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What a Difference a Year Makes

May 12, 2012
The view from the Bamboo Bar.  Randall street with the ocean in the background.

The view from the Bamboo Bar. Randall street with the ocean in the background.

Yesterday I finally caught my breath.  I’ve been swirling around, caught in a massive wave, but I’ve found the surface and all I have to do is tread water until I can start swimming again.

We spent the morning getting our tickets for Ghana then I bought more lapa dresses from my friend on the hill and we had pizza at the Bamboo Bar, overlooking Broad Street.  We shopped books but Dani and Anjulie were tried so they went back to the room while I headed into the Waterside market.  I shopped for lapas, slippers, everything, winding my way through the weirdest indoor/outdoor maze I could imagine.  “Maybe I shouldn’t go in there alone,” I thought as I looked down a tight alley crammed with trinkets, then I shrugged and did it anyway because it looked amazing.  “Thank you for your African butt!” a woman yelled as I climbed some stairs (where was I?).  I turned and tried to smile like it was a compliment.  “Sorry yeah,” I muttered to my sensitive posterior.  I made friends with a few of the lapa women before the maze spit me out on the street surrounded by bath accessories and used clothes.

I had spent too much money, as usual, so I headed back down Randall.  The ATM refused to give me more money today so I kept going.  The sun was hot so I made my way to Monroe Chicken for soft serve ice cream!  I ate it as slowly as I could, watching CNN on mute.  I thought about sitting there for the first time almost one year ago with Matt Arnold from LR-1.  Oh god, look how far I’ve come.  Liberia was overwhelming.  Monrovia felt impossible.  I was sure I’d never feel quite comfortable, quite myself.

But there I sat.  Sweaty.  Alone.  Happy.

I always thought I was a strong person.  I always was a strong person.  But this last year in Liberia has taken it to a new level.  Nothing surprises me.  Few things make me uncomfortable.  Even fewer things upset me.  I never would have guessed my students would have such success.  I always knew we’d do well, but everything seemed stacked against us.  Me stand in front of 85 Liberian students in an outrageous lapa suit and teach math?  Be serious.  Surely this is a dream.

(But I pray it isn’t.)

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One Comment leave one →
  1. June 13, 2012 10:09 pm

    You’re awesome! Truly AWE-some!

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