I try not to bitch too much in my blog posts. No one wants to read constant complaining. There are quite a few things that bother me, big and small. Here they are all in one go.
Children. I hate children most of the time. They scream at me, they bang on my door, overall they are the scourge of the earth. I made the mistake of giving some kids chocolate one day. I specifically told them not to tell other kids. Sons of bitches told other kids and now I am barraged with kids asking me for chocolate. I don’t know how to handle kids. They shout my name, I say hi and try to move on with my life. They continue to shout John at the top of their lungs. I still haven’t found a solution in response. Kids like to grab and hold my hand. That may sound cute but 5 year old hands are f—– gross.
My kindle being taken out of my hands. I try to read in public frequently. My hope is setting an example for people in the community. People are used to my kindle now, it blew minds the first month or two. Because there isn’t a culture of reading there is no etiquette. I can’t count the number of times someone has taken my kindle out of my hands or just touched the screen to turn the page. That infuriates me. It’s all internal rage, I know their intentions aren’t bad. But they just took me out of my zone and I like being in my zone.
Mocking me. I have very unique ticks in comparison to the average Ethiopian. They range from saying thank you when someone serves me coffee to a falsetto shriek when I make a mistake playing volleyball. These ticks are inevitably mocked. Now mocking doesn’t have the same antagonism overtones as in America. But nonetheless that’s my intial reaction when I hear my ticks being mocked. Often times it’s even affectionate. For example, there in one kid Sheiki who is about 18 who plays volleyball with me. When he makes a mistake he now shouts dhifama, sorry, as I do. He will even say Johnny, dhifama. He isn’t trying to poke fun at me but that’s how I intially percieve it. I have to go through a half second filter to sift my reaction.
Explaining things. I have many unique, odd or peculiar possessions to the average Ethiopian. A kindle, a grammar book on Afan Oromo, beef jerky and most of all Nesquick. I don’t mind explaining what each item is, what the purpose is etc. My frustration comes from explaining it to the 14th different person. Take Nesquick for example. One of my mom’s wonderful friends, Ms. Kelly if I recall correctly, included Nesquick in a care package. At the buna bent they have hot milk most of the time. Hot chocolate is a delightful beverage. I have Nesquick. I take Nesquick to the buna bent to make hot chocolate (rue is also a popular addition to coffee and adding it to hot chocolate is to die for, you’re welcome). Nesquick is absurdly foreign. There isn’t chocolate within hours of me let alone Nesquick. The first time I brought it I struggled, well, failed to explain what it was. I let people try it but it’s more a conversation piece. After a week and explaining it to 10 different people I got frustrated and just deferred to Jihad who runs the buna bent. In hindsight I always regret my outward shortness too. That 14th person who is curious has never seen Nesquick before, what the f— is that powder in the giant yellow container.