Posts tagged people

not much to say

Except that the worst of it is over. Appraiser came today, told my realtor “Oh hell yeah, this place is worth what they’re paying, no doubt!” Yaaay. The buyers wanted some credits for a few things, it seriously pisses me off, but really it’s a drop in the bucket. I can’t wait until it’s really all over, it’s so stressful, worrying about if for some reason it doesn’t happen. But at the same time, I don’t want to move. I like my home. But it’s too far from school. And I need the money to pay for school. Not for shoes, dammit! It’s been rough, I’ve been battling that empty feeling. Coupled with an “OMG, there’s no land beneath my feet, I’ve had the earth pulled out from under me!” feeling. So I’ve been craving Barneys. I have this shiny black card and if I pay with it, I get to pay 21% extra for shit I really don’t need and feel like a complete patsy for doing so. It’s a card I got in a moment of Shoephoria. It was worth it (because I paid before the end of the month), but I’m glad I haven’t used it again.

Been working. Keeps me out of trouble. But it’s really boring. Got a little bit more interesting today, but I still want to do something else. Not sure what, besides buy shit I don’t need, can’t afford, and will have to schlep 2500 miles. Almost played hooky every day this week, esp. today. But couldn’t think of anything better to do except get in the way when the appraiser would come over, and well, I knew that would be a bad idea. A friend said he might join me for the road trip, that’ll be nice.

Got some totally hot guy calling me up and wanting to hang out, but I’m so not in the mood. I realized tonight, while thinking about it, that I don’t fall for individuals based on their own unique qualites so much as I fall for their potential. Does this guy seem like someone I’d want to spend the rest of my life with? Does he seem like he’d want to spend the rest of his life with me? OK, so in reality, those ones scare me. But I’m not even attracted to the players anymore. And I’m always so quick to find fault. I’m officially old. I think this time, I’ve lost my libido for good. We’ll see what happens when I’m at a school with a basketball stadium right next to my department’s building…Cuz it always comes back to height. Maybe the nasty tagging habit would be less offensive if he were a lot taller?

Pit Bulls are the sweetest dogs ever.

I adore them. Especially rescued pits. No dog on the planet is sweeter, more grateful, or more loving. Not only are they cute as hell and puppies ’till the day they die, they possess other qualities I find irrestible. They are marginalized, mistunderstood, widely considered dangerous and mean. But they’re only as mean as the jerks who abuse them and raise them to fight.

When they’re raised with love, allowed to be normal dogs, pits are the sweetest, most loving dogs out there. Professional dog trainers even tout their exceptional trainability. Even the most hardened fighting dogs can, with proper training, be brought back to their inherent state of lovingness. Training is key, as is plenty of love. These dogs need so much love and attention, they’re like little babies. If their master’s not around enough, that’s when they go crazy.

I want one so bad it hurts. So bad I’d almost get mixed up with a human version. Which wouldn’t be a bad idea if it weren’t for his criminal record. I almost want to think I could train him, be the master he obeys. Normally I’m bored to death by subs, but the idea of taming a wild beast is awfully tempting. Especially when nobody else is knockin’ down my door…

The best Valentine’s Day EVER!

Having finally learned to revel in my spinsterhood, I honestly don’t care anymore that I never have romance on the big day. BFD. This is the first year I have been able to experience it for what it is, just another Hallmark (cards) holiday. No different than St. Patrick’s day or Cinco de Mayo being celebrated by people who aren’t even Irish or Mexican, really. I was even able to wear a spirited red DESI(RED) t-shirt. The only reason I even wanted to venture out of the house is that my favorite restaurant, Cru, was promoting a special menu with rose petal stuff and truffle oil (which, it turns out, I don’t like, but the chocolate pot de creme was off the hook!) so I wanted to try their special menu. I rounded up another brave spinster, and we had a wonderful evening! It didn’t hurt that I also got some nice compliments from some relatively attractive men that evening. It’s such a relief to be free from that burden of feeling the need to fit in.

