Sunday, January 04, 2009

Two years in text messages

I apologize for being so behind on updates! Before I do a big summary and reflection on my Peace Corps service I thought I'd do two years in text messages. My phone had a limited capacity to store messages, so here are the ones that kept me going, made me laugh and made me nostalgic over the course of two years. Editor's notes and translations are in brackets.

[Training in Boane, Beta and Megs and Sarah were my best friends in training and throughout PC]
Megs: Portuguese is eating my brain
Megs: omg. celine and her titanic song are playing loudly. where the hell am i?
Megs: and it keeps on going. it is like the energizer bunny of celines greatest hits.
Beta: my 16 year old neighbor just told me he fell in love with megan when she had them dissect a peanut, so who knows with repro
Megs: my bowels are in a special place.

[After getting to site, year 1]
Beta: oh no! its begun... i have started talking to myself.
Beta: I MADE A SHELF!! its the ugliest thing ever, but its such a rosie the riveter moment for me!
Caruso: in the fking matu. slowly crawling your way. eta 2hrs [stuck on the train for hours while we waited for him to show up in the city]
Kieta: hi sunshine! how are u? hope u are maintaining that beautiful smile of urs. i am well. i have the flu but still enjoying life. how is site?
La Nina: Thanks La Laura! Have a fabulous 2007 + merry (julian) x-mas tomorrow! (am writing you a snail mail letter right now) take care! -neens
Megs: I gave in and shaved my legs after 2mo. No more hairy beast.
Megs: Took an enxada and hoed moz style then planted delicious vegetais! Although ppl are very confused that we didnt plant corn. im getting v domestic. I
even sew now! And clean lots but we just hired a menina to cart agua! V.
exciting. [enxada=hoe, menina=girl]
Megs: Ha ha. Beans exploded in one of those crazy packages i received and i found
one a month later that had sprouted in a shirt in my laundry bag!
Beta: we just had the 9th person come 2 our house bcuz they heard we want to buy
buttons. fun joke, eh? how things going? giving my 1st acs tom. woo hoo! [acs
= test]
Megs: O Mozambique. Nossa terra confundida. [Our mixed up/confused land, variation
on the national anthem's Nossa terra gloriosa]
Beta: good times. i think we should suggest this acs giving thing 2 the us penal
sstem as a form of punishment.
Sveta: The daffodils are out. Im stuck in library always. Cons left for new
zealand. Miss you
Andrew: just finished the manticore. ace. need more deptford. stat. [evidence of the
PC system of book trading--they filter all across the country aided by text
messages and bank/shopping trips to the city]
Andrew: who is the libidonous lisel? which anima ends up davey with? who is the
woman he knew, who is the woman he didnt, the dead boy staunton? vamos ver.
[vamos ver= we shall see, still referring to the Deptford trilogy by
Robertson Davies]
Beta: yergh. in ur house? far too early in the day 4 mortal peril. [referring to
the crazy tailless scorpion on my porch that was the size and general
appearance of a lobster]
Megs: I gota fifteen cm centipede at the end of jan. Yay for tropical nasty
nasties.
Sarah: ACPs really suck the goodness and mercy out of me... [ACP = midterm]
Sveta: Happy bday Laura! Miss you. Hope everything is well. Love always, sveta
Megs: I say soon, but ive been wrong before. Thats why im a pcv and no longer a
weather goddess. Im not even tvm's weather girl. [tvm = tv mozambique]
Megs: When I said yes to Africa i didn't sign up for 'freezing rainy mudhole' i
believe i checked the box for 'balmy subtropical paradise'. How'd they get em
mixed up? [Where megs and sarah lived it rained all year. weird]
Beta: sadly me plank was not 2 be found but cursed him 2 davy jones locker i did as
the filthy codfish turned tail & ran. so dirty. so dirty. [After "dirty man"
in the city kissed her]

