10 Sept 2011 – Manicured and Pedicured

Saturday afternoon Beth and I went to Elegant Nails for the full treatment. I felt like Dorothy in the salon before she entered the Emerald City. One technician was giving me a pedicure and another was giving me a manicure.  We had a sea salt rub, a masque and a hot rock massage on our calves and shins. My feet were encased in hot wax. The only time I had second thoughts was when the technician brought out a cheese grater to buff the callouses on my feet. I know my feet got tough in Ghana but seriously?!

-vc

28 July 2011 – Adjusting

When I get back to the US I will find it hard to:

– Use my left hand to give anything to people.

– Go to bed without shaking out my sheets.

– Put toilet paper in the toilet bowl.

– Eat with a fork and spoon.

– Stay warm.

– Wear closed toed shoes.

– Speak correct English, ooohhh!

– Walk by someone without greeting them.

– Make choices in a grocery store.

– Pay American prices for things.

-vc

Peanut butter and banana sandwiches

The last monday of July I was walking back from a cultural class. I was thinking about lunch and saw groundnut paste in the market. The groundnut paste comes in small sandwich size plastic baggies.  The paste is squeezed into one corner of the baggie.  It is tied and the whole package looks like a miniature icing tube.  To use the paste you cut the corner off and squeeze it out the hole.  Yes I have made smiley faces on my bread in the morning. so sue me!

 

When I saw the groundnut paste I got the craving for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. There is no jelly in Suhyen and no honey but there are bananas so I decided to buy the fixings for groundnut paste and banana sandwiches.  As I walked by the fish sellers in the market the first lady asked me what I had and where I was going. Part of being in a Ghanaian community is the common question where are you going? Often your answer is followed by advice on how to get there or at least a wish that you will go and come quickly!  I told them that I was going home to make peanut butter and banana sandwiches. I asked if they knew what that was and they didn’t. So I mimed cutting bread, spreading PB and slicing bananas on it then making the sandwich.

 

The next group of fish sellers included my sister Esther. She asked the same thing. I repeated the pantomime. One of this group said Oh I would love to try that!  I had a whole loaf of bread that I would not eat in three days and many bananas so I said I will go and come and bring some back.

 

I made about 7 sandwiches. Cut them in half. I decided to eat half of a sandwich before I brought out the rest, just for insurance. I put a napkin on a tray. Placed the sandwiches on the napkin and then covered them with a dish towel. I carried my tray to the market. They were a hit. I ran out of sandwiches long before I ran out of people who wanted to try them. 

Moving again!

Today I am sorting through my belongings yet again in preparation for another move. I have had a hard time facing this one and have found something else more important the past three weekends. I move next weekend so it’s time to bring my stuff to the Salvation Army.

For me clothes and shoes are the hardest things to let go of. As I sort through my remaining clothes so many memories come back. I remember when Beth and I bought our twin Flip Flops at the Yankee Trader on one of our Belfast weekends. The breezy July day on the coast where Liz got married comes to mind when I look at that white top. Helen helped me shop for that outfit. These red sandals are so comfortable maybe i’ll bring them even if the leather does disintegrate in the tropics. Oh I wore those boots when Eric and I went to Cape Ann on that rainy fall day. My L.L. Bean coat! Jeanette has a blue one just like it! I tell myself the memories will still be there.

Clothes and shoes say so much about your personality and what you do. So in another way as I shed my old job and my American lifestyle it feels right to shed my old clothes and shoes. As the person I will become emerges my clothes and shoes will reflect that change.

So vc quit stalling, get off the computer and take some more steps to your new life! -vc

Last Sox Game

Saturday I went to my last Sox game. Check out my flickr acct. for photos. Having a terrible time uploading images to the new and improved WordPress. So none here.

I took a tour of Fenway park. Did you know that Ted Williams hit a Yankees fan when he hit the longest inside the park home run?  Did you know the Red Sox won a World Series by forfeit? Imagine not showing up for a World Championship?  Sox don’t count it as a win though only an ALC.

-vc

Newington “chop shop”

Today Jeanette, Helen, Pat and I went to Steve’s, a local sandwich shop in Newington. In Ghana a chop shop is a local place that sells local food as opposed to a restaurant that sells fancy, non native food. Steve’s feels local. The people behind the counter are friendly and open. It’s a family run business. The mom and dad and their two son’s work there.

