Returning home had its own fill of surprises. I got not one, not two, but THREE care packages! Two from my mom and one from my Aunty Christy and Uncle Pat. I originally told people not to bother with care packages, but they are really the most awesome thing to get!
My bounty included: 3 boxes Annie’s cheddar bunnies, 3 boxes Annie’s mac&cheese, a box of Annie’s GF mac&cheese, Trader Joe’s monkey business trail mix, 12 of my favorite cliff bars, 1 box of cranberry Emergen-C, a bag of m&ms, some Xmas candy and a Hanukkah cookie, 2 bags of coffee, doggie cookies and bones, a French press, boxer shorts, flashlight, 3 amazing Indian cookbooks, a book about cooking, some toiletries, beautiful inspirational painted stones and a wind chime, a dog leash/collar, flea collar and herbal salve for the puppy, roobios red tea, good quality sunscreen, Altoids, workout shirt, 2014 calendar, measuring cups and spoons, scented candles, and a pillowcase!
Whew! I can feel the love, thank you for all the special gifts and treats. I’m trying really hard to not eat through all the goodies and ration them for a few months. All the cheese involved makes this really hard. Cheddar cheese is literally precious gold here, for me anyway. So thank you, thank you, thank you for the amazing gifts!!
The last week of the month I went back to the city, the little one, and spent some time with volunteers from my group for fun and business, again!
A little back story: I live in the HOT area of the equator. Extremely hot. We have gotten lucky that our dry, hot season has been mild and cool. This changed drastically in the last week! It has been in the high 90sF and is damn hot. And there is nothing you can do to cool down other than take a cold bath.
So.. I spent a much-needed day of R&R at the pool, cooling off. I enjoyed a yummy garlic salami pizza with a cold beer and soaked in the sun and cooled off in the water. At the end of the day I was SEVERELY sun burned. Even though I diligently applied sunscreen and stayed under an umbrella, my delicate pasty skin is no match for the equatorial sun rays!! Was it worth agonizing pain and blisters? Yes. Now can someone build a pool in my yard?
The next day I attended an event with other PCVs for No Sex for Fish. It was a spectacle. My APCD and Country Director were in attendance with the Deputy Ambassador, a Deputy Governor and the Governor of the area. I represented my organization with a little booth, selling our honey. It was a success, selling 16 of 22 jars I brought. This time I came prepared, or so I thought. I had my hat, sunglasses, sunscreen and was well covered up with my light polo and long skirt. I was wrong. I was sitting in direct sun all day and it was sweltering! At the end of the day my sunburns intensified…under my shirt. Apparently my light, white polo was no match for the equatorial sun and my minor sunburn became a second degree burn, which hurts like hell. It was a good event, but after two straight days in direct sunlight I clearly suffered from too much sun exposure and minor heat stroke or sun poisoning or both.
My last day in the city was spent happily indoors. I enjoyed a nice Indian meal and stayed mostly out of direct sunlight. The matatu ride home was disastrous, long, and hot. Things escalated once I was home. I splurged and bought a fan, but distraught to discover no power when I got home, and my house was radiating heat. I had limited water reserves, and no food. One of the worst moments in my service. No food, little water, unnaturally hot, major sunburned, dehydrated and sun sick, no power, and all my electronics were dead. I would have been more content if the entire situation was based on it being cold. I hate the heat. Ecstatic to have a fan now. It makes all the difference between a good nights sleep and an uncomfortable sleepless night.