A day in the life
What does a day look like in Lilongwe, you ask? Let me tell you the grand adventure of life here!
The day starts at 4:50am with the call to prayer from the local mosque, who's loudspeakers are pointed right at our house, I swear. Chad gets up, and Miriam rolls over in denial, praying the kids didn't wake up (that's a 50-50). At least 3 times a week Chad gets out to run 10-12 kms (6+ miles) "just to help him wake up". Overachiever!!! My only consolation is that everyone laughs at the crazy white guy running!
The nanny arrives at 9am, so Isaac is securely tied to her back (which he loves!), the kids are banished to play outside, and we start language study. At 11am our tutor arrives, and we do more formal learning drills until 1pm when our smoke starts coming out the ears.
After we grab a bite to eat, we head out to talk to people and practice what we've just learned. I usually go up the street and talk to all the guards at each gate and Chad talks with the guys who work with us. We've made all sorts of mistakes already, but people really do enjoy laughing with us, and it hasn't felt too embarrassing.
By 3, I'm back home getting dinner ready with Musa's help. Call me spoiled, but having help is awesome! I always have him cut the onions (my least favorite job) and peel potatoes (they're so small we need like 15 for a meal!). And he makes great tortillas! Of course the payoff for this help is that I've lost all control over my kitchen, and I find things put away in the strangest places!
After dinner, we often let the kids watch a movie if we have power, or we play games. We're still working on games that work for all of us...pictionary is too hard for them, but CandyLand is getting old for us! =) Then the kids are in bed by 8pm, and we have some peace at last! With that peace, we do one of 3 things. On good days, we review our language notes and study and prepare for the next day's 'class'. On rougher days (if we have electricity) we watch a non-animated movie! On bad days, we just throw in the towel and fall into bed, praying the next day will feel easier. Thankfully, those nights are less frequent than I expected.
Somewhere in all that, we also go grocery shopping (at the 4 different stores plus the market), run errands like buy electricity (you buy units in advance!), get money (a whole other blog to explain this nightmare!) and other such adventures. All in all, we're actually enjoying our routine most days, and it will only get better once the kids get in school.