[Life at site, year 2. Miguel=new PC neighbor]
Miguel: booze and fast women coming in the mail, but looking for a secure morada,
entao estou a pedir [trans: address, so I'm asking you. He didn't have a
functional post office, and i did, so we got his packages (sometimes)]
Megs: Yeah. Its a lil overwhelming those 1st few days when u realize that ur
reality now doesnt include logic. Special. [Reminiscing about getting used to
our lives in Moz]
Sarah P: I had a dream about you last night. I think we were surfing? Anyway i love
you and miss you lots!
Sarah: Hmm...dying rat in the toilet. What a great way to start the day! Think
i'll let Megs take care of it...
Megs: I just flushed a live rat down my toilet. [Ah roommates, I love getting both
sides of the story]
Megs: Ah. So romantic. Me and Sarah and our carvao. No energy and the dulcet tones
of sarah winding up her flashlight. What more does a girl need? [carvao =
charcoal]
Erin: Hey Laura! Ho are you? I hope all is well in sunny Africa! I have some
news! Chris and I are pregnant! So if all goes well we will have a baby on
Nov 1st! And we are very excited! (I was going to write you a letter but
this way you get the news sooner!) [Went out the next day, bought fabric, and
cut the pieces for a baby quilt]
Sveta: First spring day miss u
Erin: Had ultrasound yesterday All good - only 1 baby :) I started a blog - mostly
for your benefit: erinpalmer.blogspot.com with u/s pics. :) Miss you lots!!!
Megs: O. My. God. That sounds very special. If you start to feel like you're in a
salvador dali painting just close your eyes and hope it goes away. [After Kim
and I painted our house turquoise with red floors]
Megs: Do you think i can put presidente de conselho on my resume? Would it look
impressive? [trans: head of a council that determines the grades for one
turma/class of students]
Erin: I just found out that I am having TWINS!!! Not one but 2 babies AT THE SAME
TIME!!! Identical twins so both will be the same gender! So exciting and
scary! [I was sooo pissed I had to start another baby quilt :)]
Megs: I had my last Hurrah at redes. I practically threw out my hip in the limbo
contest. Last branca standing but geeze. Call me VoVo. I'm old.
[Redes=girls conference, branca=white chick, vovo=grandma]
Erin: Hey Laura! We just found out that our babies are most likely girls! They
will confirm that in the next u/s, but I am looking at pink things!
Exciting! c u soon!
Unknown student: Desculpa sr prof, gosto muito d ti, sei k sou negro mas vamos
deixar apart, kero namorar consigo, apesar d n me conher, n digo meu nome so
vou me pronunciar dpois d me aceitar. sou aluno 11A2. RESPOSTA. [Excuse me
teacher, I like you a lot, I know I'm black but let's leave that aside, I
want to date you, despite you not knowing me, I won't say my name, I only
will after you have excepted me. I am a student in 11th grade class A2.
RESPONSE. ---Needless to say this kid never got an answer, and I still don't
know who it was or how how he got my number, and I didn't even teach 11th
grade!]
Ioana: Hi laura how are you erin s shower was great wish you were there have a
happy summer in the colorful house bye ioana
Cons: Awww! i sure could use a chem girl dance off right now!
Megs: Proctoring exams is sooooo fun. Like a mouthful of dried fish.
Sarah P: Gotta love the lederhosen! Aging rock bands in general are funny but
austrian ones win. I love you and miss you! [In response to my text about
the concert video our local bar put on for us from their collection of
super random dvds]
Friend of Ibrahimo: Ola tudo bem eu kero falar contigo para ti dizer ki estou
apachonado por ti quero namorar contigo acerio. Dame a Resposta por favor.
[Hello, everything ok I want to talk to you to say that I am impassioned by
you and i want to date you seriously. Give me an Answer please. --Met the
guy (think 40 and balding) for about 2 seconds then apparently he looked
through Ibrahimo's phone without permission to find my number. He also
didn't get an answer]
Caruso: It goes faster when youre drunk [Text back from chris when we were stuck for
