Thoughts from Half-Way through

When we told people in Kenya we would be in the US for almost 7 months, they said, "Such a long time." When we gave the same dates to people here, they lamented, "Such a short time." We have had moments of feeling it both ways in the months we've been back, but no matter, the hour-glass is almost exactly half-empty now.

And so, I thought it was past time to share some observations about the best and the worst parts of life in America, from someone who is experiencing them afresh!

The BEST:

1. Butter in sticks, with Tbsp divisions labeled. Pure brilliance. It's way better even than sliced bread--I'd cut my own bread any day over trying to mash butter into a measuring spoon, and then have to clean them out again!

2. Exercise that isn't life-threatening. I'm in Central Oregon, jogging on paved roads with minimal to no traffic, taking in the mountain views with every step. In Nairobi, jogging is really more like a death-defying game of "Frogger", dodging the cars, the pot-holes, and the cars who are dodging the pot-holes! Kind of defeats the purpose of health-improvement.

3. Being able to buy whatever you need, wherever you are. I can not tell you how stress-free packing for trips is here...if you forget something, you can just run into Target at your destination. Chances are, the store will even look the same, and you can find your item in the same place, on the same shelf, as it was 2000 miles away! In Africa, if you forget something on a trip...you are out. of. luck. End of story.

4.Drinking fountains and free water. AMAZING! If I forget the kids' water bottle in their lunch, no biggie--they have water fountains. And they won't get giardia from it! And when we eat out, we can ask for water, not pay a thing, and get little lemon slices on the side just to make it feel more special. Love it!

THE WORST:

1. Being charged for in-coming and out-going cell phone calls. WHAT????? Come on, friends. How did you let that one become standard? Since we're here too short to get a contract, we have to have burn phones. I bought 250 minutes/month thinking that would be fine. Wait. You mean, I have to PAY when telemarketers call my cell phone?????? Isn't that called 'double-dipping? (Yes, in Africa only the caller gets charged. As it should be!)

2. It costs more money to make your own spaghetti sauce than to buy a glass jar full of the stuff already made. How does that make sense? It puts me in a major conundrum. I love making my own food now, but I also am a total cheapskate. Do I buy the sauce or do I save the $0.40??? ARGGGGGH--such choices!

3. "Home-made" recipes that call for already-made store-bought items. I bought all the sugar, flour, soda, baking powder, and milk I thought I would need. Then all the recipes called for a box of pudding, or a tub of whipped topping, or a brownie or cake mix, or 2 cups baking mix, or a roll of dough, etc etc etc.  I guess a 'stocked' kitchen looks different here than I'm used to!

4.Your sun doesn't set on time. How am I supposed to get my kids to bed on time when it's still light out? For the last 4 years I've been telling them that it's the sun's bedtime, so we have to go to sleep too. Now what??? And I haven't even had to explain yet how the sun is about to stop working--a sunny, 40 degree day? Unheard of on the equator.


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