Saturday, June 9, 2012

June 9, 2012 9:15 PM--Missing America

After being here for about 5 minutes I could start naming things that I missed.  Most volunteers would say there are certain things you get over.  I’ve now been here almost a year and a half and I think I can truthfully tell you what it is I’m really missing.

Things I Miss

1. Christmas time
                I miss especially all the commercialization that happens in America.  Uganda is 80% Christian and they definitely celebrate Christmas, but it just isn’t the same.  Most people here don’t even have Christmas trees.  What kind of Christmas is that?

2. Phillies Games and Hot Dogs
                These two definitely go together.  Dollar dog night is definitely the best night at the Phillies game.  I have had a hot dog or two since I’ve been here, but they are definitely few and far between.  However, I don’t think I’ve seen a single baseball game since I’ve been here (minus seeing the Peace Corps volunteers play the Japanese volunteers at the Uganda little league complex).  At least I’m not missing much considering the Phillies currently stink.  And luckily, I’ll be home in time to catch most of next season.

                There isn’t too much I miss more than my dog.  There is nothing like having her greet me when I come home with her total and unconditional love.  I miss the funniest things about here.  I miss how she would nip at my fingers when I would come home to get my attention and I miss waking up next to her sprawled out in my bed.

4. Snow
                Most people probably wouldn’t miss battling to get to work because it snowed last night.  And they wouldn’t miss their feet freezing off because you had to walk outside.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t miss those aspects of snow, but I miss snow falling and how pretty is looks.  I miss there being snow on the ground for Christmas (when we get that lucky).  I miss playing in the snow.

5. The Change of Seasons
                This kind of goes along with snow.  I miss the crisp air of fall.  I miss the snow.  And I miss all the cold miserableness of winter melting into spring and then summer.  Spring and summer are the most exciting parts of the year, but having an eternal summer takes away the thrill of it all.

                I don’t always have something to do.  Maybe I work at most about 20 hours a week and that might seem fabulous, but it’s no good not having anything to do.  Also, being here and working toward cultural assimilation makes being at my site like being on-call all the time.  I miss having a job where I only work certain hours of the day and when I go home I’m done.

7. Bagels with Cream Cheese
                Cream Cheese is one of those things I never thought I would crave so much, but I do.  In fact, I had my parents bring me a bagel and cream cheese when they came to visit.  Need I say more?

8. Processed Food
                I miss things like cheese wiz.  Having fresh fruit and vegetables all the time is great, but sometimes you just need something that is really bad for you and oh so tasty at the same time.

9. Driving
                I don’t think it’s the driving I miss so much, but the freedom that comes with it.  I also hate having to deal with public transportation, especially here.  If I had to give up driving in America, it wouldn’t be so bad.  I miss having total control over where I go and when and how fast.

10. Hot Showers
                There are some people who would opt for a cold shower occasionally (like after working out).  For me, I NEVER like a cold shower.  This was one of those things that many volunteers told me I would eventually get over.  And after 17 months…I’m still not over it.  I love a hot shower!

11. Meat
                I don’t usually eat meat here, because, frankly, it’s terrible.  Even when Ugandan meat is prepared properly (which it almost never is by Ugandans), it still isn’t very good.  I’m probably going to eat a lot of steak when I come home.  MMMMM!!

12. McDonald’s
                This one goes along with meat and processed food.  Most volunteers will say the first place they are going to when they get back to the first-world is McDonald’s.  I feel like most Americans would consider meat from McDonald’s to be on the lower end of American meat, but compared to what we can get here it’s amazing!

13. Kitchen Sink
                I wish I could have brought everything, including the kitchen sink.  I miss having running water.  Washing your dishes in a basin just isn’t the same.

14. Gym
                I miss being able to workout how I want.  I gave up a while ago on running, because it’s just too stressful.  There are too many people here that just don’t understand.  Running should relieve stress, not cause it.  I miss having all my options open at the gym.  I miss swimming laps too.

15. Washer/Dryer
                I miss having a machine that washes and drys my clothes.  I do like having something to give me a sense of accomplishment some days when I don’t have anything else to do.  However, it is very nice to not have to wash your own clothes.  And it’s also nice to not have to wait for things to dry, which can take all day.  Sometimes it even takes more than one day if it’s cloudy or raining.

16. Beach
                This one should be obvious.  I’m currently living in a landlocked country and I love the beach.  This is another thing I’m looking forward to doing when I get back because I’ll be just in time for summer.

                I miss watching the news.  I miss reading the news.  I miss all the news in the world being up in my face.  In Uganda, you can only really get local news and African news.  Most other international news just isn’t there.  I miss always knowing what’s going on.

Along with all these things that I miss there are some things that I don’t miss.  However there are nearly as many things that I don’t miss, because really…who doesn’t love America!

Things I Don't Miss 

1. Stupid Reality TV Shows
                There never seems to be a shortage of these.  How many times do we need to see the bachelorette fall in love with some guy she’s never going to stay with?  This is one thing that could disappear forever and I would never miss it.

                This one is something I miss and don’t miss at the same time.  I like being able to have all the time in the world to do exactly what I want to do.  I have the freedom to decide my own schedule and until I get bored, it couldn’t be better.

3. Fast-Paced Life
                I don’t miss how everyone is in such a hurry.  I don’t always like how Ugandans are never on time, but I don’t think we need to be always running from one thing to another so quickly.

4. Cold Weather
                I do miss snow, but I don’t miss be cold all winter.  Sometimes I think spring will never come.  If I could have snow without cold weather, life would be perfect.

So, it looks like there are plenty of things to look forward to in 10 months.  Sometimes it seems like 10 months can’t come quick enough, but then I think about what I’m really doing here and I realize it’s all worth it.  I only got 10 months left to change the world!

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