Now that most of my group is so close to coming home, we cannot stop talking about what we are most excited for back in the U.S. These conversations last for hours and usually result in us getting more anxious to come home. However, while I am excited to get back to the comforts of the western world, there are also things that I am going to miss here in Uganda. I can see some of you shaking your heads right now thinking, "What is she possibly going to miss?" (Ahem, Knapton Family). So I thought that I would share my Top 10 Lists of what I am most excited for and what I will miss.
Top 10 Most Excited List:
1. My Family and Friends: Uh, duh! This one should be obvious. Thankfully, I am doing Peace Corps during the time of smartphones, Facebook and email. I cannot imagine doing Peace Corps when the only communication was snail mail. (My best friend Lauren and I would not have survived if we could not text all day, everyday. Thank you iMessage...).
2. Running Water: As much fun as it is to tell people that I bathe in a whale shaped kiddie pool, I am over the whole bucket bathing thing. I cannot wait to have a shower and toilet. No more walking outside to go pee (or poop!) in a hole.
3. Convenience: I have access to a lot of things in Uganda, whether it be western food, fast Internet or laundry services. The problem is that it's not the easiest to get to, and you have to plan ahead. If I want a pizza or a chocolate bar at 7:00pm, then too bad - that just isn't going to happen. In the US I will also have things like a washing machine, dishwasher and vacuum. Household chores will be a little easier and less time consuming.
4. Private Cars: No more crowded taxis that either go so slow you think you'll never reach your destination or so fast you'll see your life flash before your eyes. Not to mention, there is usually some sort of farm animal on board. I cannot wait to relax in my dad's nice car with leather seats and AC.
5. No Fame: I am so excited to rid myself of my celebrity status. Soon I will be able to run in peace and not have 20 shrieking children running behind me. No one will take pictures of me with their camera phone and strangers won't constantly try to talk to me and say, "I'd like to be your friend." I'm will enjoy a little anonymity. Remember when Britney Spears went crazy, shaved her head and beat a car with an umbrella? I can relate.
6. Pampering: Manicure, pedicure and haircut. All of which need to happen ASAP. I cannot wait to feel like a human being again. I'm tired of constantly being covered in dirt.
7. CVS: I don't know what it is about Drugstores, but I love them. They're great and have everything you could possibly need. I love getting a new brand of shampoo or trying the new flavor of Trident gum. My mom would call me many a time in college and ask me what in the world I was buying from Walgreens, and why was I going every week. CVS, I know you've missed me; don't worry, I'll be home soon!
8. Starbucks: Yeah, I said it. Proceed to judge me.
9. Watching Sports: I miss not being able to watch the Superbowl, March Madness, college football and the Lakers (who apparently suck these days). I am excited to sit in front of the TV with a bag of tortilla chips and a bowl of salsa con queso, while cheering on the team with the better looking players.
10. Food: Bet you wondered when I was going to get to this one. Since there are so many things, I will just type as many things I can think of in 30 seconds: Any home cooked meal of my mom's, fro yo, bagels and cream cheese, In-N-Out Burger, spinach artichoke dip, pizza, spinach salads with feta cheese, variety of cheeses and steak. There is so so so much more, but I won't bore you.
Top 10 Miss List:
1. My Neighbors/My Site: I have built good relationships with my neighbors and I am really going to miss them. I know that even if I came back to visit in a few years, it would not be the same. Teachers are always getting transferred or are moving - things change.
2. Tafiq: Best rice and beans...ever. This restaurant is Caroline's and my go to whenever we are in Mbale. Only 3,000 shillings for a huge plate of rice and beans. Where can you get a good meal in the U.S. for a little over a dollar. No, McDonalds does not count (although, I do like their fries!).
3. Rainy Day Vacations: Not having to work when it rains is probably one of my favorite parts of living in Uganda. Who wouldn't miss that?
4. Odd Outfits: I think some of you would be horrified by the clothes I wear in my village. I look absolutely ridiculous sometimes, but Ugandans tell me that I look "smart." I am excited to wear my nice clothes, again, but after a while, I am going to miss being able to dress like a total hobo and having it be socially acceptable.
5. Social Norms: It's socially acceptable to pick your nose in public here, and that is going to be a tough adjustment in the US.
6. Crazy Dancing: Chelsea and I have said we need a crash course in "how to dance like normal people" before we go home. Especially because we have summer weddings to attend. The moves we bust at the club in Jinja may very well frighten people back in the US. I cannot even explain what we look like, but it's not pretty. As my neighbor Eva told me, "Eh, you whites...you people, you can't dance." I am going to miss being able to dance like a total crazy person without a care in the world and no judgements from others (minus Eva).
7. Blaming Being Lame on Uganda: I like to say that I only go to bed at 9 because I live in Uganda, and there is nothing better to do at night. Truth is, I did this back in the US too. My friend Brandon likes to call me grandma.
8. Teaching: I have no desire to be a teacher, but I am going to miss teaching my math classes. I have enjoyed playing math games with my students and seeing them have a little fun. I am also going to miss some of the absurd questions I get asked in class. (i.e. "Teacher Aubrey, is school in the US like High School Musical?")
9. Being Less Wasteful: Unfortunately, I think I am going to be pretty wasteful in the US because I will be so excited with the plethora of amenities. In Uganda, I use way less electricity because I do not have a refrigerator or a TV. I am also not blow drying and straightening my hair. I only use 180-200 liters of water a week. That is for all my dishes, laundry, cooking, bathing and drinking. I did a google search, the average person uses 123 gallons of water per day. That is 466 liters - more than I use in a whole week! (No, I am not positive on the accuracy, but I am sure it's close enough). Lastly, I live off about $275/month. I probably used to spend that much on Starbucks per month.
10. Bragging Rights: I'll admit it, I am really going to miss saying, "Oh, I'm in the Peace Corps." While I am sure I could start every sentence with, "Well, when I was in the Peace Corps," I think people would start to hate me and want to punch me in the face. So I only have 51 more days of saying, "I'm in the Peace Corps" with an air of superiority. (Mmm...maybe people already want to punch me in the face...)
As you can probably tell from this post, I am anxious to get home!