Saturday, February 21, 2009

My New Normal

As I live here in Niger, I have found myself adapting to my environment more and more each day. Things that I once considered different and exciting, are now a daily occurrence and just "normal". However, they're things that are very different from what I was previously used to and believe my new normal would now be considered as different or maybe even "weird" to all of my friends and family back home. So I have decided to share a list with you all of things that I experience on a daily basis. I hope you enjoy it :)

-Sharing the road with donkeys and camels
-Dodging goats on the road
-Driving on very bumpy dirt roads to get to a friend's house
-Greeting everyone I see with "Bonjour" or "Bonsoir" and a smile :)
-Not being able to buy produce at a store, but at a stand
-Having to wash my produce with bleach water before eating any of it
-Only drinking water that comes from a filter
-Brushing my teeth with filtered water
-Pushing a button on top of the toilet to flush
-Manually igniting my gas stove and oven with a stick match
-Limited access to regular TV (no complaints)
-Watching movies on my laptop with earphones
-Making calls home through my laptop
-Refrigerate fruit so that they don't ripe too quickly
-Go to a bakery to get FRESH croissants and baggets :)
-Icecream costs $9.00 per quart!!
-It is 100 degrees F in February and I don't need to use an air conditioner
-My feet are caked with sand and sweat by the end of the day and feel so refreshed after being washed
-Houses are surrounded by walls and have guards in front of the gate
-Livestock "grazing" in trash dumps
-Lizards everywhere!!
-No baggies with zips, they must be tied off
-Items at grocery store are mostly in foreign languages
-People carrying rolled up rugs and buckets of doughnuts and other items on their heads
-Guys selling phone cards at stop lights
-If I want yogurt, I make it myself
-I hang my clothes out to dry, and then they dry in like 30 minutes
-On a roundabout, the cars/bikes/motorcycles coming in have the right away
-You don't pulled over for speeding, but for not using your blinker
-Taxis are everywhere and drive slow and are unpredictable so I often pass them up
-It's okay to dance in church
-Church services are performed in at least 2 different languages
-It's okay to cross lines on a major road to pass someone up
-Dust so think in the air that you can look at the sun without hurting your eyes
-Call to worship and drive by groups of men kneeling to pray (actually not a norm, still hard to see)
-Plugs have two round prongs and the outlets are circlular
-Mosquito repellant is my new perfume
-Pay as you go cell phones
-Mango juice is my new favorite drink :)
-Sodas are in glass bottles with caps, after I finish I save the bottle to return
-Tailors are readily available to make outfits, out of material bought at a market, into any pattern I like
-During the day I open my door to a melody of different birds singing

There are many more, but I think this is all I will share for now. I hope you have enjoyed a taste of my new life here in Niamey:)


NIGER1.COM said...


LBC said...

Oh Lori! I had many of those very same "normals" when I was in Uganda! Reading your list makes me a little "homesick" for them! I think of you often, friend. Love ya!

imacjames said...

It's amazing to see how many of these are normal in SE Asia as well. We have about 75% overlap.