If you read my last post, you know that my transition back to Clove Island after an extended absence has been difficult, to say the least. With no water in my home, limited electricity, shortages of fuel, meat, flour and the dread of the approaching hot season, it is easy to focus on the negatives and idealize my home country. I do love America and not just for the functioning utilities and endless food supply. But sometimes I remember that things in the states aren’t all roses and puppy dogs. (Not that I really like either of those things).
Facebook generally isn’t the place to go to find comfort when you’re missing home. My newsfeed is full of weddings, holiday weekends, births and growing children that I’m missing out on. However, occasionally, Facebook reminds me that there are definitely some things about America that I do not miss.
A lot of my friends live in Atlanta. Atlanta is notorious for horrendous traffic jams. You do not want to be on a highway from 7-9am or from 4-6pm. Don’t do it. You will regret it. I frequently encounter Facebook posts complaining about the traffic. I do not miss that.
My entire life on Clove Island is spent in a 10-mile radius. There is really only one road that I travel on. Most people use public transportation (old beat up cars and mini buses that pass as taxis.) The road is usually is pretty empty. You always run the risk of being held up by a wedding or funeral procession walking down the middle of the road, paying no mind to the honking
horns, but that is rare and a small inconvenience compared to American traffic.
5. Political Correctness
PC is the new American religion. Believe whatever you want, just don’t say what you believe if it might offend someone. Of course people cross the line sometimes by saying something “inflammatory”. Social media is quick to punish the offender. It’s brutal and I often wince while reading some of the comments directed toward those who were stupid/(brave?) enough to speak their minds even when it went against the god of political correctness.
Clove Island has its own culture of politeness and things that shouldn’t be mentioned, especially in mixed company. But I am a foreigner so I can pretty much say whatever I want. I can talk about Christmas and not “the holidays”. I can talk about God any ole time without being given an awkward side glance and an obligatory “that’s nice”. And islanders frequently say whatever is on their mind to me. Fortunately, I only understand it in part most of the time. But sometimes I run into a conversation like this:
“Your hair is growing out. It’s so pretty. Why did you have it short when you first came here?”
“It’s a style in America. Many women cut their hair short. We think it’s beautiful”.
“It’s the style to look like a boy?”
Refreshing honesty, no?
4. Fatty foods
Don’t have time to cook? Just order some greasy Chinese food delivered to your door. Feeling lonely on a Saturday night? Get a large Dominoes pizza with garlic sauce and eat it all…by yourself. Not that I’ve ever done that… MacDonald’s frappes, Starbucks iced chai lattes, Chick-fil-A anything, Penn Station, Chicken & Waffles, Pulled Pork BBQ sandwiches, BACON. So much temptation. Who needs it?
I’m just kidding. I miss this so much!
#comcastdoesntcare and #comcastfail are HUGE hashtags in the twittersphere and Facebook world. Comcast is the worst. Enough said.
Here on Clove Island, I connect to the Internet through 3G on my phone. The 3G here is way faster than in America. It’s expensive but completely worth it when I think about all the hours I save not staying on hold for the not-so-nice Comcast “customer service” rep to tell me to turn off my modem and turn it back on again. Did that work? Are you serious??
I realize I am probably alone in this but I really don’t like autumn. I have to change from tank tops to sweaters. I don’t like crisp air in the mornings or pumpkin lattes from Starbucks. These precursors to the freezing terribleness known as winter fill me with dread. What if I still want to wear my peak-toe high heels to work or church? Only if I want my toes to freeze off!
On this side of the equator, however, September is a month to gear up for living on the surface of the sun with a good serving of humidity that sucks the air out of your lungs. Now I know what you’re thinking. That doesn’t sound awesome. Well, it’s not. But it’s way better than winter!
And now for the number one thing I do not miss about America. One thing that gets me really excited about living in Africa.
My Facebook feed is FULL of football references. This was really the inspiration behind this post. Falcons, Raiders, Bengals, Browns, blah blah blah. Clemson, UGA, UFL, Georgia Tech, Michigan, Notre Dame, blah blah blah. I cannot stand football season. My friends become crazy maniacs who post non-stop about their favorite teams. Our used-to-be-fun hangout times become, “Let’s watch the game” or “Did you see last night’s game, let’s talk about it for hours.” Noooooooooooo, please no. And so I become a hermit. You want me to come to your Rose Bowl party next week? Oh, um, I had plans to wash my hair that night.
On Clove Island, they don’t even know what American football is. *Huge sigh of relief*. To them “football” is what we call soccer. And while I enjoy a good game of soccer here and there, no one here expects me to be a fanatic. I am a girl, after all.
So there you have it. Clove Island can be a hard place to live. But at least they don’t have football!!