New Blog!

If you've enjoyed reading about my experiences in Tanzania here, check out the new blog I've started on Wordpress as of November, 2017. It's called "Back to Tanzania" and you can read it here. All new adventures in Tanzania from an older, wiser, more experienced expat.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Arrived Safely, Settling In

I've arrived safely in Arusha, Tanzania and am settling in here at Kundayo Apartments. My first room was lovely with a nice new bathroom and kitchen and a front porch facing the main garden. It also came surrounded by four young German men whose daily routine includes several hours from afternoon through evening of sitting on the front porch and smoking and smoking and smoking and yelling back and forth in really LOUD German. Although F***ING sounds the same as in English. Last night, when the power went off at 3:00, they got out of bed and repeated the same routine at F***ING 3:00 in the morning! Mazo, my host, seemed to be expecting trouble from this incompatible placement. He'd placed me in that room because I'd requested one of the newer ones. So he moved me to the older part of the inn in a nice quiet corner, and I'm settling in there in an older, but still comfortable, room.

I'm almost over the jet lag of the day-and-a-half odyssey through ten time zones. The first day I lay down to "read for a few minutes," and promptly fell asleep for an hour. Yesterday, I lay down to "read for a few minutes" and promptly fell asleep for four hours. Then a few hours later, slept another seven hours. Today I feel pretty normal.

I ventured on foot to a nearby supermarket, and it felt almost as if the last nine months back in America never happened. An old man saw me walking and said, "Pole, Mama." Literally, sorry ma'am, meaning he commiserates with me for being out walking too fast in the hot sun. Three little girls in school uniforms asked me my name, where I was from and where I was going. They walked along with me, each one peeling off at the path to her own house. Two of the supermarket employees remembered me and gave me big smiles. And apparently, I've forgotten every shred of Swahili that I learned last year. That must be due to my rigorous study schedule of three sessions over the last nine months back at home.
It’s wonderful to spend some time with K2 again, after the latest separation of nine months. He met me at the airport, and we’ve been spending evenings together. Although he hasn’t been on the mountain since I arrived and has no treks scheduled, he’s still busy with work, both at the office and running errands from Arusha to Kilimanjaro. Tomorrow’s Sunday, so I’m hopeful of getting him for the whole day.

While I was at home packing for the trip and feeling all stressed out over final preparations, K2 and his fellow guides and porters were receiving payment and tips from two South African clients that turned out to be partially in counterfeit US dollars! When I start getting too whiney about life in America, K2 often has some story to tell me that puts things back in perspective.

I’m a bit at loose ends with K2 always at work and me having no scheduled activities. For next week, I’m planning to find Mr. Solomon and see if he will resume my Swahili lessons from last year in spite of my bad interim performance. He is the English teacher I worked for last year, and he also teaches Swahili. He’s a great teacher and I learned really well from him, so I’m hoping he’s still available and looking for extra work. Then I’ll have something fun to keep me busier and I’ll be able to start talking with people more. So far, as I search for words to use, I’m getting about one-tenth Swahili and nine-tenths Spanish. Guess I shouldn’t have spent Christmas in Mexico!


  1. Give yourself some time to adjust and find a schedule and activities that work for you. It will happen!

  2. wonderful blog! i love your perspective and fankness. your photos, just a w e s o m e

  3. You ability to learn a new language is made more difficult by the processing of the new language in a separate area of the Broca's region of the brain, where motor movement of the mouth originates. Consequently, it is easier to understand the new language than it is to activate your mouth muscles to form new words. Gestures, acting out, and speaking more than listening, while learning a new language helps exercise the Broca's and Wernicke's areas (language comprehension) and aid in learning a foreign language. Glad you hear your are having such a wonderful time with Kaen. Take care and be careful. Janie.

  4. Hey Barbara! Your writing paints such a wonderful picture of your experiences. Thanks for sharing. --Megan