32 Going on 11
Two weeks ago, June 9, marked my one year anniversary of landing in Burkina Faso. I remember thinking those first couple months that moving to a very different place, speaking a very different language, and meeting very different people was almost like being a baby again. When I first got here after going straight to the hotel, I was very curious as what was beyond its walls but was too scared to leave the hotel by myself. I had to rely on someone else to do just about everything for me. It’s amazing how quickly that first year went and at the same time it’s unbelievable how much I have learned and experienced in that one year. I think I now know how dogs feel, aging 7 years for every one human year. However, I think in Burkina years, I have aged closer to 10 years. So after arriving a baby, I believe that I am finally a big boy. Here are 10 examples of why I believe I am now the equivalent of a 10 year-old (in American culture) in Burkina:
1) I can speak good: I can now definitely do everything I need to do in French though I often struggle in grown-up conversations.
2) I am somewhat potty-trained: I poop my pants less often than I did when I first got here and I rarely miss the hole now.
3) I would eat hamburgers, pizza, and ice cream for every meal if I could: When I go to Ouaga, my diet consists of only these 3 things and I am perfectly happy.
4) I often dread leaving my courtyard for fear of being taunted by other children: Hearing le blanc (“whitey” in French), nesara (“whitey” in moore), and onbompiano (“whitey” in gourmantche) 100 times a day wears on me if I don’t feel well or am really tired.
5) I drink lots of juice: Lots of juice.
6) I ride my bicycle everywhere I go: I actually look the part when I do, wearing my giant helmet and my book bag on my way-too-small-for-my-growing-body bike.
7) I go to school everyday and count down the days until summer vacation: I love teaching but there is nothing like the prospect of having a whole summer off!
8 ) When I spend the night at my friends’ houses, we stay up all night playing board games: Settlers of Catan.
9) When I play soccer with other 10 year-old kids, they are usually much better than me: I am thinking about teaching them a new sport just so I can be relatively good at something again.
10) I can wear ridiculous looking clothes and no one thinks anything of it: They might even tell me my outfit is pretty (c’est jolie).
I think I can safely say, the past twelve months have been the most exciting 10 years of my life.