Homesick

So I have to admit: Since coming to Uganda I have felt homesick.

Can I indulge in some things I am missing?

~Libraries.

I know I have a Kindle, but I miss exploring the shelves and flipping through books and smelling the pages and seeing the typefaces. I miss library computers where I can look up any book I’ve been interested in and read it, for free.

There’s a bookstore in the mall next door and I settled into one of their cozy armchairs with some books and spent a comfortable hour reading about Rwandan and African problems. Surrounding me were other Africans sitting in their respective cozy armchairs, reading as well. However, when I left, a store employee said: “What did you buy?” Me: “Nothing this time.” Employee: “I saw you reading over there, and you didn’t buy anything? That’s bad. You should buy at least one.” I felt discriminated against as the only white (therefore, wealthy) person. Maybe all the other Africans bought a book, I don’t know. I haven’t gone back to that bookstore.

~Shopping with girlfriends.

I’ve complained about shopping in the past, but it’s not shopping that I don’t like—not really. It’s shopping alone that is boring and a nuisance.

~Good internet.

Without good internet, it’s difficult to communicate with friends and family—Skype goes too slow. Furthermore working becomes a chore when every 5 minutes the internet goes out.

~U.S. holidays.

We’ve been traveling for nearly 2.5 years now, and we have missed a lot of holidays and celebrations. I’d love to decorate Easter eggs, or make an Irish dinner for St Patrick’s day, but our situation makes those things difficult.

~Cooking.

I would really love to cook for Jacob. He would really love it, too.

~LDS Church, American-style.

Church is different in Africa. The speaking style is very straight-laced and rote for the most part. Interesting anecdotes or critical thinking discussions are absent. Instead, questions are asked like, “How should we fast?” and then people answer it for 30 minutes in very typical ways. Then the next question is “In what ways should we fast?” and the answers are exactly the same, and it seems to go over the teacher’s head that it was the exact same question just phrased in a different way. Sometimes the discussions are so weird. For example, in Ghana we spent an entire 3rd hour talking about blood. “What is blood?” “Why do we need blood?”

~Salads, cheese, Mexican food, and no worries about Delhi belly.

Anyone who’s lived abroad for an extended amount of time knows that food can be a real heartbreaker. America is the best food destination in the world, Jacob and I agree. (Italy comes in a close second). African cuisine isn’t varied or creative or even tasty on the whole, although there are options for other cuisine—usually Indian. I’ve had food poisoning in 5 places over the last 2.5 years: Turkey, Morocco, USA, Thailand, and Uganda.

~Clothes

With poor planning on my part, almost all the clothes I packed were pink. Then, the day I said to myself, “I am tired of wearing pink!” I washed an Indian skirt which was pink and new and it dyed Jacob’s clothes pink too! I had to laugh. We are still washing pink dye out of our clothes. I’m ready for some new colors.

~Convenient transportation

It’s difficult to get around here. The traffic is bad, the drivers reckless and boda bodas are the easiest way to get around but I refuse to use them because they are dangerous. They’re motorcycles with bad track records and no helmets. To cross the street is an act of daring with no crosswalks and endless streams of cars.

~Distance from loved ones

I’m missing a lot of milestones in friends and family members’ lives.

 

This is our choice to be here though.  Africa is a difficult place to live—that’s one reason we’re here, to see how a large majority of people live and maybe get some insight and empathy into the Dark Continent. The other reason is because Jacob is training athletes here and actually he has been offered to play on the professional Division I team so this is an exciting opportunity. He doesn’t know if he’s interested, but –Jacob just showed up in a foreign country and got offered a professional basketball position! That is pretty dang incredible. So please excuse my homesickness, I don’t think it will last long and we are definitely grateful for the experience thus far.

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Uganda has the wackiest birds I’ve ever seen and they live just outside our window.

Kalli Hiller

Article by Kalli Hiller

Kalli Hiller is a voluntary vagabond who, with her husband Jacob, has traveled full time for the last eight years.

Kalli has written 366 awesome articles for us.

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