Sometimes it just turns out that way


Today has been the first time I’ve truly not liked a Monday.

Normally, they are fine, no hassle. I’ve never really been one of those people that looks forward to the weekend, because I’ve worked shifts since I was 15, so my ‘weekends’ have been all over the shop. But… now that I am teaching on week days with a routine, and feel a bit guilty about going out on ‘school nights’ my weekends have become pretty important.

This weekend involved (as I mentioned on Saturday):

Battling with the bank on Friday, swimming in the school pool, a mammoth curry club – 30 naan breads, two bowls of rice and I think 12 curries between 13 of us:

8 curries on one plate.

8 curries on one plate.

Members of curry club post meal.

Members of curry club post meal

And all that for the bargain price of about £6 each… Can’t complain about that now can you?

I was so full I couldn’t manage to go to Tilapia (a different bar) afterwards so just went home to bed. Which was for the best really, as Saturday morning was dedicated to working as prompt and back up singer for the secondary production of ‘West Side Story’, followed by a brief nap and a trip to Tunza beach for a hog roast for a 1st birthday party. Not wishing to go along empty handed I made a vanilla and ginger cake with a lemon drizzle, which actually tastes a lot better than it sounds.

The sunset was pretty good, as always:

Tunza Beach on Lake Victoria

Tunza Beach on Lake Victoria

England beat New Zealand pretty spectacularly in the rugby and I found some evidence that the Tanzanians thought of Iron Man long before Marvel did:

DSCN3793

Iron Man Tanzanian style

Sunday morning began with a leisurely breakfast at Ryan’s Bay (another hotel/bar).  I started off well with avocado, banana and pineapple with orange juice – although I made the mistake of brushing my teeth just before I left for breakfast, so got that unfortunate taste that only comes from the unholy combination of orange and mint toothpaste…

The healthy portion of breakfast

The healthy portion of breakfast

But soon succumbed to the egg, bacon, sausage and pancake option.  Let’s not forget the coffee, the coffee is important, as I’ve only had about 4 cups since I arrive here in August, and for someone who does very much enjoy a sneaky mocha frappuccino, that’s quite impressive.

Not so healthy

Less healthy

And just so that you have an idea of the hotel overlooking the lake, this is the downstairs area:

Ryan's Bay

Ryan’s Bay

I succeeded in getting nearly all my Christmas presents from the Craft Fair held at the Yacht Club (oh dear, I’ve just spent three minutes trying to spell ‘Yacht’, I must be tired).  Obviously no pictures of the gifts, as that would spoil things…

So I headed over to Tilapia with some of the flats ladies, to have a drink, watch the boys go wake boarding and have a go with my newly bought mancala board.

I went home to make some lunch, with every intention of heading back for the carol singing (I’d even practised the descants) but had to settle with watching The West Wing, Dead Like Me and In the Loop on the sofa, as I had a fair bit of pain. I did, however, wake at half one in the morning to hear a cacophonous calling of Christmas songs drifting up from one of the flats below.  It did take a little while to work out who it might be, but I fell back asleep with a small smile on my face.

So to Monday, today, 3rd of December.  Teaching – no problems – lunch duty – all good apart from the bell going missing – West Side Story performance for the Junior School – could have been better – trip to the bank, again, – problems with the cash machine and then…

…And then I was RUN OVER BY A PIKI PIKI (which is a motorbike taxi, in case you were wondering).  It’s not a bad accident, I was crossing the road through stationary traffic, looked both ways, as I looked back to the right there it was, I stepped out of the way, he swerved, ran over my foot and clipped my elbow with his mirror. It aches, but is fine.

I was only run over a little bit, foot to ankle really...

I was only run over a little bit, foot to ankle really…

 

We went out for dinner at a local place, and the food and service were dreadful – roasted chicken that ended up coming out as all bones with sauce and a tiny bit of meat that was so chewy and rubbery that I couldn’t even cut it with the knife and fork.  Cue a long conversation about why I wouldn’t pay for it after the kitchen refused to send something edible in its place.  So yes, I’m currently in a pissy mood, which I’ll hopefully snap out of soon, but at least it’s not a case of the Mondays.

