Dimanche le 6 fevrier
For French class today we learned “market vocab” and then went and visited one!
On Thursdays we have ‘student evening’ and can stay at school until 8:00, hanging out or doing homework. Usually the school closes at 4:30 and our curfew is 6:30, so that was nice. Two other girls and I used part of that time to go visit Catholic Relief Services—we walk by a sign for it nearly every day, so we decided to go check it out and see what programs they’re running here in Cameroon—cool!
After lunch we had a dance class at school! It was AWESOME. Obviously none of us know anything about African dancing, so we had a good time laughing at ourselves and working up a sweat. The teacher brought in was really good, and she was accompanied by a drummer who taught us a bit on the drums after our dance class was over.
When I got home I found Recess on tv in French, which pretty much made my day.
We met at school at 7:45 am to take a field trip outside of Yaounde to visit a school of fine arts and a primate sanctuary! We stopped at a big boulangerie I’d never been to first, grabbing breakfast/lunch. I’m obsessed with the fact that pastries here cost half of what they do in France. Chocolate éclairs are yummy. So we were in our van-thing driving through the city, when
What? We all turned our heads to see that the driver behind us had just smashed into us. The first wreck (if you can call it that) I’ve ever been it! Not surprising that it was here, I suppose—they are CRAZY drivers. There just seems to be absolutely no method to the madness. No turn signals, no rules about when to turn… Anyhoo, our vehicle wasn’t hurt, and it was the other guy’s fault…so we just continued on our way!
At the fine arts school we got a tour of various classrooms and saw lots of paintings and ceramics made by the students. It was interesting, but my camera started being feisty, so I got frustrated; hopefully it doesn’t poop out on me before the end of the semester!!
At the primate sanctuary we saw gorillas, baboons, monkeys and more. The animals there were orphaned when their parents were killed for bushmeat (illegally, mind you). Though the animals are caged (thankfully), it was pretty much a trek through the jungle, which means it was pretty much awesome. On ride home we did what any group of students does on the bus ride back: sleep.
Walking home I grabbed some sugared peanuts from a street vendor—best 10 cent snack I’ve had since I was 7, and my mom used to give us a dime to pick out a piece of candy when we shopped at Albertsons.
At home I found the housekeeper; Magnus and Therese were at a funeral. It wasn’t until after the housekeeper left a few hours later that I realized that Manuella had been home the whole time too (sleeping)! When they got home we tried to cook dinner, but the gas ran out. Therese and I tried to light a charcoal fire but didn’t have any success and eventually gave up. Anyway, she told me, there will be food at the wedding.
Huh? Apparently I was taking her place and going to a wedding reception with Magnus (she was tired, and besides, African superstition says that pregnant women shouldn’t go out at night…something about demons). Anyhoo, cool opportunity! Therese took a peek at my meager selection of not-wedding-appropriate-attire and told me to wear my green shirt that—unbeknownst to her—still carried a nice scent from Friday’s dance class. Put on an awkward combo of jewelry in a further attempt to dress things up and couldn’t help but think of summer camp in 7th grade, when I—along with the other newbies—tried to patch an outfit together when we found out Thursday night that we were having a dance.
On the drive to the wedding Magnus chuckled over my seatbelt-wearing-habits and pointed out the neighborhood where he grew up. He told me to check the invitation to see what time the reception was starting. 18h, I told him. What time was it? Almost 20h30. He was concerned, because we were going to be about “30 minutes” late—things here generally start 2 hours after they say they do. When we got to the hotel where the reception was held, though, we saw that we were some of the first to arrive. Magnus was far from thrilled. People gradually trickled in, and the bride and groom did not arrive until nearly 22h30!! That was a long wait. Highlight of the conversation between us being:
Magnus: “weddings are really great”
Me: “yeah! Though it’s kind of weird that my friends are starting to get married! I’m not ready…”
Magnus: “but you have a boyfriend, right?”
Me: “erg..no…never have…”
Magnus: “what! Oh my God (<- -in English) you need to hurry!”
Me: “um, no rush. I’ve got time!”
Magnus: “no, when you get home, you need to hurry up and get married…”
Oh mygoodness, I was dying. It was the funniest thing ever. Cultural differences much? Apparently Therese is only 23 (though he’s in his 30s—apparently the dude should be 10ish years older so that he’s settled and able to provide for his wife). I did NOT realize how young she is…feels like I should start calling her my “host sister” instead of my “host mom”!
Somewhere in the middle of those two hours of waiting, a woman (who Magnus called “mom”, but isn’t) and her son (?) joined us. Magnus got so frustrated with the waiting and the lack of drinks that he sent the 17 year old boy down the street to buy us water.
Finally the emcee announced the couple’s arrival and we hit up the buffet. Funny how much the wedding resembled an American one! Fancy white dress, 200ish guests, that dun-duhn-dun-dun wedding song, and bridesmaids (terrible lime green dresses though). We were tired, and Magnus was still pretty mad, so we left as soon as we were done eating and didn’t get home until almost 1 am!
Mass this morning! Speaking of which, meant to tell you a few things about it last week:
1.On the drive there, Manuella sits in my lap. Carseat? What’s that?
2.Mass is completely normal, except at the end they have a blessing for all the kiddos!
This afternoon I caught part of Ice Age and 3 episodes of How I Met Your Mother (in French) on tv! Though I love the crummy local commercials when we watch local stations, I must say I enjoy the commercials on the French stations, because I recognize all the products, and it makes me think of Nantes!