Day 356: I Should Really Be Over This By Now

by Lara Vogel, lara@trippingonwords.com

Time is a funny thing here. There are many reasons for this overall feeling.

First: we are on the other side of the world from what we call home, so a lot of the news we care about like the April Fool’s Joke of Jessica Simpson marrying John Mayer or anything relating to our families takes place hours after we have gone to bed.

Second: “Kenyan time.” As in most third world countries, this tends to just be a euphemism for “late.” However, sometimes it apparently just means absolutely nothing logical. Like the tea we are supposed to have delivered daily at 10 AM that has now come at 2 PM, 5 PM and 10 AM with no apparent pattern except that a little person knocks on our door and asks for a thermos anywhere from 10 minutes to 2 hours before the tea shows up. Or the guy who was supposed to give us a pre-scheduled lift to town at 10 AM on Thursday, who then asked if we were ready at 2:30 on Friday.

Third: We do so much entirely unplanned crap during a day that by the time we hit 4 PM, we find ourselves remembering anecdotes from the morning nostalgically. So many random knocks find our door, and such strange issues follow them, that before we know it we have acted as camp counselor, grief counselor, physical therapist, tree, slapstick entertainer, computer genius and chair for about 100 of the 190 orphans that course through here in a day.

Fourth: Claire’s playlist. It is currently playing “The Freshman,” a hit from (shocker) our freshman year of high school. It seems that no matter what we actually choose to listen to, Claire’s iTunes insists on then switching to something absolutely unrelated. This causes a lot of memory confusion.

I think the only surprising thing about all of this is that I thought sitting in one place for a few weeks would lessen this sense of displacement. Claire and I got used to being pretty out of it last year, but we were always on the move, and so felt it was permissible…especially since constant internet contact meant we weren’t usually that badly off. That is not the case here, and Claire and I have spent literally hours trying to sign up for New York Times RSS feeds because we have less than no idea what’s happening in the world.

So Claire and I find ourselves running back into that problem of how our world can simultaneously expand and shrink. Our entire focus falls within the walls of this orphanage right now. This means that in contrast to our lives in California or Boston our perspective is expanding, but it also means that we don’t know anything about important topics like, say, the war in Iraq or that Angelina and Brad adopted yet another, but I do know that Hannah got 26/30 on her math exam.

1 comment:

Another Twentysomething said...

The wonders of global travel have allowed you two the make sense of things so many people only read about or see on a screen, and now here you are at the orphanage experiencing the flip side of an isolated, microcosmic social environment. If you can chalk it up to an added angle of understanding more about "the world" I think you're on the right track. I l-o-v-e your updates! Keep em up!

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