Sunday, October 25, 2009

Everyone in Monrovia wants to be my friend

OK so I know it has been FOREVER since I have last posted but I thought It was kinda weird me posting information about a place I have never visited before. That has all changed so I am now officially able to give you my point of view on the place where Dan and I will be spending the next two years. First of all it is HOT all the time. I went from 53 degree weather to having my clothes hang on me in the airport because I was sweating so much. I then found out that the carry on bag I thought would be waiting for me at the bottom of the stairs as the nice little (lying) Brussels Air guy told me as he stopped me while boarding my flight was NOT there (don't give up your carry on baggage to a Brussels Air employee it will take 4 days to get it). So After I fill out my lost baggage report and tried to explain what a crock pot was (yes I had one in my carry on) I FINALLY got to see Dan. I was SO excited!!!! Almost as excited as the dude loading my bags into to car was with the $5.00 tip that Dan gave him. It took about an hour to make it to our apartment and we were finally home. The car ride was pretty uneventful except for the lack of speed limit signs, traffic lights, or any type of road signage at all. Kinda scary when there are ginormous pot holes in the road but John the driver got us home safe and sound.

On Tuesday I met our maid Armameta (I know that is not spelled correctly) at 7:30 AM which was actually fine because I couldn't go back to sleep after Dan left at 6:15. I was unpacking some stuff when she rang the door bell and she was so excited to see me even though we have a slight language barrier but with hand gestures we made it through the week. She soon became my hero because she killed the 6 inch long roach crawling on the wall which made us fast friends. After I had everything put away Dan called and said we would meet for lunch at a hotel with Troy, Sara, and Elliston (their baby) who also live in our compound. I had not met her the night before but had seen Rick and Tiffany who I had met before Dan left for Liberia and Allan and Paul the guys that Dan eats supper with every night (I call them my other husbands). So anyway I went to lunch with Dan and had pizza which was actually very good and a Coke Light which is like a Diet Coke but is just not the same I guess I will make due. After lunch Jones (my favorite driver) took Sara, Elliston and I to the supermarket (not to be confused with the market were I went the next day) and I bought stuff to cook all week for supper. The thing about Liberia is that the only way to pay is cash which is good most of the time because if you don't have the cash I guess you don't need it. The bad thing is you have to have enough cash to go to the grocery store because it is SO expensive. Not like Publix expensive I am talking $3.00 for a can of cream of mushroom soup and $6.00 for a pint of Ben and Jerry's. You can get a whole chicken for $2.41 but you need to make sure you get the chicken from Brazil or you end up with some surprises (we will get to that later). So we got our groceries and left the store and as we were walking to the car at least 5 people asked me to buy bootleg movies, 6 asked me to buy a map of Monrovia and 2 people asked me to buy some jewelry I was very good and turned them all down it was actually very overwhelming. Once we got back to the apartment Tiffany needed to go to a different grocery store so I went there with her. You have to go to several to get everything you need most of the time usually if one doesn't have it another will. The only thing I couldn't find was potatoes but did find them at a road side stand and they were $100 Liberian Dollars which is about $1.30 in U.S. which I thought was pretty good but Jones said they charged me too much because of the color of my skin. After that I got home and cooked meat loaf for all three of my husbands (Dan, Paul and Allen) and went to bed. The funny thing about all of my traveling is that I really have not had any jet lag. I guess because I was so tired after traveling for 24 hours that when I finally got to sleep by body just adapted.

On Wednesday I started my day with a job interview at The American International School of Monrovia (AISM). It went pretty well and I hope to get a job there so I do not go CRAZY while I am there for 2 years. The school has 45 students K-9th grade and there are 15 different nationalities. I really hope they hire me but the only down side is the flip flop restriction. Yep you heard me I will not be allowed to wear flip flops which are my favorite form of food wear. I guess I can handle it by finding alternative forms of footwear. After the interview Tiffany (my BFF in Liberia) and I went to 2 local out door type markets. They are literally Wal Mart thrown up on the streets. You can get ANY THING pretty much from soap (which I don't know really work because of the body Oder issues that I encountered, yep vomit in my mouth) to food and pots and pans. Every where we walked we were always asked by the locals to what our name was and if we would be there friend. I will probably never remember any of their names but since there are only 50 white people in Monrovia they will probably know who I am. The only thing I did not enjoy about my day was the pineapple debacle. I saw a woman with the BIGGEST pineapple I have ever seen in my life yep you guessed it on her head. I stopped and asked her how much. She said 6 so I thought $6.00 U.S. So I said $4.00 she said OK little did I know she meant 400 LD which is around $6.00 U.S I gave her a 5 dollar bill and waited for my change. She wanted more money because she thought she was getting $6.00 or 400 LD. My driver told her to give me my change and she said "no" and that she wanted more money. Then my driver yelled at her and told her to either give me money back or the pineapple. She then said "NO, I am not rich!" Then my driver yelled at her again in English but I so totally did not understand it. Then all the people on the street got involved and told her to give me my money back. All I wanted to do is get my pineapple and quickly get in the car because I was so embarrassed! Finally I gave her one more dollar and she gave me my pineapple I thought I was going to DIE. My driver was so mad when we got in the car he said that they charge me too much because of my skin and she should know better because I can get it for 200 LD down the street which is only about $3.00 U.S. Which we did find when we went to Rally Time Market. There I also tired my first monkey eyeball which is a fruit that is like an orange you have to peal off the top and pop the fruit in your mouth to suck all the juice out.
On Thursday I went with Tiffany to play Mahjong with a group of ladies I had a great time meeting new people and making new friends. After that wen went to track down a quilt maker and finally got there and I ordered a hand made quilt.

On Friday I went back to AISM to see the United Nations Day Program that the kids put on and met some parents which was fun. I then went to The Garden which was a Chinese food restaurant for the U.S. Embassy ladies lunch. I had a good time and met more people which was great! I know now that I will have people to hang with while I am there. That night I went to eat with my 3 husbands and had a good time with them.

On Saturday we watched the Alabama game and the Auburn game and had a Liberian tailgate which was a lot of fun. We had good food and fun. Sunday was a fun day. We went to Thinkers beach and met Princess the monkey who LOVED sweets. She would do any thing for candy. We sat on the patio and looked at the water and just hung out with Allen, Rick, and Tiffany. When we got back I packed my bags and then left for the airport. I will not say that there were no tears shed because I was really sad to leave Dan.

Well the good news is Dan will be home on December 21st for Christmas, and then we leave to go back on December 31st. Well I better go! Hope all is well with y'all!