Man, I think I have been slacking lately on my blog posts! Almost a week since I last posted. I would say that I have run out of potential material to blog about, but living here, I know that is not true! The truth is that now that I am speaking the language every day, I am exhausted! I only have language from 9-12 everyday, but then I come home and am supposed to listen to my recordings from class and study. I’m having to listen much more closely now that I am supposed to reproduce the language, not just point to what I hear my nurturer saying. I only had two years of Spanish in high school, but I swear there are times I can think of what I am trying to say in Spanish, but can’t say it in the language I am supposed to be learning now. Kind of funny what sticks with you, even when you haven’t used it for years! If only this language was as easy as Spanish!
Speaking of language, I have observed some things about my language helper that have caused me to reminisce a little. As I have mentioned before, the cultural and lifestyle differences between the village and the Capitol are significant. Think of the most po’dunk, backwoods town you know and then imagine someone from that town moving to New York City. The city I live in is certainly no New York City, but compared to the village or countryside here it is. Well, Kamille, my language helper, grew up in the countryside and now she lives in NYC (Africa style). It honestly kind of reminds me of when I first left Moultrie (where I lived a fairly rural lifestyle) and moved to Athens and started hanging out with “city folk.” I had no clue how country and unrefined I was. There were so many things that I didn’t know that I didn’t know and I just couldn’t figure out what the big deal was when people would point it out. I was soooo rough around the edges, but oblivious to that fact. Not that I am not still rough around the edges, but I’ve been citified long enough now that I can at least fake it when I am around people with more culture than myself. Back then I didn’t know enough to know that I didn’t have culture!
Well, Kamille kind of reminds me of myself. She is pretty rough around the edges. She daily knocks something over because she is about as graceful as a bull in a china shop (sound familiar to anyone who has ever been around me?). Everyday we eat this little snack called kolo, which is just roasted grains, and the other day we had to sweep up around where we sit because she had spilled so much kolo on the floor during the lesson (those who used to live with me remember the floor around our table in Athens!) Here, they touch cheek to cheek three times as they give an air kiss – Kamille roughly knocks her face against mine with each kiss, which is not how the more graceful people do it. One look at her hands and feet and you know she grew up doing some work. I know some boys in America who wish they had hands that looked this manly. Yet again, I remember being called “man arms” by my little brother because of the muscles I had from working around the house. Also, the other day I had to tell her to stop eating while she was telling me the sentences because she kept talking with kolo in her mouth and I couldn’t hear at all how she was pronouncing the words which was the whole point of her talking. When I listen back to my recordings everyday, I can hear her chewing and smacking throughout the entire lesson. Makes my listening rather difficult.
For whatever reason, I have found it rather humorous as I’ve noticed these little quirks about Kamille and then remembered how I was when I first moved to the city (and lets not lie, I still have most of those same traits, only slightly refined). About the time I want to tell her she should just not eat kolo anymore and spare us all, I have to laugh and realize that we probably make a really good pair!