Odds and Ends

I wish my hair would grow faster! I am growing it out, simply because keeping it short in Ghana is near impossible. I don’t trust the barbers here with my hair, I would probably end up bald. It is at the stage right now that I hate it. The humidity is rolling in and it makes my hair puffy, ugly, and a pain. Just in case you were keeping tabs – I haven’t given up my vanity to Africa.

Since we are on the topic of vanity, I miss my Olay Regenerist Anti-Aging crème. A lot actually. I also miss my Clarisonic face brush that my mom hijacked from me. And all my eyeshadows. And body lotion. I am afraid of buying body lotion here because most of them are “enhanced” with skin lighteners. Yeah, no Michael Jackson action here. In other news, I am getting tan – well tan for my standards. My arms and legs tell completely different stories. My legs yell white lady, but my arms yell getting black lady. It is actually really funny, I can tell when I get new freckles. My freckles have multiplied like mold on the bread in my kitchen.

Speaking of mold. Here in Ghana when I find mold on my bread, I scrape it off and eat the bread anyway. Yeah, I never would have done that in America. Bread costs 1cd and only lasts 3-4 days, I gotta make my money last!

I was fairly frugal in America, here in Ghana it has reached a new level. After last’s months fiasco that was my money supply, I have decided to turn a new leaf. And it is working wonders. Cooking for myself will be far too expensive. So I eat only street food and my breakfast egg sandwiches. Granted my nutrition level is probably rock bottom, but at least I am getting food. I really do sound African now! I am taking a multi-vitamin to offset my frugalness. I wish I could eat more veggies, but they are expensive! And I don’t eat them fast enough. Once avocado season is in full swing, I will eat those daily. I do get more fruit than I did in America though. I love buying pineapple and I started developing a taste for cashew fruit. Go figure. Cashew fruit actually has 5x the vitamin c compared to oranges. Oh, I eat bananas too. So see, I am not a total lost cause.

But back to the money. I have started keeping a log of everything I purchase. I have probably only missed a few small things so far, like water. Otherwise, everyday I log everything I purchased that day. I factor in reimbursements and calculate my net expenditures for the month. I also have a nice little formula to calculate average daily expenses and if you spend this much daily, at this rate you will spend this much for the month. I am so proud of myself! I believe that if you see how much you are spending on x, y, and z that you are more likely to cut back. If you don’t actually keep track of your expenses, you will just spend. It is all about being aware of your money and what you are doing with it. I think another term is financial responsibility Smile If I keep it up this month, I might actually be able to pocket 100cd! At the end of the month I will categorize all my expenses and see where my money is really going. Basically, since I can’t use mint.com here, I am making it myself.

Speaking of money, fingers crossed that Barclays has my account ready today. I really want to have a good bank account and I want it to be open. And I also need the US dollar to strengthen against the South African rand, but that’s totally a different subject.

Did I mention that I am planning a fabulous vacation to South Africa. Crossing my fingers that Peace Corps approves my vacation, and soon. I don’t want ticket prices to skyrocket.

Yesterday for dinner I made a sunny side up egg with speck and knodel. Do you have any idea what good food does to the soul? Yes, you do, chicken soup. Sorry, forgot about that. Anyway, I am not kidding you, my first bite into that knodel and tears instantly filled up in my eyes. I don’t think I have ever had food literally make me cry. The taste brought back so many memories that I can’t even count. Happy, wonderful memories from so many different years and experiences. The speck, cured pork, was like eating a ray of sunshine that is cool to the touch and doesn’t want to burn into your skin. It was pure bliss. Absolute pure bliss. Have I mentioned I miss food? Have I mentioned the awful awful things I would do for a juicy hamburger? Best I didn’t.

I just remembered, I had a Harry Potter and LoTR dream last night. It was really weird. Sorry, anyway.

In other news! Peace Corps Week is next week. I am putting together a Peace Corps challenge for all my friends back home, until then I leave you with a quote from Kennedy:

“Life in the Peace Corps will not be easy. There will be no salary and allowances will be at a level sufficient only to maintain health and meet basic needs. Men and women will be expected to work and live alongside the nationals of the country in which they are stationed—doing the same work, eating the same food, talking the same language.

But if the life will not be easy, it will be rich and satisfying. For every young American who participates in the Peace Corps—who works in a foreign land—will know that he or she is sharing in the great common task of bringing to man that decent way of life which is the foundation of freedom and a condition of peace.”

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