Countdown to Laguna Seca Moto GP

Only 12 days ’till blast off! It’s really all I can think about these days, now that life is kinda normal and quiet. Just working at an old job, studying (too little) for the GMAT and having a life. Yesterday I pissed off three people because I didn’t want to give them what they wanted from me. I tried to be polite about it, but it doesn’t seem to matter. People are pissed when they don’t get what they want no matter how the news is broken to them. Why it all happened in one day I don’t know. But I’ve decided I don’t care anymore, I’ve had enough of trying to make people like me.

has it really been a week already?

Well, on the penultimate day in Arusha, I am hoping to finally buy some souvenirs, and am trying to make sure I am prepared for my trip. I am flying to Zanzibar tomorrow, for 5 days, because I am too much of a princess to sit on the bus all day. I can’t wait to sit on the beach, go snorkeling, and just RELAX! I’ll post more pix later, as there are additional ones from Ngorongoro, and such. I’ve been in the middle of a real soap opera here, it turns out my Tanzanian boyfriend is NOT married, after all. He does have a 5 yo daughter, named Happy. Apparently she was one of those happy accidents that happens when people don’t use condoms. hahaha. Anyway, the person who told my friend that Danio’s married is a guy who has a crush on me, but never had the cojones to do or say anything about it. So he was particularly mad when the boss wouldn’t let him be the driver for our safari, and I wound up dating the driver we got. Alex is a wachapaji anyway, I’d rather be with Danio. OK, almost out of time at the internet cafe here, got some shopping to do.

Saturday’s Patternmaking Lesson

I went to Boma Siara to teach the girls how to do a rub off. This is a popular trick used by every major designer I’ve worked for, because there’s always some amazing garment one might want to have a pattern of. Because said garment is often rented from a vintage purveyor, or bought from a store to be returned shortly, it’s best to be able to copy it without taking it apart. This is called a rub-off because you literally rub wax chalk or pencil on muslin laid over the garment, to transfer its seams to the muslin. The muslin is then used to make a pattern. I figured this would be a great lesson for the girls, as they could copy any client’s favorite garment, which is much faster and easier than making a pattern from measurements. The students were overjoyed to see the process, and I was overjoyed to be showing them a marketable skill. Especially when one pointed out that they could use it to copy a popular used garment, as pretty much all the non-African style clothing sold here is used, and there’s a really interesting documentary about that whole process, called “Travels of a T-Shirt” or something. Anyway, I copied a lovely leather jacket I’d gotten from a Rozae Nichols sample sale, and cut it in a Tanzanian Kitenga fabric printed with Giraffes and Zebras. I’ll know later this week if the girls remembered the lesson well, as they did not have time to practice the method themselves. Lucky for me, the sewing teacher was also there, and she sewed up the jacket, since I have never used a foot-powered sewing machine and didn’t want to try just yet. I find it very amusing that here I am surrounded by Husqvarna (non-electric, at that!) sewing machines, and back home I have a Husqvarna motorcycle!

Continue reading Saturday’s Patternmaking Lesson

Thursday night’s Swahili lesson: Wachapaji…

Tonight Beth and I went to Via Via for dinner and music. It was fun, but the band called “Sounds of the Serengeti” which was billed as “African music” played about as many Mexican songs as they did Congolese! So rather than just walking to my local Cantina to hear “La Bamba,” “La Cucaracha” and other Mexican party hits, I flew halfway across the planet to hear them performed by a 5 piece rock ensemble from the DRC. These guys sat down at our table and started running game, but it was about as developed as Tanzania, so I had no problem shutting them down. Beth had a little more difficulty, as her predator was even more relentless. He went so far as to whip out his HIV test results, to show us that he’s negative. Which I think is actually a really good idea, but hey, why not wait until the 1st date, at least? He was explaining to her that they live together and have their own rooms, and that we should come home with them tonight. Ernest asked why I don’t like men in Los Angeles, and I told him because they’re all playahs. He was the first Tanzanian who understood what I meant, everyone else thought I meant athletes. Which of course are playahs too, but not just in the sense I’m talking about here.

