Hi everyone, you havent heard from me in a long time. Not for any particular reason, except that things just seem pretty normal here, and you probably don't want to hear about what Ive been having for lunch every day (oily rice and fish, in case you are actually curious). On a daily basis my emotions can be found somewhere along the spectrum of overwhelming love for this country, apathetic contentment, and an almost manic desire to run to the airport and hop on the first plane home. I wont lie, Im excited to have about 5 months left, but am not looking forward to that end date too anxiously. Currently, Im trying to figure out what to do with my life when I get back to the US, besides the obvious: kiss the ground the second I get off the plane (dont worry, I've spent the past two years building up an immunity against all germs), eating everything in sight, drinking a lot of good draft beer and coffee, fishing for real fish in real rivers, and wearing sweaters. Big, soft, comfy, sweaters.
Anyways, what prompted me to finally update this here blog is the fact that Im actually supposed to be writing a statement of purpose for grad school. I have a vague idea of what I will write, and am slowly working on an outline. However, I wish there were some way I could express to the admissions committees who will eventually see me as one more black and white piece of paper in the pile, just how animated of a situation is necessary for me to wrangle that sheet of paper into existence in the first place.
I am currently sitting in a regional house, one day before halloween. All of the appliances somehow managed to break around the same time, so three of us are all squashed together at the one desk in the house where we are trying to get stuff done with the few machines we do have. I am attempting to type up a professional and convincing essay for potential grad schools, while the monitor flicks on and off due to the volunteer to my left who is messing with electrical wires in an attempt to get the phone to work, while he shouts out the window in Wolof (a local language). The volunteer to my right is working on her halloween costume, and trying to coax a very stubborn printer into printing out a picture of a handgun. The gun has thus far deigned only to come out as either the size of a paperclip, or too large to fit on the paper. Another volunteer behind us is trying to get a fan to work so we wont all die of heat stroke, but the already heavily duct-taped blades and electrical cord are making that difficult. I am drinking coffee that someone made using salty sink water instead of filtered freshwater (which is delivered weekly to the house by a man on a donkey drawn cart) so my coffee tastes like a vaguely hazelnut flavored ocean. Another volunteer just entered the picture looking for a permanent marker, which means a lot of drawer wrenching and slamming, thus rocking the computer monitor back and forth.
There is also a random full sheet of paper lying next to the computer that says, in angry red letters, "PLEASE LEAVE ME ALONE!" I have no idea why. The halloween preparations mean that a few lady gagas are wandering around the house, there is wig sewing, shoe coloring, and glow-painting going on. Last night I turned a corner to face a fully masked Storm Trooper. I do have a mario costume put together, but have decided not to travel the 5 hours to get to the halloween party in the interest of having some peace and quiet. As much as that can be achieved in Senegal, at least.
I know I will be an excellent grad school student, and that I am ready to work hard for the right program. I have extensive experience, speak a few languages, love aquatic science and fish almost to the point of obsession, and would be happy to move anywhere to attend a good program (as long as its not in africa, though, sorry). Compared to the people in america, though, or in research stations around the world, with air conditioning, fast internet, career advising services, and coffee shops where one can liesurely write a stellar essay while drinking espresso and eating a chocolate muffin...how can I possibly put together a successful application???
But I will. Somehow. So, I'll stop blog posting now and get back to the somewhat functional madness. Wish me luck : /