I chose this title because there are a lot of concessions I’ve made over here. I’ve given up a lot of things and I’ve been able to replace with other things. Not having air conditioning means I get a fan. I don’t have a ZipCar but I do have a bike. Simple things. But, there are some things that I miss more than I miss running water. Please, don’t be offended if you’re not on this list. It’s obvious that I miss my family and my friends. I miss holidays. I miss celebrations. Duh. This is some of the other stuff.
1. Brunch. I’m sorry Mom. I’m sorry Internet. I miss brunch more than I miss flushing toilets, the metro, and sexting. I miss delicious Bloody Marys, crab cakes benedict, fried chicken with sweet onion gravy, scrambled eggs and thickly cut bacon. I miss endless mimosas. I miss jarring to life at some time on Saturday or Sunday morning/afternoons texting my besties, putting some clothes on, and stumbling to one of my fav. brunch spots. I miss the Logan Circle Leisure Sports Association.
2. My BlackBerry. A few years ago I ditched my iPhone/it fell in a pool. I decided to get a Blackberry. The feeling of the leather on my fingers as I updated my Facebook status was incomparable. I long to see that little red dot blinking at me just to get my attention. I miss my Google calendar that auto sync’d with my Blackberry Calendar. I miss BBM. Because I couldn’t take it any longer, I asked my mother to send my Blackberry Bold to me. The cell service here isn’t too bad. And, they advertise this phone as new, which it is not, on the billboards in Cotonou. I hope this implies MTN supports all of my required services. (Update-given the less than stellar electrical system in this country and its questionable presence, i decided to stick with my w810i—it has a flashlight, infinitely useful, long battery life, the Bold comparably does not, and will more than likely die right as i’m leaving—instead of switching to my Bold. Maybe if the Guyana thing works.)
3. The Internet. I don’t actually think I can explain how much the Internet was a part of my life before my service; therefore, I am equally incapable of describing how much I miss it.
4. Whole Foods. Monday night was my grocery shopping night. I would get back from working out and change out my bags and rush off to the Whole Foods a few blocks away between 14th and 15th on P. I would put my newly downloaded podcast about media on my iPod and shop away with the best looking shopping crowd in DC. This Whole Foods is in a particularly good looking part of the city. So, not only is the food nice to look at but the people are too. I got to pick out what delicious salads I would make for the week while learning about “the dismal state of health reporting on America’s morning news programs,” or about video games for the differently-abled. This shopping ritual made Mondays not so bad.
5. Drink Specials/Dance Parties/Night Clubs. $2 Skyy drinks. Philadelphia special: PBR and a shot of whisky. Two for One Top Shelf. Bliss. Shift. Black Cat. Town. Pants off Dance off. Hipsters. Awkward Dancing. Great hair cuts. Smart/Weird People. Those who understand this understand what I am going through. Those who do not, sadly, do not.
6. Mexican Restaurants/Chips and Salsa. Nuff Said.
7. The Metro. I lived two blocks from the Metro in DC. It was my main mode of transportation in and around the city. I was on the Yellow/Green line. This meant I could get to work in 15 minutes if train showed up right as I got there. Which happened. The Metro was romantic. It could take me all throughout the city, it was paid for, and there were other people to look at. Which could and did range from college students, to White House staff, to cooks at the Hilton. It’s clean and efficient. And, at times it’s funny. So far, it’s been my favorite regular means of transportation. And, you can go out with your friends and have as much fun as you want and have a safe way to get home.
8. Holiday Seasons. Jingle bells! Bat Man smells! Robin laid an egg. I love getting all dressed up for holidays. I miss dressing for International Talk Like A Pirate Day. It’s not everyday you get to wear a paper parrot on your shoulder during a staff meeting. I also miss getting together with family. I miss buying gifts for people. I miss eating too much. I miss falling asleep while watching “A Christmas Story.” I miss putting up stockings at work. I loved it when Mama D, my boss, invited us all over to make cookies! I miss Labor Day/Memorial Day weekends and the Fourth of July. I miss cookouts and Sam Adams. We definitely fete over here in Benin, but it’s just not like what I partied to in the States.
9. Racquetball. I’ve played sports my entire life. I like being in a league and the weekly competition. I picked up racquet sports in college and have been hooked ever since. I miss having my Thursday evening/Saturday morning racquetball matches against guys from all over the political/profession/age spectrum. I was playing in a league, so every match counted. I surely didn’t win all the time. But, I definitely didn’t lose all the time, either. And, I like the way racquetball makes my butt look. I miss having a regular outlet for the all-sport inside.
10. TiVo. Ok, it’s not just TiVo. I miss television, as well. I miss watching Big Bang Theory and then How I Met Your Mother on Mondays. Then, sometimes I would have to TiVo Dexter because of a date. Or that if I wanted to watch a movie I had ten movie channels and pay-per-view. Cash Cab. Mythbusters. Dirty Jobs. And, I could rewind and pause it at leisure. Granted, I’m watching a lot of television shows over here on my laptop, I want to be able to channel surf while eating some Chinese takeout. Guilty.
This list has been brewing in the back of my mind for a few months now. While all the PCVs are together for a meeting or haphazardly in the same workstation on transit, we/I like to talk about what’s happening in the States and what parts of my life I miss. You learn a lot about someone by the things that they miss.
And, as always, know that I miss you all terribly, especially my mother.