As of last week I have been in Malawi for a year. It's crazy how much has happened to me in such a short time. To celebrate, I had dinner with a group of PCVs at a fancy restaurant in Blantyre. I forgot to take photos, but let me just say three words-- "garlic cheese loaf." It was a really fun night, and I felt really lucky to be here and have this incredible experience.
So now it is time to celebrate on the blog. In sixth grade we had a writing assignment that went "I used to _______, but now I _______". It was supposed to be a way to reflect on how much we had changed during elementary school. So I am going to borrow that idea to describe some of the changes that have happened to me this past year.
I used to speak English and a little Spanish, but now I speak English, Malawian English, and a little Chichewa. (My Spanish has mostly been displaced by my new language. Pobrecita).
I used to drink tap water, but now I only drink water that has been treated by filtering, boiling or adding WaterGuard.
I used to wash my hair everyday, but now I wash it once or twice a week.
I used to be a vegetarian, but now I eat meat when I feel it is safe and has been properly cooked (usually only in a city restaurant or cooked by a PCV. Or when I get it in a care package. Beef jerky is like my new favorite food.)
I used to wake up to an alarm clock, but now I wake up to the crowing of roosters (and sometimes the mooing of cows).
I used to think powdered milk was gross, but now it is like sweet nectar when I put it in my coffee and cereal and hot cocoa.
I used to wear jeans everyday, but now I wear skirts and chitenjes, and only wear my jeans in the city. I still love them though.
I used to use a shower, a sink, a washing machine and a flush toilet, but now I use buckets for washing stuff and my toilet is a pit latrine (aka the chim).
I used to be blissfully unaware that cockroaches shed their exoskeletons at several points in their lifetimes, but now I have seen direct evidence of this in the chim. And I have the photos to prove it.
I used to mostly recycle my trash, but now I burn it. I still compost my food waste though.
I used to drive a car, but now I walk or ride mini-buses or bike-taxis to get around.
I used to think it would be cool to move to another country someday, but now I want to live in America forever and just visit other countries.
I used to think I had the best family and friends in the world, but now I *know* I do. I love you guys! Thanks so much for all the letters and packages and emails and phone calls. It means a lot.