Little things I like

Last week I complained too much. As a ‘munu’ (whitie? foreigner? I’m not quite sure of the precise translation) afloat in a foreign culture, it’s all too easy to be irritated, to judge, or to miss home.

But today, I’m reminding myself of the beauty and quirkiness of Lacor Center, Gulu Town. Actually, there are lots of little things I love about being here. There are lots of ‘bigger’ things too, but today I’ll stick to eight little that have become normal. So, in no particular order:

  1. It can probably be fixed. In New Zealand if my shoes broke it would cost more to take them to the cobbler (see! even cobbler is a weird word to us) than to get another pair from the op shop. Here there are shoe fixers galore who can work a long lasting miracle with their leather punchers and strong waxy twine. Same goes for phones, charcoal clothes, stoves, lights, you name it. Last year I bought a pair of second hand Birkenstocks for 4000 shillings (2 NZ dollars). After a year of wear the soles gave out. So I got them re-soled with pieces cut from old car tires:cropped shoe
  2. Tea has to have an ‘escort.’ Escort as in small tasty snack (roasted peanuts, chapatti, fried anything, bread bun etc), not an expensive rent-a-lady. Tea is never alone. This rule is rigorously followed.
  3. No fences. The Israeli-Palestine wall, the Berlin wall…walls are stupid aren’t they? But my neighborhood is a fence free environment. You can wander through anyone’s home, and they will probably invite you in for food.
  4. No lonely mums. On a related note, lack of fence barriers and close interaction between neighbors leads to mothers hanging out together and often sharing childcare between them! It makes so much sense.
  5. Even I can be funny. In my experience, Acholi people are always ready to laugh. There is a ‘low threshold’ for laughter. This is good news for people like me. In a public setting, coming up with an unexpected retort/response is a guaranteed way to generate laughter. For instance ‘you give me your bicycle’ can be replied with ‘Ok, I’ll exchange it for your motorbike.’ Or ‘you adopt my baby and take it to your country’ can be responded by picking up the baby and walking around the corner…It’s a formula I can work with!
  6. No fear of singing, no shame in dancing. Lets be honest, many New Zealanders have some sort of anxiety complex when it comes to dancing and singing. We no longer have a culture of singing together. But here people sing without shame (in tune or not) and I love it. Isaac, this is what you get for leaving photos of yourself on our camera:

Isaac singing7.  Mangos are the new apples. In the peak of mango season, schools hold mango eating competitions because there are so many excess mangos about. Mangos are as abundant as apples…and in my opinion, mangos beat apples.

8.  Sir Edmond. In NZ, Nick is allergic to most cats. But here he is not! And so we enjoy the affectionate company of Sir Edmond. Every night he climbs up our mosquito net and sleeps all night directly above us… here is the view from below:DSC01768

And the view from above:DSC01778

When Nick bumps him in the night if he gets up, Edmond purrs.

What do you like about where you live?

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8 Responses to Little things I like

  1. thaliakr says:

    Love this! Thanks!

  2. Jacqueline Watts says:

    I miss mangoes! And I love your gorgeous kitty cat. These comments bring back so many memories of my growing up years in South Africa.

    • ntlaing says:

      Thanks Jacqui 🙂 I think our kitty is pretty gorgeous too. I haven’t heard many stories from your young South Africa years, I’d love to hear some when we are back!

  3. Jean Catherine Hollis says:

    Thank you for your thought – provoking blog, Tessa. It made me stop and think about the things I appreciate about Christchurch. At the top of my list was being able to easily get to our family, hospitals, tourist attractions etc. compared to Auckland and London. Nice tasting, clean water is another bonus. Blessings,
    Jean

  4. Lesley Smith says:

    Brilliant!… good to recognise all those positives when sometimes we get overwhelmed by the things we find difficult or are frustrated by… well done Tess ☺

    Lesley Smith
    Personnel Director

    NEW ZEALAND CHURCH MISSIONARY SOCIETY
    78 Peterborough Street, PO Box 25098, Christchurch 8144, New Zealand
    Ph +64 3 377 2222 Ext 31, Fax +64 3 377 1111
    skype: lesley.living.life
    http://www.nzcms.org.nz

  5. Rosemary Fraser says:

    I enjoyed your blog and our update at Saint A’s on Sun. As I am not very computer savvy I had to ask my son how to access a blog. At least you guys are warm, it has been freezing in ChCh but God is at work.

    • ntlaing says:

      Thanks so much Rosemary, that’s really encouraging. Good on you for making that extra effort to read the blog and connect with us. Tessa especially is scared of the cold coming home. When the temperature gets down to 20 degrees celcius here she puts a big Jersey on 🙂

  6. Les Brighton says:

    Thank you for sharing your lives. Grace and peace in all things, large and small.
    Les

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