Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Seven Month Watsoversary

I hope you'll all forgive me for posting this a day late, and for the funky formatting. (I will remind you that I am in Zambia, and technological differences are one of many things I have yet to figure out).
I'm writing this from outside a hostel in Lusaka. The last two days have been somewhat of a roller coaster, and I'm still too tired from my flights to really process a lot, at least without getting overly emotional.
I flew from Istanbul to Frankfurt to Johannesburg to Lusaka. On my first flight I was surrounded by the Azerbajan Goalball team and a group of Italian senior citizens going sightseeing. On the plane to Johannesburg I sat next to a German woman who had heard of the Watson Fellowship because she had mentored some Bryn Mawr students in Costa Rica who were thinking of applying. I've said it and I will say it again (and again), it is a small world, my friends.
Zambia is beautiful. The bright blue sky somehow feels closer to the ground, and the inescapable dust and mud that covers everything at this time of year gives off a reddish tint. It's the end of the rainy season here and everything is green. Sean, who is one of the owners of the hostel I'm staying at, picked me up at the airport and asked if I'd ever been to Africa before. When I told him I'd been to Morocco, he told me that didn't count. 'TIA,' he told me, 'this is Africa.'
Unfortunately, due to a large and very unfortunate miscommunication, the hostel did not give me the long term accomodation I requested here. (Serves me right after I tried to far to get something worked out before arriving). Upon hearing that as of March 2nd, I'd be homeless, I was thrown into a sleep deprvied panic--one that has not quite ceased.
Starting on March 13th, I can be back at the hostel (though moving from the long term accomodation room to dorm rooms to private rooms) but I need to figure out my first two weeks. I'm trying to be as calm as possible as I wrack my brain for all possible options (yet again). I'm thinking of going to see Victoria Falls (and soon) even though originally I had planned on going at the end of my trip, after I settle into Lusaka and do some research.
Many e-mails later (when I can find internet, of course), I'm making some progress and I know something will come up. This is all to say that this Watsoversary finds me in a funny and quite unsettled place. It's been a big month. I began it in my second cousin's Copenhagen apartment, moved onto film festival tickets and too much espresso in Berlin, to a birthday celebration with my sister in Istanbul, and then to this morning, which started with the sound of chickens and a cold water bucket shower.
These transitions are hard, and there were definitely times in the last month whereI felt a little burnt out. I was worrying about this before I got to Zambia--am I just too tired at this point in the year for this? But then we landed, and I saw a huge sign saying 'Welcome to Zambia' and I looked around and couldn't help but smile.
The excitement IS still there. Despite the number of times I have done this now, it never ceases to amaze me when I think about the fact that it is possible to get on a plane, sit in that small space, and then come alive again in some place that is so entirely differnet from the one I just left. It amazes me that these places are always there, existing all at the same time, only a plane trip away.
Though I am in far from an ideal position, housing in Zambia for the next couple of weeks WILL work out, somehow. Seven months have taught me that.
In the past month I have:
-Caught a glimpse of the Danish crowned prince.
-Met my Danish relatives for the first time (including the amazingly talented up and coming Danish pop singer and my second cousin, Kamilia Amelie).
-Went to a restaurant that has my surname as its name.
-Nerded out on Hamlet at Elsinore castle.
-Seen my grandfather's grave.
-Eaten my first Danish smorrebrod.
-Watched a changing of the guards.
-Waited in lines at the Berlinale film festival and saw the world premiere of two diferent movies.
-Walked down a red carpet.
-Got really stressed out and cried in a few Berlin starbucks. Got over it.
-Took an acting masterclass with Andie MacDowell.
-Written my 100th blog post.
-Eaten currywurst for the first time.
-Visited more museums than I probably had in all the months of this year leading up to it.
-Watched a show at Brecht's Berliner Ensemble Theater.
-Had the near experience of having my wallet stolen at a church in Berlin. (This was the closest I've come this year to having anything taken from me...oh, the irony....)
-Attended several parent/child classes in Berlin. Talked to a lot of moms about names and a few Berlin professors. Got really excited by my research.
-Broke my camera, bought a new one and felt really guilty.
-Stopped feeling guilty.
-Mastered the Berlin public transportation system.
-Watched the entire first season of Downton Abbey. (Officially addicted).
-Turned twenty-three and felt so much love coming at me, transcontinentally.
-Seen the Hagia Sofia & the Blue Mosque.
-Eaten the best meal(s) of my life at Ciya restaurant in Istanbul, Turkey.
-Took a cruise on the Bosphorus strait.
-Drank my first ever fresh squeezed pomegranate juice (I'm never going back).
-Climbed to an old castle in ruins.
-Been to Asia, Europe and Africa in a time span of less than 24 hours.
-Been in touch with several readers of this blog worldwide who had previously been strangers. It is thrilling to get your comments, have your support, and to find a community through writing.
-Set foot on three new countries: Turkey, South Africa & Zambia.
(Normally you'd see my photo here. Just scroll up, let's pretend together).

1 comment:

  1. Congratsoversary! Hope housing comes together for you soon. In the meantime, there's nothing like a cold bucket shower to help you seize the day.
    Lots of love on this February day that actually makes your Watson year a tiny bit longer than it might otherwise have been.