So I asked him what the Swahili word is for that type of guy, and he told me it’s wachapaji. As he said it he kinda snapped his fingers, in a very “Fonzie” kinda way. I asked if the hand motion was necessary to the definition, and he said yes, it helps. So I said “Wachapaji hapa!” (There’s some playahs here!). Takes one to know one, I guess, and his game was relentless. His friend was even more insistent with Beth, but we both escaped safely into a taxi, after two free rounds of drinks. They even wanted to share the taxi, having us dropped off first. Knowing where we live is not the sort of information these guys needed, so we insisted on our own cab, and as we drove off, they went back into the club to try their luck with some other girls.

Amani, Mama Siara’s grandson, whose really got good game. I think more guys should try the ol’ shoes-on-the-wrong-feet trick, works every time!

Living in Tanzania

Pix from Ngorongoro crater are here:

Well, I have been having a lot of fun getting to know Danio, the driver from our trip to Ngorongoro. On the 4 hour drive home, we talked, while everyone slept, or seemed to. He’s from a small village near Ngorongoro, where people often bring the farm animals into the house for the night, and his mother owns a small farm. He’s learning Italian, and it was fun trying to see how much I could understand, based on my Spanish and French. He asked me about my family, and when I told him that my brother David had covered the task of creating the next generation, and that my brother Gary and I didn’t want kids. He found this absolutely shocking, having never before met someone who didn’t want kids. He expressed concern for the state of humanity, when I told him that many, not most, but a lot, of Europeans and Americans feel like I do. I explained that some of us have other interests we find more compelling than making and raising children, and that as societies become wealthier, and women become more educated, the birth rate drops. He was still shocked. I explained the situation of exponential growth of the human race, and how we are running out of resources, especially clean water. To illustrate this, I referred to the big river that runs through Arusha. He agreed that people bathe, defectate, toss out trash and drink from the same river. I explained that that is why so many children die of preventable bacterial diseases in places like Tanzania, and that until the infant mortality rate drops, people will continue to feel compelled to have many children.

So then, I asked him how many kids he wants. He said two, a boy and a girl, and asked if there’s any way to tell if it’s going to be a boy or girl. I said no, not until the mom is well into her pregnancy. It’s so weird thinking about the vast chasm that exists between us, culturally. On the safari, the other girls and I broke into song occasionally, my personal favorite was when we’d see the backside of an elephant, we couldn’t help but sing Sir Mix-A-Lot’s “I like big butts…” We asked him if he knew it, and he replied that he wasn’t much into that stuff, as he’s a cultural dancer, and thus focuses on traditional music. Wow. When we went out to dinner last night, he just came right out and asked “…not even one kid?” Talk about turning the tables! I reminded him of all the orphans living on the streets in Arusha, who are just as worthy of a good home as any newborn. I’m trying so hard to adapt to Tanzanian life and culture, but certain things have such universal repercussions, they need to be changed. Like condoms, for example. Apparently, someone’s daughters were practicing putting condoms onto some guys and their mother found out, and complained to the school, so we had to have a big talk with them. There used to be a PSA on tv here showing how to put on a condom (something many adult TZ men don’t know how to do!) but the public outcry was so great, they pulled it. Well, yes, abstinence is good, and can be practiced by some, as well as monogamy, but hey, for the rest of us, condoms are essential. So teaching was really frustrating today, also because this week’s students are not as focused as last weeks, and I was feeling like the whole thing is pointless, they’re not listening anyway. Well, we do what we can. But it seems like every time we tell some grown man about what we’re doing, he wants to know more. It seems like the info just isn’t getting out fast enough.

I wish I could be a good sport, and just go hey, c’est la vie!, but I have found it really difficult to adapt to The Simple Life… I’ll try to post a video of the street I walk down each morning, because it’s quite interesting. While there many people, animals, and businesses to look at, all I really see is the ground, because if you look up for even a second, it could mean a broken ankle, or a fall into mud. It’s fun, actually, it’s just that I’d like to be able to look at the people and stuff too. The place I live is great, I’m really glad I got the nice middle-class homestay, some of the others are very spartan! So now we’re off to dinner at my Tanzanian Mama’s house.