(If only the internet would have allowed me to post this on Monday, rather than Tuesday… Oh well!)

It’s wrong to wish on space hardware…


We’ve had power cuts. Power cuts, as you will imagine, are a pain in the arse. We switch, in the evenings, to a noisy generator so we have to switch off water heaters, ovens and fridges. I’ve had to cook five pieces of chicken and all my bacon to save it from going off and bin a bag of squid that was beyond redemption. But, I’ve had a good reason to cook paella and tonight I’ve made some sort of spicy chicken and tomato stew that should be interesting for tomorrow’s lunch. (Have since eaten it and it was alright, nothing to write home about… oh, hang on…)
Power cuts have also meant that the lights on the neighbouring buildings have been out, so I’ve been out on our roof, watching the stars. With no light pollution getting in the way and balmy, cloud free nights there have been millions of stars on show. The Milky Way has carved its way through the sky above our flats; I’ve spotted Orion and Taurus. The rest of the constellations are alien to me at the moment, I keep looking for the North Star which has always been a constant, but it’s no longer in my line of sight. I’ll learn the new ones, but it does feel odd when gazing at the sky to not see the familiar shapes above you.
There have been shooting stars though. I saw 9 over two nights, with bats swooping past my head. They are strangely reassuring.
I’ve been out a bit; I went to a party at a house overlooking the lake. I’m sure it’s a spectacular view in the daytime, but is a bit lost on me at night time. Saturday, I spent the day pottering about the house and watching TV after buying fabric to have some dresses made. I’ve got three wrap around dresses on the way and I’ve picked up 5 pieces of African material – one, turquoise with a tree design, is hanging over my mosquito net, another is over the back of my sofa and I’m deciding what to do with the other two. They are a complete bargain, all my material, which combined is probably around 50m has cost me 60,000TSh which is roughly £24. Sunday, I re-coloured my hair, I’m back to a dark red/plum colour, although before long it will fade back to a light auburn, but that’s the price you pay for going blonde for 4 months I suppose. The evening was spent at Isamilo Lodge at a 63rd birthday party complete with a 60s quiz and 100 track playlist from the 60s-80s.
Monday, involved a trip to Tunza Beach for an hour’s yoga session as the sunset. I’ve not had a yoga class for about 12 years, so I’m quite out of practise, but it was very relaxing with the sound of the waves, the music and the gradually fading light. The sunsets over the lake are spectacular and as dusk starts to fall, flocks of birds fly across the yellow, pink and orange sky. I came home very aware of the stomach muscles that I have that have fallen into misuse.
The after school hours of Tuesday and Wednesday have involved parents’ evenings, my first as a teacher, and have been relatively pain free. A couple of parent’s haven’t liked what I’ve had to say, but they need to know the things their children need to work on.
We are having a fake Christmas at the weekend: Saturday is our first roof party and I have a marvellous playlist ready on the iPod, Sunday we have a Christmas dinner to cook. I’ve got my stocking and Christmas decorations out ready and will be putting the fairy lights on the steps to the roof. We will make some fresh fruit juice for cocktails, complete with straws with paper fruit and mini umbrellas.
I’m still not fully settled back. On Sunday afternoon they buried my Dad and Gaggy’s ashes and I’ve not really heard from people how it went. I tried texting but couldn’t get through. I didn’t feel right being here. I keep thinking of the part in ‘Little Women’ (yes, back to that again) where Jo says that she loves her home but is so fretful that she can’t stand to be there. I felt like that in England, I’m feeling like that in Tanzania. But not always. The key must be to re-programme myself to stop thinking of how much things cost in pounds, what time it is in England, get back into the swing of work, plan how I’m going to spend my weekends and my Christmas holiday that starts in just over a fortnight… Try and sleep. Try and learn the new stars over my head. Try and let my old life go a bit more because I’m not going back there for a while.

I don’t want to change the world, I’m not looking for an new England…