Exploding Subcompacts

After this past weekend, I can safely say this: when Honda civics break, they break with gusto.

I drive a hybrid Honda civic. It is a reliable car in a goofy color. I am fond of it, and it has not given me any problems in the last two years. However, when I left for work this past Sunday, I was greeted by a dead-as-a-doornail car.

This would be fine, except that all of the people I know who own cars were either a) at church (pious people got wheels, y’all), b) unlikely to own jumper cables, or c) my sleeping roommate. So, because I am an adult, I called my parents.

Because they love me, they jumped my car and–though the car seemed convinced that the parking brake was on–I got to work just fine. At work, I cleaned a bunch of tables and debated with my coworkers whether my constant exposure to Windex is responsable for the skin condition that is currently splitting my right palm open with dry skin and sadness.

Continue reading

Pleasing Success and Dismal Failure (and the Return of Crying)

IMG 0436

Today was a day of communication success and really, really frustrating communication failure. It was also a nice reminder that frustration tears are actually just a permanent condition of existing here, if you are me.

First, the success. Today at lunch, I ate around the bowl with my family. I managed to get yelled at minimally, and I understood the lunch conversation (mostly). Given that it was in Wolof, this was very exciting.

Granted, this was only possible because the conversation (a discussion about perfumed rice produced in factories) contained a lot of nouns. Nouns and adjectives are my savior, because most of them (particularly when referring to post-industrial things) are just the French word. It was possibly the most boring lunch conversation in the world, but it was the first meal conversation I’ve followed along with in the last 3 1/2 months, so I was pleased. Tiny victories!

Now, onto the failure and the tears. Today, after locking myself in my room for two hours to nap/do homework/attempt to recover from my third cold since moving here, I moved out into the living room to chat with my host dad. He, realizing that I talk pretty much only to him because his first language is French, sent me in to go socialize with the rest of my host family. Harsh, but well-intentioned and effective.

Continue reading