Cup du Monde (Saturday, 2010 June 19)

June 21, 2010

So, Cameroon just got eliminated from the World Cup (lost to Denmark). That’s as good as any a thing to lead with.

Emily said today (a propos of receiving phone calls from family): "It’s like there’s too much to say. Or not enough." I think the explanation is simply that there are so many things we can’t take for granted any more, and to explain them all would take all day. It’s what I’m doing here, but I can understand why it would be hard to take the time on the phone to go through all of it.

Today when I left the house, there was a pickup truck with pigs out front. Pigs are "les couchons" but apparently you can also call them "les porcs". Claude encouraged me to pet them but I was chicken (so to speak). I think M. Alemi took them to his farm this afternoon, but frankly I have no idea. [Update: They went to Karen’s host family’s place, since her family and mine are buds.] I wanted to take a picture of the pickup, three people in the cab and four or five kids in the back with the pigs, but I didn’t think of it in time. My camera lens is a bit smudged anyhow. I took some test pictures to see how obvious it was, and it wasn’t, but it still makes me angry. I tried cleaning it with the microfiber cloth that came with my glasses, but that just spread the smudge around. I also tried using hand sanitizer WITH the microfiber cloth, but that didn’t work either. (Please send help.) It’s probably fine, though, because this will help discourage me from taking the Textbook African Picture, which I almost take every single day — you know, red dirt, humble buildings, a few trees, and oh so much sky. Allison also mentioned that every day she wished she were carrying her camera, but she doesn’t (I guess because she’s afraid to lose it).

After they made the first goal ("le premier but"), everyone was really excited. But during halftime, the family made rude jokes that I didn’t understand about the players or former players (frankly, I have no idea). Francis (who is maybe a semi-pro player who has returned to hang out here until I leave) seemed too angry to eat dinner. Final score in case you didn’t know was 2-1 Denmark. Go Lions.

Vladimir seemed much healthier today but Astride took him to the hospital again to continue treatment, I guess. I don’t really understand how this works but I’m sure there’s a reason. I also managed to get her and Nadege to play a game of Set. It took them a little while to get it, and they’re still pretty slow to find sets, but that’s true for everyone when they’re starting out. And now the family knows that I have games, so that should be good (unless they steal them. The Organization: "Integrate, but trust no one.").

I just saw something dark and still under my desk here. I was almost too afraid to turn on my flashlight to see what it was. Fortunately it’s just a black plastic bag.

I’m letting my laundry soak ("tremper") overnight, except for the Africtures, which need to be washed "directement" (i.e. "directly"). When I didn’t understand what this meant, Astride helpfully translated: "You need to wash them directly." But nobody ever says "directly" in this way (i.e. immediately). It’s not a big deal but it’s frustrating when my family just drops into "Ethan is a giant useless child and we should really just do things for him". I understand why they do it, but I would much prefer they explain (i.e. rather than translate, which I can do just fine with my fucking M-W thing, thanks).

Faux pas of the week: forgot that I left the spout on my water filter open, allowing water to automatically flow through the filter and directly onto the floor, where it collected in a puddle. Nobody noticed except me. Still, wow. It’s like I’m a giant fucking useless child sometimes.

Someone went to the hospital for the first time today; word on the street is that he maybe had a little malaria. This ties into the ongoing discussion about the Cameroon 2010 betting pool. Who’s going to leave early? Who’s going to settle down with a local? Obviously it would be pretty easy to throw one of the bets, so we don’t do it. But I like to think about it from time to time.

Lastly: Woke up diagonally across the bed, under the covers. Realized nobody here understands when I say "fucking goddamnit" (so I’m saying it a lot). Have a fifteen minute presentation Monday, which necessitates my talking to myself in English until then. There are lizards on the outside of my window. I’m leaving my door unlocked since Astride’s at the hospital. I might go to the market tomorrow to get starch for my shirts. And there still just isn’t enough time in the day.

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