So I know for blogs, you’re mostly supposed to talk about how many fun and wonderful things you’re doing! But the truth is with traveling comes some hardships – some are petty, some may make or break your experience (or at least you feel they will).
Before I recount my day, I have to say that the title is a bit misleading. Today, like most of my “bad days,” wasn’t entirely bad. It started off wonderfully actually. I slept really well, we had crêpes for breakfast – in addition to the usual bread staple, and there was cheese for the bread (as opposed to yesterday when there wasn’t – it’s the little things that count sometimes). All in all, a generally wonderful start to my day.
Since I don’t actually have many bad days, I’ll label a day bad if something happened in it that caused be sad for an extended period of time or I receive news that makes me cry (sad tears, not the happy ones). Most of my bad days occur by accumulating little sad things that eventually make me cry – like today.
I continued my day with survival Wolof as part of the CIEE orientation. It was good for those who knew no Wolof, but after 2 and a half months of Wolof, it was a bit of a snore fest for me. The only reason I didn’t skip this session was because I have a lot of anxiety about skipping things I’m supposed to be present for – which makes me a good student, but also tremendously wastes my time sometimes.
The day started going downhill when the results for the French test were posted. I didn’t quite place into the level I wanted, but I had mentally prepared myself for this so I wasn’t devastated but I was a bit sad. So I placed into Intermediate 2 (instead of Advanced 1) which means I can only take one elective class in French and that class can be an internship (as opposed to Int. 1 in which your French class can’t be an internship or Adv. 1 where you can take all your classes in French). Long story short, I really want to do the internship, but I also want to take a class called Crisis Management and International Law in Africa – but it’s in French. So new dilemma – I can’t take the classes I want. Specifically, I can’t take an International Law class that I’ve wanted for a while, which also means I most likely won’t be able to complete a French minor. I shyly asked if they would mind terribly, but it was a no. Now I was a bit devastated – I hadn’t mentally prepared myself for not being able to take the Law class. After I asked, I got that lump in your throat that you get before you start crying, but I swallowed it and relooked at the English elective options. They’re not so bad do I’m trying to stay positive about that. We’ll see what ends up happening. After that, I met with the housing director to find out who my new host family was. (I’ve moved out of the host family that Baobab gave me because I don’t want to bend the CIEE program too much). He explained my family dynamics to me and based on what I thought I wrote in my application, it wasn’t quite what I was hoping for. But as I was about to leave his office, it dawned on me that this was the same family that a friend of mine had stayed at house on this same program. She had a great time in the country – but perhaps not the most ideal homestay. That made me a bit sadder.
Fast forward to the hotel we’ve been staying at for the past 4 days for the orientation where everyone is being picked up by their host families. The housing director calls me over and tells me my host mom can’t pick me up, so I’m going home with a neighboring host fmaily. I get sadder, many questions run through my head: I don’t get to meet them right now? They don’t want to come get me? Will all our bags fit in one car? And sure enough – the bags didn’t fit. We had to put one of my bags in another neighbor’s car – granted, I’m not the lightest packer, but still.
Anyway, we get to the house. Ring the doorbell. Ring it again. Then again. The other host mom calls someone on her cellphone then knocks on the door. We wait some more. Finally someone opens the door – it’s a lady, a woman – I can’t quite place her age. Older than 25, younger than 35. She’s accompanied by a girl that can’t be older than 5 – perhaps 3. We take my things in. My other bag arrives a little later. And the host mom soon after. She shows me around just a little bit, shows me my room, makes small talk about where I’m from and then leaves me to unpack my bag. It’s a nice room and I have my own bathroom. But mostly I have a lump in my throat that I’m trying to hold back. I want to lay down for a bit. I look at the ceiling to see if I should turn on the fan before resting my head. There is no fan. For some reason, it’s that little detail that puts me over and I fall to my bed sobbing!
And now, I’ve cried it out. I know that it’s not because of my host family in particular that I am crying – it’s just been a long day – a long 2 and a half weeks. I want to make the most of this and I think everything happens for a reason. So perhaps I’ll really enjoy the quite that’s in this house and those classes that are taught in English won’t be so bad – I’ll understand them more anyways! After my cry, I wrote up this blog then posted it a day late because my house has no wi-fi. But it made me feel better knowing that I could vent for a bit via words and the interwebs. But now, I’ll close my computer, unpack and try to bond with my new family.