Sore bum, big smiles, watching the sun rise, and feeling hopelish

My recent blog posts have ranged from relatively serious discussions of the Malawian political climate to completely absurd and often pointless ramblings about my completely absurd and often pointless life here in Malawi. This post will closely resemble the latter.

I was invited today to sit-in on a pre-testing interview conducted by one of our more novice interviewers. Though, for the sake of confidentiality I can’t tell you much about the interview itself; I can say that the process left me with a sore bum and a near fatal case of smile-and-nod. Why you may ask?… and the answer is fairly simple. Tiny wooden stools are, in my opinion, not designed for tall women and I am terribly inept at Tumbuka. Sure I can greet people with some proficiency and say thank you… but for the most part I just smile and nod a lot and extrapolate what I can from body language and tone. However, as soon as you introduce yourself in Tumbuka, respondents (and just about anyone else you meet here) will automatically switch into lightning fast local-dialect, thinking that you are capable of keeping pace. Let it be known, I am NOT capable of keeping pace.

I watched the sun rise this morning. It isn’t so much that I have trouble sleeping here as that I have adapted to an 9-5 sleep cycle and can’t seem to break from it. With few exceptions, I am up like a gopher (fun mental image eh?) at 5:15 and incapable of falling back to sleep (though I doubt this would be the case back on my memory foam mattress topper in Canada). The up-side to my consistent but moderately off-beat life cycle is that I get to watch the lake emerge in a wash of glorious pinks and oranges as the sun crests over the mountains in the southern tip of Tanzania. In some ways, this reminds me of watching sun rises from the water on Marina del Ray in early January… and then I kick myself for even attempting a comparison. I wish you all could see it for yourselves.

Hopelish (no, I did not just make that word up… okay maybe I did but who’s keeping track) somehow perfectly captures how I feel at this moment. Often, while laughing deep belly laughs and thinking about the future; I feel a wee pang in my side and become overwhelmed with the certain knowledge that I have made a fool of myself. This feeling is not helped by the fact that I am listening to, in spurts, Stephen Fry’s narration of the Hitchhiker’s Guide and the ever-charming Goon Show; and simultaneously catching myself unawares with unnerving bouts of sentimentality. You may have noticed that my writing has recently become exuberant, flowery, and cloyingly maudlin. I hope this condition will clear up soon… I am looking for a cure that does not involve whacking myself in the head with a wet kipper (what my dad might suggest), giving in to the feeling (what my mom has suggested), or running swiftly for… somewhere (a skill I have perfected). In the end, I think the cure might involve a few more sun rises, a few more belly laughs, a few extra drops of nali with dinner, and the almost certain knowledge that things generally work out the way that they should.

Zima Chitika

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