>> 19 October 2014
I'm now well into the third week here, which means I'm nearly through the first month, which means only 9 more to go (hah)! Some days are really great, and some days are really awful, and some days are a combination of both extremes.
One of the things I am of course struggling with is the language. I feel really confident speaking Tetun unless I'm around certain people, especially those who call attention to the fact that I'm new and assume that I can't speak Tetun. Sometimes things come out of my mouth completely spontaneously and actually seem to make sense. Last week I stopped at the Tiger Fuel station to ask the guy not to fill me up, but to open the bike up to physically look if there was any fuel in there. For an entire day, the fuel gauge needle was at the halfway mark, but then the next day it was at the full mark, so I thought it might be broken. He popped it open and we determined that my motorbike was, in fact, full of fuel (a miracle that has not yet been accounted for because I only asked for half a tank and paid for half a tank), we both had a chuckle over it, and I went on my merry way. This entire exchange took place in Tetun, and I was comfortable and confident that we understood each other.
Another thing I struggle with is water. In my house, if the power is out, then the water is out, and the power goes out a lot (developing nation, what can you do?). We have a huge bucket of reserve water for showers, and our drinking and cooking water all comes from bottles, but it's still maddening. More maddening is how often I forget that my cooking water comes from a bottle. When my meal is drying out and sticking to the pan and I dash to the sink for a cup of water to thin it out, I pay for that single cup of water later. Usually what happens is I become unbearably drowsy, fall into a sweaty sleep, and wake up later with significant gastric discomfort, which usually lasts for the rest of the day. All because I put a cup of tap water into my rice and greens.
Something I have definitely been enjoying is the food. I had sort of forgotten that if I don't cook here, I don't eat. This is a huge problem for me in the mornings when I just want to drink a gallon of coffee, but for the most part I really like it. The grocery stores are such a wonderful adventure of weird, un-readable products in every language imaginable. The produce is so cheap and plentiful and my house has a really well-equipped kitchen. Still, I'm so glad that I brought my Wusthof knives with me (and had just had them sharpened), and that I brought a pint-sized gelato's worth of nutritional yeast. Besides loving the taste, the nutritional yeast makes up for the lack of meat in my diet by providing my body with protein and B-vitamins.
On the subject of things I'm glad I brought, my PAINTS!