Thursday, September 16, 2010

Caterpillar Questions

Hey guys!

So in case you are wondering Wilson’s mom nixed the whole moving in together plan, thank god, so awkward situation avoided. Kenya is weird sometimes.

I’m glad for a lot of reasons one of them being I wouldn’t want to leave Madame Grace and Ian. I love living with them. I love coming home to find Madame Grace making Mandazi and Ian with 6 friends sitting around the table. I love having a home where people stop by all the time. I love the crazy religious decoration and the plastic bottles we have collected to hold water. I love having an alarm clock of Ian getting ready for school.

I love leaving the house at 8 every night to go watch English dubbed Spanish soap operas and coming home to dinner.

I love the freedom it gives me to wander from house to house in hopes of getting fed. I can wander into the father’s house for dinner, Mama Michelle’s for tea, the staff room etc. It allows me to move around and see all the people I have come to love.

Besides, he can just come over for dinner.

Like last night. Wilson stopped by my office to say hi since he was dropping his sister’s off at school. He of course could not leave the mission without saying hi to Madame Grace so we wandered over to my house insisting he had to leave soon.

We came in to find Madame Grace making fish (SO EXCITING, a rare delicacy) and Peter, the boy we brought from Loita, and Ian doing homework.

We sat together discussing crazy mike the “house boy”, of course he is more like a house man considering he is like 27, and his most recent antics. I asked Wilson if he wanted to leave as he just haaad to go which, of course, upset Madame Grace.

“no” she announced “He will stay and eat”. So he did because you can’t really say no to Madame Grace. As we ate Wilson made fun of my squmaweki, a vegetable they make here that is quite difficult to make, Madame Grace and I discussed how to avoid having the school take our chairs and we all tried to coax Ian into eating. Then Wilson saved me from a spider the size of my hand that caused me to fall into a near hysterical panic- although he was laughing too much at me to do it very gracefully. Thankfully the boys were there to do such helpful things as laugh and point and tell Madame Grace about my near panic attack.

Later that night as we were getting ready for bed I mentioned to Madame Grace how glad I was that Wilson stayed to eat with us; she agreed that it was good he could come and be a part of our “ever growing family”.

And that is really how it feels to me all the time. It’s as if I am always picking up people to become a part of some strange cross cultural hipster semi catholic family. it’s kind of that feeling you have about the friends you had in high school who you swore, and still swear, you are as close to as your family- closer sometimes.

When I first decided to stay in Kenya and attend USIU I was scared I was signing up to years of being an outsider but I realize now that that’s not true. I am signing up to increase the family I have here.

The thing is sometimes I feel caught between two worlds and I feel exhausted with having these two families. A part of the family here are the kids who I have decided to take care of. This means having to watch their clothes for wear and tear, make sure they are fed, keep them clean. I’m also exhausted by the 2 or 3 adopted mothers I have here who all have their own opinions and ideas about what my life should look like (not to mention the fathers and worse of all adopted older brothers).

Sometimes I also get scared of losing who I was in the U.S.A. because I am certainly changed. Do I betray my Jewish upbringing when I cross myself in church? Have I lost the biting wit that people loved so when I have almost completely honest and sincere conversations all the time? Am I a poser when I download African bongo music?

I suppose the questions come down to if you are created by your environment and I keep constantly changing mine- then who am I? and who do I want to be?

I will take any suggestions.

See you guys in 55 days!

P.S. Confused about the title? Go read "Alice in Wonderland"

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