6 February 2013

A Surreal Mid-Winter Week

As previously mentioned, I made a quick, unexpected trip to the States last week. It felt funny and extremely surreal and so I thought I would reflect on what it's like to be be plopped down in the US during a random, mid-winter week. Some highlights:

#1 Michael Bolton.

For some reason Michael Bolton is getting a lot of press lately. Every time I turned on the television there he was talking about the trauma of cutting his hair or the trauma of being mocked, but mostly just talking about his new book. (Which was released yesterday, The Soul of it All: My Music My Life...you're welcome Michael Bolton.) Actually I have a bit of a soft spot for MB. A neighbor of mine in Ghana woke up to Said I Love You But I Lied a la Groundhog Day every morning for 4 months. A very nuanced song, indeed.

Image from here.

 #2 The weather.

It never ceases to amaze me the level of interest Americans have in the weather. In Congo sometimes I'll say, "Looks like it might rain today." And the response is usually, "There's no way it's going to rain today, white girl." And that's the end of the conversation.

In the United States, 9 out of 10 people can tell you the expected highs and lows on any given day. This is a great go-to conversation item. Especially because last week in Virginia the temperatures were crazy cold, then in the upper 60s for two days, then it rained 4 inches, then it got crazy cold again. See how that works? I have just made fascinating weather conversation. 

#3 Super Bugs.

Everyone is either sick or deathly afraid of becoming sick. I am now well-versed in how long MRSA vs. the Norovirus can survive on surfaces. Our only defense is bathing in bleach. Please get me back to my comfort zone of malaria and meningitis -- bugs that have yet to morph into "super" status. Ani and I both returned with a cold, which is evidence enough for the Mamas that no human should ever, ever be exposed to cold weather. A suspicion I'm happy to confirm.

#4 Super Bowl.

Silly me thought I might miss the Super Bowl because I would be landing back in Congo right around kickoff time. Not so. Did you know advertising companies have become so smart that commercials are released prior to the Super Bowl and shown on "news" shows so we can debate whether they're controversial or not? That is some truly genius marketing.

Image from here.

#5 Argo.

I went to see Argo at the local college movie theater where I was most certainly the oldest person there by at least 10 years. Everyone was dead silent and awestruck the entire movie. I think it's because they've never seen TVs with knobs or beanbag ashtrays. My 1990s born sister says it's the best movie she's ever seen (but admittedly has only seen 8 non-romantic comedies) and begged me mid-movie to tell her how the Iranian Hostage Crisis turned out.

Image from here.
Image from here.

 #6, #7 and #8 Three Perks.

I learned to tie a scarf like this:

Image from here.
(A skill I hope I never need to use again.)

I became surprisingly sentimental over my baby's teeth chattering for the first time. Her misery = my milestone.

And I went to Target 3 times in one day. That was my sign to remove myself from the country. God Bless America. And Target.

Image from here.

P.S. I can now highly recommend the Cave Hill Farm Bed and Breakfast. The innkeepers are especially good at flipping the breaker switch when a fuse blows in your room...which may or may not be the result of plugging in too many heating devices.


  1. For the record, I knew how the Iranian Hostage Crisis ended. It's just that the movie was so fantastic and emotionally draining, I really could've seen it going either way and I just needed to be reassured. Did I mention it was a remarkable movie?

  2. I think it's funny Sarah called out weather commentary in this post. How do you think her response to my email ended last week? With a quip about the weather of course. :)

    In my incredibly scientific follow-up study, I sent her a link this week. Seeing as she is now back in Kinshasa, today's email response was weather-free.

  3. Yes, a very scientific case study indeed. It's true, I forgot to mention our Kinshasa weather. For the record, today's weather in Kin felt like that feeling you get when you've been in a hot tub too long. I'll still take that over frozen nose hairs any day.

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