying cockroach last night with my Tevas and gave it a sailing grave out into our backyard, a lizard fell from the ceiling yesterday as we cooked dinner and a snail somehow made it's slimy way into our back porched in area - we are the Dr. Doolittles of Monapo. We are considering taking a puppy from a PCV in Mousseril once his dog has her puppies). We go out to the market everyday to buy food. We have improved our food situation slightly. I cooked pasta with sauce from Nampula City and we have actually made egg sandwiches. So, yes, we have strayed from just eating bread with peanut butter and mangos. We aren't sure what we'll do once mango season is over. We have heard that the orange season starts right after. I guess the oranges here are much more acidic but don't worry Mom and Dad, I'll make sure I brush my teeth afterward to make all those years of dental work on my pearly whites worth it.

Nia and I made a trip to Ilha the other weekend to visit with Katie on the island. It's an awesome place so I can see why it's such a tourist destination. I never had tried squid before or eaten shrimp with the heads still attached and unpeeled. Before, in the states, my idea of seafood was fishsticks and the thought of those poor lobsters with their claws tied in those circular death tanks. I claimed to be a hater of seafood but after trying Katie's fried squid, I have converted. We went to a music festival on the island and watched Katie perform some songs with her guitar in front of a crowd of probably 2,000 Mozambicans. Pretty awesome. We also went to the beach and attracted a large horde of small children. The three of us were just sitting there talking, doing absolutely nothing interesting and about 10 children came up and laid on the sand in front of us, only about five feet away and stared at us. So I stared back at them to make a point but they just laughed and continued staring. At first, their curiosity is endearing and cute, but after they just wouldn't leave, it got irritating. And when they ask for your water. Or for your sunglasses. Or your hat. I'm getting really good at just saying a blunt ''no.'' I feel like I used to be more of a pushover but not now.

I'm excited because we're heading to the beach for the Christmas and there will be several of us Americans in one apartment overlooking the ocean. And apparently, someone has A Christmas Carol to watch on a computer. I really have a desire to watch Christmas Vacation, but alas, it is not to be. Today we are in Nampula, converging to buy things for the holiday, various foods and gifts for Secret Santa. We left our house in order when we left, with the embrigada to keep an eye on it with everything locked up. I still can't help feeling nervous leaving our house for more than during the day. I left her our numbers in case of an emergency or if anything happened. We went to the police station next to our house yesterday to introduce ourselves and the police officer was like "yeah, someone robbed your house before when the other two lived here but we caught them,'' tossing a thumb in the direction of the jail out back. All in all though, I feel like Monapo is a pretty safe place. I never let my guard down though or let my things out of my site. Better safe than having to spend money on a new phone or camera.

This morning, as Nia and I were getting ready to come to Nampula, she started singing '' It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas'' and we couldn't help but laugh. It doesn't feel like December 21st. It feels like July 21st. Although last night it got somewhat chilly and I used my wool blanket for half an hour.

I want to wish everyone a very merry Christmas and possibly a happy new year, since I don't know when I will be able to get online next because I'm sure hours of internet places change around the holidays. Please watch Christmas Vacation for me, listen to Christmas music on the radio (the only christmas music I have is what Kara added to my music selection and I thoroughly appreciate it - thank you, Kara), enjoy the lights on the Christmas trees and the decorative lights outside. It's tough being away but it helps to have my peace corps friends as another family. Feel free to buy phone cards and email me for my phone number. :) I love you all and hope everyone is doing well. Merry Christmas!

Love from Moz,

Monday, December 10, 2007

estou aqui

So I am in my new site in Monapo, Nampula. Woot woot. Our house was pretty much already set up for us, which was nice. We have a quaint little house with a fence around it for privacy. It seems like a top location for a dog because it could wander around the yard. We have more things than a dog to think about right now though. We have a front porch area where we can receive visitors, a kitchen with two bedrooms of the exact same size to the left and then a back, screened in area where we keep our water. It pretty adorable. There are bars on the windows and a lot of locks so it seems secure. We also have an embrigada (or a housekeeper) and she has worked at the house for 3 or 4 years so she knows what´s up. She washed our clothes today and carted water for us. She seems pretty awesome thus far.

Monapo is a big, long town. I would say that half the population or so is Muslim and another some percentage are Christian and other. It is hot here too. It seems hottest in the early morning too when you would think it would be hotter later in the day. There isn´t a ton of food here right now but there are the basics. Once the rainy season begins there starts to be a ton of fruit and vegetables and my roommate and I are looking forward to it. We have to figure out how to cook with a gas stove too. It´s a whole new ballgame.

I miss Namaacha and my family there. I called them yesterday to say hello after I hung up with my number one family from the states. I feel like I am going to have issues with separation anxiety by the time I return to the US, what with all this leaving people business.

I have to keep a list of what I want to write here because right now, everything escapes me. Right now I am content and a little nostalgic over the US. I miss the people and the material girl inside me misses some of the stuff. Like an oven or running water and a shower. But I know that what I am doing is good and I don´t have any regrets.

And hey, it´s not too different here in comparison with Namaacha. We have cockroaches and bats in our bathroom this time. Heck yeah (pump my fist).