Don't Worry, Be Happy

Trip Start Sep 01, 2006
Trip End Dec 15, 2006

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Flag of Senegal  ,
Wednesday, October 11, 2006

I'm hoping that this entry will help to assure my parents and all others who are worried that I'm doing quite well in Senegal. I meant my last entry to be somewhat humorous, as all of the students here had a good laugh about it while we were adding more to the list. My friend here, Biz, made a good point yesterday while writing e-mails to her friends. All of the students here have a tendency to write all of the negative things that happen to us when we write home, and although we may think it's fine and be able to laugh about these events, we forget that it's still extremely shocking to people at home. Of course we all have the days when we feel like we want to go home, that the taxi rides are almost unbearable, that we just want to be COLD for once, but the good days definitely outweigh the bad. My classes are going really well, the students are all supportive, fun, adventurous, and life with my Senegalese family is comfortable and relaxing. To further illustrate this, this is my journal entry from last night:

I was standing on the rooftop of my Senegalese family's unfinished home, overlooking their entire neighborhood, when I realized that I could honestly see myself living in Senegal. My host-mother gave me a tour of the upstairs of the house, showing me where her bedroom will be, where my older brother's apartment will be, and most importantly, where the two apartments with outside entrances will be created so that the family can rent out the space. I lingered in one of the apartments, now only a few cement walls, and imagined what my life would be like if I were to live in this place, in this wonderfully vibrant country of Senegal.

I see myself waking up before the sun rises and while the moon is still high in the sky to go for a morning jog as I have been with my friends Rachel and Sam. I see myself returning to my breakfast of hot instant coffee, fresh-baked bread, and unsalted butter in my own apartment above my Senegalese family's house. I would climb into the refreshing, cold shower and reemerge ready to start the day. I can see myself practicing yoga as I have been with other SIT students and with our own private instructor at a karate studio. I would read book after book after book, sometimes in English and other times in French. I've already finished reading five books since I've arrived in Senegal, one in French and the others in English. I would take long walks with no distinct destination and I would enjoy them thoroughly. I would stop to talk to people who greeted me on the street, and I would sit and chat when invited to do so. I would watch the sunset from my rooftop as the bright sun fell silently behind the white lighthouse on top of one of the only hills in Dakar. I could see myself shopping in the markets and I would bargain so well that people wouldn't be able to tell that I didn't grow up in Senegal. I would become an expert at French and become fluent in Wolof, as well.

Not everything would always go as planned or as I would like, yet I would be patient. Things would be constantly happening around me and to me and within me, yet I would be calm. I would do things for myself and by myself. I would be living life to the fullest and experiencing all that Senegal has to offer. I would carry out each day with purpose, creating my own opportunities, and my life would resemble greatly my current situation, as I would be alive with the spirit of adventure.
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