The recorded ramblings of an unschooled writer, aspiring biologist, amateur equestrian, ardent bookworm, avid music appreciator, increasingly addicted runner and college student spending the summer in Ely, MN.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

'Cause you know I'd walk a thousand miles...

"Cause you know I'd walk a thousand miles,
if I could just see you..."
- "1000 Miles" by Vanessa Carlton

So, the one thing that I managed to forget clothing wise is a pair of running shorts. Which means that on the off chance that athletic activity does occur, I am stuck in either a way too warm pair of sweat pants, or a really attractive pair of black (Spandex!) biking shorts. This morning I went with some of the other girls in the group to an aerobics class held at the guest house. It was hilarious! We were pretty much tripping all over each other and very rarely did we all actually manage to perform the same movement at the same time. The guy teaching the class was very positive and funny and just smiled at our constant mistakes. I particularly enjoyed the music selection…there was something so incredibly amusing about going to an aerobics class in East Africa only to hear “1,000 miles” and “Drops of Jupiter” blasting out through the speakers. As soon as I have time, I intend to make it to the Natumatt, the biggest mall area in Nairobi as it has a sporting goods store and I will purchase myself some non-Spandex shorts.

More long sessions of Kiswahili classes occurred today. I am really enjoying the Swahili class, but am beginning to feel really in over my head and overwhelmed. I am remembering lots of it, but am frustrated because I am so slow when it comes to actually speaking it. Rachel and I went out for lunch today and when we walked back into the Guest House, the man at the front desk asked us “Mnatoka wapi?” and we just stared at him blankly and apologized for our inability to respond in Kiswahili. Of course, as soon as we walked away, we both recalled he was asking “Where are you coming from?” and the appropriate response would have been “Tunatoka Adams Arcade” (“We are coming from Adams Arcade (the shopping center where we went to lunch).”

On the way home we ran into half a dozen or so cows wandering the streets and sidewalk among the motor traffic and all of the pedestrians. They were very dirty, and smelled very cow-y (certainly a different smell than the nice warm, friendly horsey scent I am missing so very much) but looked quite healthy and clearly are used to wandering the city as they were so very unconcerned by all the people and the matutus (mini – buses that are terrifying) whizzing by and honking. Rachel apparently is terrified of cows – she was walking super close to the frightening traffic rather than risk getting to close too one of the wild beasts! I enjoyed seeing them. I’m really, really missing animals. It feels like the bio part of the program is much, much too far away at this point in time.

We had our first East Africa history lecture this afternoon. I’m really interested in the topic and actually did a lot of reading on the subject on my own this summer, but I think the lecture is going to be difficult to follow for me. History has never been my strong point and while the material is super interesting and the professor incredibly knowledgeable, my brain just doesn’t seem to be able to keep up with the constant jumping back and forth between British/German colonialism to tribal life in pre-colonial Kenya to contemporary political issues.

I’m feeling a little down today as I’m realizing that while I’m in an incredible place, for the next month or so I will largely be trapped indoors and be listening to lots of lectures…something I loathe no matter how interesting the topic. Also, Nairobi is so interesting I find it difficult not to let my mind wander and find out what other exciting things might be happening outside the confines of the classroom. I miss spending most of the day outside so very much. Safari/snorkeling can’t come soon enough. That is going to be incredible for me, all of that outdoor time in such an amazing place, so I’ve got many reasons to push through this frustrating indoor/sedentary time.

I’m really missing Lance the labradog today for some reason. I was waking up about every 30-45 minutes last night for absolutely no reason and normally at home I would just wake Lance up to keep me company, so it was very strange to not do that. Instead I listened to my iPod. Did you know that the iPod has a “sleep timer” so that you can set it to automatically turn off after 20, 30, 60, 90 or 120 minutes of play time so that if you fall asleep while listening to it the battery will not run all the way down? I just discovered it last night and found it to be a very exciting discovery indeed!

If you have time to send me a quick e-mail, I would really appreciate it :) I might not be able to respond right away, but news of home is always nice and while I’m not really homesick yet, I’m worried that I might be once the homestay portion of the program begins (Saturday mid-day) and I’m not surrounded by my fellow L+C students all of the time.


1 comment:

  1. Hey Hillary! I really enjoyed reading your posts-what an awesome adventure you are sure to have. Keep up the good work and take in all you can. I wish I would of had the opportunity to experience what you are doing. It was really great getting to know you at HTC!! Take care and I will look forward to more posts. Cindy Shelby