Today is warm turkey sandwich day. For the past two weeks I have asked about cranberry sauce and last week the woman who I paid said I should bring my own because the cooks were not going to make it that way. When I came in I was greeted with “She did bring her own cranberry sauce!” I handed one of the sons the container of cranberry sauce and said I want this on my turkey sandwich, please.  Helen seconded it!  When the mom came by our table she said “Oh they put cranberry on the turkey” and Helen replied “no she” pointing to me “brought her own in!” the mom said “I have been trying to tell them we need cranberry on the turkey sandwich, now maybe they will listen after a customer brings their own in.”

And of course, as I tell everyone I told them, I was going to Africa.  One of the sons told me about this young man who was in Africa and now works for them.  As I was leaving he hands me the phone and says “talk to him about Africa!”.  The young man again confirmed my previous understanding that the Ghanaian people are the friendliest people in the world.

Thursday May 1 the woman who told me to bring my own cranberry sauce is baking brownies for my last day at Steve’s.

Small town, small business, gotta love it!

-vc

No internet

Oh boy. 1 1/2 days (and counting) without internet at my house and I am feeling out of touch,  and disconnected! How am I going to survive in Africa….. It’s amazing how many times I turn to the net for contact with family and friends or to get directions or to get a phone number  or to write this blog or to buy something! wow no net access or limited net access may very well be one of my biggest adjustments!

-vc

Peaberry’s Cafe Simsbury

Peaberry’s is my cheers. I am going to miss going in there so much. My daughter is the manager. I love visiting with Leanne and Tracy and meeting the new staff. Today Leanne was celebrating March. “Don’t you just love March?” she asks when I come in. My reply is “I love March because April, May and June follow!” “Exactly” she replies “March is full of hope. And my birthday is in March!”

A woman next to me says “It’s his birthday today” pointing to the only guy behind the counter. “Leanne quietly says “Happy Birthday Evan” But I love birthdays and celebrating even a strangers birthday brings me joy so I begin to sing “Happy Birthday…” the woman beside me who said it was Evan’s birthday joins in “dear Evan …” then together on the big finish “Haaaaapppyyyy Biiiiirrrrthdaaaaaaaaaay tooooooo yoooooooooo”  Liz turns from the milk station and says “Even, meet my Mother!”

When Liz got me my chai she said “wow mom you even got a customer to join in with you!” I had to confess “It was HIS mother!”

Then I was reading the paper and it’s the day after the big prostitute scandal with the governor of NY, Gov. Eliot Spitzer.  The Courant has that awful picture of his wife standing beside him. I assume almost every paper did today. The guy next to me commented on how sleazy and self-serving  it was of him to have her there. So then the counter staff, the people at the counter were all discussing it. 

Visiting to Peaberry’s always brightens my day and I will miss it very much!

-vc

American Self Portrait

Wow! Check out this link.

 http://www.chrisjordan.com/current_set2.php?icl=7

-vc

My Country

My country tortures people.

My country uses fear to scare it’s people into giving up
their civil rights.

My country spies on it’s people without judicial review.

My country imprisons people without due process then
denies habious corpus.

My country suppresses the results of scientific research
that does not parrot the official government position.

My country demotes government workers who do not
parrot the official government policy.

My country puts poor people who were victims of disaster
in substandard housing then stops testing for toxins to
avoid liability.

My country poses fake press conferences to promote
government agencies.

My country allows people to die if they can’t afford
medical treatment.

My country lied to it’s people to go to war.

My country favors the rich and oppresses the poor.

My country has one of the lowest infant mortality rates
among it’s peers.

My country forces false confession from suspects in its
police interrogation rooms.

My country limits my access to my president by having
public events by invitation only.

My country seizes the assets of its citizens without due
process.

While listening to my local public radio station this morning
I began to  think of this post.  While composing it in my head I became afraid that this post could cause me trouble with my Peace Corps service.
This is what America has come too. I am afraid to criticise
my government. Isn’t that my constitutional
right and duty? So I am posting it, believing that not exercising my freedom of speech just adds to the problems I listed above.
I am hoping that the people who tell me that I will learn to appreciate what I have here, are right.

-vc

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