As a child, I was a very picky eater. Getting me to eat anything other than chocolate was always a terrible chore. So, like many American mothers, my mom would tell me, “Think of all the starving children in Africa!!!” As if guilt would work on me. It didn’t, but I have become very conscious of waste in my old age, especially here in Arusha where the starving children right outside the restaurant will fight over the leftovers we give them. It feels good to know I can finally leave some food on my plate without guilt, as there is always someone to give it to.

Today was labor day (International Worker’s Day) for the rest of the world (outside the US) and there was an excellent parade through the center of town. Didn’t take any pix, as adults just aren’t as cute as kids, and well, I was running late. It was fun walking in stride with the parade, though. Most shops are closed for the holiday, and I am growing weary of the lack of modern conveniences I have had all my life. So, today I’m a little cranky, but I’ll get over it. I might hit a meeting tonight, but will definitely go to one tomorrow night. I’ve been bucket showering the past 3 nights and line drying just doesn’t have the same effect in the rainy season. A bucket shower involves heating up some water on the stove, puring it into a large bucket, mixing it with cold water to temperature, then pouring it over your head with a smaller bucket. I’m not really enjoying it, and I sure hope the hot water spout is working when I get home, as I can’t keep this up. Friday night we’re going to a “Sending Off” party, which is like a bridal shower, then the next morning we’re off for Ngorongoro crater…

Culture shock?

Well, first of all, let me apologize for being retarded. I was so sure that I carefully recorded my phone number and sent it out, but no. I left out a zero. Sooooo for those of you who wish to call my cell in Tanzania, the real number is (no longer valid) from the US. It’s free for me to receive calls, and Arusha is 10 hours ahead of California.

Also, I had my dad mail me something I’d forgotten, not realizing that there’s no such thing as a mailman in Arusha. Everyone’s mail is delivered to the post office, and businesses/people with money have private PO boxes!!! So I will go there on Tuesday (tomorrow is Labor Day here) and see what’s up. I almost cried when I found out that after trying 3 banks in town, even waiting in line for a spell, and then taking a taxi out to Barclays (only a $2 ride, but still) to get money for my work permit (which the gov’t is now demanding GSC provide for all volunteers) I was supposed to pay it in US dollars!!!! Wow, so this is what they mean when they say that the USD is the standard currency for the world!! Holy Shamoly. So one of the GSC employees walked me over to a “Bureau de Change” which was actually a very small hardware store, which happened to stock some $$$ for exchanging as well. Any passer-by would not suspect it, so it was very amusing.

I had some posts pre-written, but because it’s Sunday, and the cafe where I can plug in my own computer is closed at 2, I’ll post those later. Today we went to church, it was an Anglican church that Sister (the title used for nurses, not just nuns)Margareth goes to. It was really fun, the singing was beautiful, and I was excited that I could tell when they were reciting the Nicene Creed, just by the cadence. Even though I have rejected my parent’s faith, it was nice to be there for them. We were asked to stand up and the preacher (who very closely resembles an ex-boyfriend of mine!) introduced us to the Parish. I read in a Kenyan paper that the CATHOLIC church actually admitted that the use of condoms is a far lesser sin than the travesty of living with HIV, and that they are considering allowing condom use for the prevention of HIV. I just about fell over. Man, if they change their view on condoms, I’ll take back every bad thing I ever said about Catholicism, and maybe even join a convent, just to express my gratitude for them finally waking up to the realities of modern life. Next Sunday, Margareth will take me to the church that does a “high church” ceremony, aptly named “Christ Church” (the name of the Anglican church I was raised in).

I’m pretty bummed that I can’t just wander the streets at night, especially alone. Mzungu (white people), especially with a purse or backpack, are common targets. I had been avoiding the Dala Dala (local busses, actually minivans) because they are very crowded and it is easy to be robbed on them. But Margareth and I were together, and I figured I’d be safe with her. They escorted me to the front seat, just the same, as I was the only Mzungu on the bus.

I am bummed that I’ll be missing Fontana and Sears Point AMA races, but hey, there are plenty of other distractions…