Wednesday, August 08, 2007

The Joys of Roadtripping

Cathie Jo having way too much fun.
My impersonation of Cathie Jo

Hiller depicting just how hungry we were for In 'n Out Burger

At last!!

Cutest baby In 'n Out's ever seen

Off to Texas

Howdy from PDX. I'm off to Dallas this afternoon with my dear friend Cortney. Came back Monday night from a roadtrip to Sacramento with my mom, sister and sister's kids. Pics to come, my battery is going to die.

PS: Best quote from the roadtrip: Oh no! We forgot the dictionary. How are we going to understand what Mom is saying?

Thursday, August 02, 2007

My Congolese Self in America: #1 Transport, Time, Etc.

So people keep asking me questions like “So has anything changed since you came back?” “What’s it like to be home after living in Congo?” Some days I think that nothing has changed at all (after all, it was only a year and a half that I was gone) and other days I feel like I’m on a foreign planet. It’s my perception of things that has changed more than any real change here in Oregon. I want to write about it and describe what I see to you, but I think I’ll have to do it in several installments. Here’s installment #1. Pardon me if I ramble.

It’s funny the things you notice when you come home from a country like Congo. You notice things you never noticed before. Our neighborhood streets are REALLY wide. And they’re paved! Having a car gives you a lot of freedom, which makes life a lot more complicated because there are so many people you can zip over to see and so many things you can zip around to do. In Brazzaville the bus only stops at so many locations, you know? But we still never seem to be able to get where we’re going fast enough. In America being in a hurry and being busy are quite virtuous.

I’ve found that I have a bit more of a cushion of time now. A few minutes doesn’t make a difference to me anymore, so sitting a little longer in traffic or being stuck behind a slow truck doesn’t stress me. Being 10 minutes late is no big deal at all, whether I’m the one who is late (which I usually am) or whether I’m the one waiting for someone else. It stresses me out that for people around me those things are big deals. I’m like, How can you expect someone to be on time right down to the minute? In Congo you make appointments by the hour. If you arrive at 10:59, it’s still 10 o’clock!

I wear a button on my purse that says “I (heart) Congo.” I think it gives me a sense of identity and unity within myself. Like I can drive around this frenetic town and still be the girl who lives in Congo. When I feel like I come from a different planet, I can just point to the pin and be like, “Yeah, I know I’m weird; I just got home from Congo,” and that seems to make sense to me and everybody else.