Will you take me with you?

Photo Update: I finally uploaded photos after almost a month.  I’ve added Paris and London to the NY set. Flickr let’s me organize photos within a set (album) but when you see the lay out on flickr their in a different order. Click the set to see the chronological order of photos taken.

Sorry but I still haven’t figured out how to reduce photos within Microsoft’s “my pictures.” A few of you have been kind enough to look into it for me. Thanks. I was so happy Neil let me borrow his laptop which has the newest version of My pictures and let’s me reduce batches of photos easily! Instead of it taking me 1.5 hrs for 13 photos to upload I was able to upload 13 photos in 3 minutes. Hurray! Enjoy the photos.

 I’ll try to be better about uploading as long as I have easy access to a computer at the backpackers! Thanks again, Neil!

I’m still living at Kilimanjaro Backpackers and have made my tiny room more cozy by posting photos of friends and family, using the windowsill as a bookshelf and my little table for all my toiletries. I find it ironic that everywhere I’ve stayed I had my own bathroom and a decent size room and most were willing to give a discount if I was going to stay a while. Now that I’ve found a place I want to stay, I share a bathroom and shower with everyone else, my room is tiny and no discount. The owner owns several accomadation places and apparently has too many rules. Doesn’t really matter. I’m paying $6 a night.

However, I have been seeing fliers at the nearby coffee shop for a spacious bedroom with western facilities etc. and I imagine it would be half the cost. I know an American guy who paid $1000 for a 2 bedroom apartment for the entire year. Crazy! In a years time I would pay $2100 at backpackers. Renting a place here is cheap! I’m enjoying my freedom and am certainly not ready to make the commitment of renting a room or apartment for a week or a month at a time.

The holiday spirit is minimal here. I hear Christmas songs at local restaurants, passing by shops and playing on the radio but it can almost go unnoticed. A few shops have a few fake Christmas trees and the coffee lounge put up a fake Christmas tree a week ago. Supposely, will decorate the few trees in the common area at Backpackers tonight.  I miss the spirit of Christmas lights, the smell of the tree, decorations, wearing scarfs and coats and having the sunset by 5pm. And of course, I miss being with my family and friends  during this time of year but I’m thankful to be around such wonderful people where I’m staying. I am happy to be away from the overpowering consumerism bubble America thrives on during the holiday’s.  It’s often easy to forget what the holiday’s are suppose to be about!

I’ve been enjoying life taking it one day at a time and trying not to plan too much. Some days I create little lists of what I want to do or get done and I laugh at myself as I feel the Western ways in me take over.  Sometimes I pause for a moment and think, WOW, this is my life and I’m living in Moshi, TZ because I can. I have no plans and nowhere to be. I have complete freedom and no committments. At times, it’s a scary prospect but lately it’s been a wonderful feeling. I’ve been meeting other volunteers who will be here for a long while, spending time with locals and exploring.  My days spent here are similar to how I’d spend them in California except I don’t have a job.

I just had lunch and sat down at the East African pub, a local restaurant, by myself. Within a few minutes a man sat down and asked me a few questions- my name, where I’m from and thankfully hesitated on the marriage question but he jumped the gun  instead.

“When will you return home?”

“Sijuwi,” I said in Swahili. “(I don’t know.”)

“Oh, when you go home will you take me with you?”

“NO!,” I responded assertively.

I explained, Living in America isn’t easy like everyone here assumes it is. I explain about expensive rent, electricity, water, food, transportation and the lack of decent paying jobs for immigrants. The media certainly paints the wrong picture for people all over the world about how life is in the States. It’s a shame so many of our ridicoulous shows are broadcast all over the world. I haven’t had many men in Moshi ask me the standard 3 questions (my name, where I’m from and if I’m married) or ask if I’ll take them to the States. Being assertive is best and giving examples helps most of them realize it isn’t as easy as they think it to be.

I’ve been wanting to watch movies lately. There is a TV at backpackers but no DVD player. I was so happy when I Motorcycle Diaries was played on TV a week ago. Last night, Neil and I, watched JerseyGirls on his laptop. It’s so easy to buy DVD’s here, all pirated. Some DVD’s come with 16-24 different movies on them for about $6-10 per disc.  

Keep in touch

 Hope everyone is well,

Lauren

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2 thoughts on “Will you take me with you?

  1. Hey Lauren!
    Xmas is just something invinted to fill the dark days of the year with something anti-depressing 😉 You don’t need that there, you lucky sungirl you!!!
    Please send some sun to New York. It’s all snow here already. I love it, but I don’t like cold 🙂 Am longing for my trip to South Florida in january.
    Your pics are awesome!!! And I’ll mail you back soon, it was sooo busy with my mom here etc.
    love, ml

  2. Hi Lauren,
    I love your photos! I can really get a clear sense of where you are and what your’e experiencing betwee your beautiful photos and your blog. You capture the essence of the place so well! You can write a book when you come home if you want to.

    We miss you here especially now at Christmas time but I’m happy to know you are having such wonderful and unusual experiences. Glad to know they have a little bit of Christmas celebrating where you are. You definitely wouldn’t miss the traffic, lack of parking spaces and the crowds at this time here. Lots of people buying lots of stuff. You will undoubtedly have an unforgettable time where your are.

    Thinking of you all the time! OXOXOX

    Love,
    Mom

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