Only for more weeks until...
...I will return to being unremarkable when I walk down the street. I won't get hit on or honked at with even half the frequency I've gotten used to here in Dakar. I will no longer be a "superstar," as Ousmane describes it, and I will no longer have "all eyes on you" (another Ousmane phrase).
...I will no longer be able to go outside and immediately find all kinds of street food within a few steps. Like cafe touba, toasted corn, jaff (peanuts), fresh fruit and veggies, cookies, and thiakry.
...I will return to a land that serves coffee in big cups, not little plastic ones.
...I will no longer watch the "PUB" (publicite) announcements swirling across the TV screen every 20 minutes, before and after every advertisement. I will be able to watch movies--and watch them in English.
...I will return to drinking tea with milk and honey in the mornings, and not Nescafe. I will eat whole-wheat bread. (So many other dietary changes...)
...I will no longer eat dinner outdoors, in the courtyard, around a big communal plate with a fluctuating number of my brothers and sisters; no longer hear their jokes and stories. I will no longer hear Wolof spoken regularly, for that matter.
...I will return to where everything is green.
...I will no longer have warm, sunshine-y weather, all the time. I will no longer have to take malaria pills, either.
In front of the Bay Fall fabric for sale in Saint Louis
I write all of this so that you might understand how conflicted I feel about returning to the States, to home. To help with this understanding, you should consider reading some of the myriad impressions of my fellow study abroad students. I've included links to their funny and fabulously-detailed blogs below.
In no particular order:
- Elisa Loeser - "Elisa to Dakar"
- Claire Harter - "l'experience senegalaise"
- Colleen Schneider - "Cross Cultural Communications"
- Emily Matthews - "SchwaSenegal"
- Carlee Forbes - "Carlee in Dakar"
We're all sorting through our experiences here in this simultaneously public and personal medium. For me, it's been a strange process of self-discovery through self-presentation. And, of course, to remember--but I keep a separate diary for that. I hope to present Senegal to you, but present it with my personal "slant"--the way Emily Dickinson says to tell the truth.