So I didn't get through the whole To Do list. Oh well. I did a crapton more, which is what counts, and did do some things on the To Do. The whole problem was that preparing my cousin's clothes for charity took Amy and me FIVE hours. That was with both of us ironing, steaming, folding and de-cat-hair-ing. It was positively exhausting, but we finished the task in one day and rewarded ourselves with burritos. Yum yum yummmm.
Yesterday I received an email from Mboya. Remember my friend, the one whose sister I'm sending to school (with support from various friends and family)? I was relieved to hear from him because whenever a few months go by without word my dark and twisty brain comes up with all of these horrifying scenarios, from an accident at work (he's toughing it out on a road crew) to friggin' malaria. Ugh, my stupid brain and its tendency to overthink! Long and short of it is that Mumbua is earning her O-level certificate this month. Yeah, if you're American you're in the same boat as I was, I had no clue what the heck that meant, except that it's probably a good thing. Naturally I consulted google for further explanation, and came up with this fairly reasonable-sounding wikipedia article (and an aside - Mumbua is in a private school because as far as I know, secondary education is STILL not free in Kenya - bad for everyone who can't afford it, but in all likelihood good for Mumbua because she has me to help her financially and does not have to deal with the fallout of sudden free school, which in beginning in 2003 was a very serious challenge). It's been a frustrating ride at times, not really understanding the educational system and really just wanting to go over there on more than one occasion to sort things out - open a bank account in Mumbua's name, for example, or set some sort of payment plan with the principal so Mboya wouldn't be so beholden to me (of course given corruption etc, this may not have worked). Now I want to jet over there to figure out the rest of her education. She has to get a job, HAS. There is no choice about that, and preferably she needs a job that could not only support her but also support her family to a certain degree, supplement the income Mboya is bringing in plus the pittance they make farming. It seems that now Mumbua must take her "A" levels, and then the KCSE exam, which could potentially earn her a spot at a public university...at least I think. It's a muddle and I'm having a bit of a time making sense of it. I am hoping that Mumbua and Mboya have a plan together (and it's one I can afford :/) and all will be ok, but you can see how it's frustrating to be here trying to work things out, no? Of course, Mboya, or perhaps it's the Kenyan school system, has this incredible knack for asking for money at the worst possible time - in this case the same day my car goes to the shop for $500 worth of repairs. And of course, given the world economic situation, I have to send him more USD to get more KsH bang for his buck. Ah well, c'est la vie - if it weren't this, it would surely be something else. Besides, my ING fund was set up several years ago for emergencies and the car is an emergency. I also have an Mboya fund, which I cleaned out. On Thursday morning, he will have his money and Mumbua will be working to get her O levels. All is well for now.
Meanwhile back in suburbia......last night I meant to catch The Amazing Race, but missed it because I stupidly thought it was on at 9 instead of 8! Luckily I caught it on YouTube and was sucked in immediately, quickly deciding who I was going to root for and who I'd be counting down the minutes til their elimination. This should be an entertaining season no doubt, but as with the last couple of seasons, I always find myself shaking my head as soon as the teams leave the United States. I shudder to think of most of these people representing my country and fellow citizens abroad. First of all, you have the rude people who say 'HURRY UP FASTER GO FASTER, PASS THEM, WE'RE IN A HURRY" blah blah blah. Then you have the people who don't even make an attempt at the language, who just go up to some poor taxi driver, ask the name of a location in a Southern Belle accent (oh and that is not a jab at the belles on this season, who seem sweet, but dense) and sit in the taxi saying the whole time "did you understand me? are you lost? do you know where you are?" Ah and THEN there are the blatant idiotic statements that make you just want to whack teams upside the head, like when the belles were trying to cross the street in Brazil, desperately punching the crosswalk button. The light would not change and one got frustrated, only to have the other one say "Honey, this is not the US" No sh*t Sherlock, did you remember the 6 hour flight? I might add to my mockery by saying that while Brazil may not be the US by any means, the lack of cross walk light despite the desperate punches of the button are strangely reminiscent of a Boston street corner, say....in the Longwood Medical Area for example. Maybe they still have dirt roads in the towns these ladies hail from....or just not enough traffic to hit them when the cross against the light. Anyway, it should be a good season.
Lastly, do we all remember my small-headed commuter rail friend? Fall must be a special time of year for him because he was back on the train with his under-his-breath swearing. He couldn't get a seat this morning and, God FORBID, had to stand. Tragic really. He stood there saying "effing this, effing that, the mbta this, mbta that blah blah blah blah blah" I stared at him. I totally admit it. Stared at him, willing him to STOP. He caught me and stopped his monologue, and then looked at me as though he was going to say something. I just kept saying "Oh please, please say something to me, it would be my pleasure to tell you what I really think of you" But he didn't. He just looked down. This actually surprised me, given his fits of rage.
Tomorrow will be another day after all - plenty of time to be offensive!