With ample electricity and Internet, I’ve been doing little things to get my computer ready for Africa. Unsubscribe to daily emails, download new music and delete blurry photos for more storage space and less clutter. As I was going through my inbox I found an email from that a friend sent me right before I left for Niger. It was full of immersion tips and, as I read through it, I had forgotten how valuable this advice is. Or, maybe now that I experienced it once, I truly can appreciate this insight more.
I am sure I shared this once before but I feel that it is worthy of another post.
From a dear friend:
1.Make things your very own. That doesn’t mean climb into a hole. Get out, just a bit, and find things that you make comfortable by claiming them. It doesn’t have to be anything big. It could be a guy on the street corner you see every day. Make him your guy, that you see everyday. Find a place where you can get something to drink – coffee, or a fruit juice. Make it your place, in your mind. Pick something else as yours, when you feel like it. Before you know it, you’ll be home.
2. Celebrate arrivals and departures. New things, new items, new people will come into your life. Celebrate them. Smile into their eyes. Caress the item. Think about the thing. Old things in your life will leave; the things you brought with you will break and wear out. Love them, miss them, and bury them in whatever way is appropriate, with respect for what they has done for you and the world they represent. Then respect their memory by moving on.
3. Do things that are uncomfortable. Even if it means stepping into an uncertain doorway or eating something that both the CDC and common sense says to avoid. Speak the language, even though you know you’re mangling it. Go buy a random food and then figure out what it is and what to do with it. Maybe ask someone. Learn basic courtesy words and use them until that’s what comes out naturally when you run into someone or the cab driver gets hopelessly lost. You can’t be a native, but don’t let that stop you from faking it with relish.
4. Respect hum-drum, but don’t let it dominate you. If one statue starts to look the same as the last one, or one day look the same as the next; do something else. If your adventure isn’t exciting and interesting, you’re taking the wrong road. That being said, do not be afraid of tedium. It’s a sign that you’re living normal life. Not everything that is worthwhile is exciting during every moment. There is a time and place for it. If you’re too comfortable with either excitement or tedium, take a moment every day to figure out how to balance your time.