15 hours on the train that goes by his site on the way to malawi]
Miguel: blasphemy! go and rinse thy foul mouth! [When I told him to substitute rhino
(think grain alcohol) for real mexican tequila]
Miguel: the capim on the right side of my house is still there, so always look on
the bright side of life [capim=grass used as roofing material]
Miguel: ive already put in my order for the laura voodoo doll at the local
curandeiro. its actual size [curandeiro=witch doctor. I made old-jokes and
bald-jokes, and he made short-jokes]
Erin: Our babies were born last night! Anne Maria "Anya" (5lb 3oz) and Alyssa
Ellen Palmer (5lb 10oz)! They are both healthy and absolutely beautiful!
Zinubia: Por vezes me calo, fico dias, semanas ou ate meses sem dar sinal + em
nenhum momento apago em mim o imenso carinho k tenho pr ti. bj [Sometimes
I remain quiet, I stay days, weeks upto months without sending a signal
but in no moment do i erase in myself the immense fondness that i have for
you. xx --All the messages from Zinubia (daughter of the loja/store owner)
are classic examples of moz chain messages, which EVERYONE sends.]
Peace Corps: Cos ticket 0684971056397 departure 17 november at 10h45 arrival 15h45
nampula/maputo [COS=Close of Service, this is the way plane tickets are
now done in moz--u can just show up at the airport with your ticket
number scrawled on a post-it]
Zinubia: + 1 vez o coracao prova ser o cofre + seguro do universo, por este
preservar com seguranca e afecto a imagem d uma pessoa especial como tu.
Jumma mubarak [One more time the heart proves to be the coffer most secure
in the universe, for this preserves with security and renders the image of
a special person like you. --You can google jumma mubarak for islamic sms
greetings.]
Sveta: Miss u miss the sun miss sleep ah surgery come back soon
Zinubia: Salam. Tu es "Mel" em pessoa, "Amor" em coracao, "Vida" em alegria, "Anjo"
em Alma, "Rio" de Desejos e acima de tudo es uma pessoa muito amorosa.
Juma Mubarak [Hello. You are "Honey" in person, "Love" in heart, "Life" in
happiness, "Angel" in Spirit, "River" of Desires and above all you are a
much loved person.]
Sarah: Ok. Official college count: Obama 349, mccain 147. [Election night, PC
style, ie. via text message and shortwave.]
Beto:
.***...***.
* Aqui *
* e *
.. ..
* *
.,.,
o lugar onde guardo pessoas especiais como tu. bjs. Beto. [Here is the place where I guard people who are special like you. xx. Beto. Again, the standard chain mail text messages which guys (in this case a fellow teacher) unselfconsciously send to all their friends.]
Miguel: i realiz u mite b a bit preocupyd at th momnt, put we b havn a mato get
togethr amanha, woo! [mato=bush, amanha=tomorrow, sent on my second to last
day in Namapa]
Kieta: Hi family its Kieta. I want u to know how happy and honored I am to know u.
Finishing pc- sucessfuly is only the begining of ur great contribution 2 the
world. Be proud! Keep in touch. U r loved and wil 4ever be apart of my life.
Victoria: Mae ainda sta la em Namapa recebi a sms k devo chegar la voce ja vai
America entao se ainda sta la manda -me sinal pra poder vir sou Victoria
[Got this the day after I left site: Mom, are you still in Namapa I
received the message that I should come there you are already going to
America so if you're still there send me a message so that I can come
this is Victoria--I didn't get to visit victoria in Pemba before i left,
and i invited her to come stay with me while i was finishing work in Namapa, but she doesn't have a phone and her cousin didn't get her the message until it was too late. Heartbreaking message. She called me mom :(
Beta: Hey. Last night, no? I've been cooking pumpkin 2nite & thinking back on our
boane tgiving. Good times. Have a good trip home. I look 4ward 2 seeing u
stateside. [boane = where we had our training]

THE END

29 Comments:

At 10:23 PM, Blogger Megan said...

hahaha! oh the little gasps of joy. lots of love from tvm's most errant weathergirl.

 
At 4:25 PM, Blogger Brian I. Klein said...

Hi Laura,

We've never met, but your mom suggested I contact you about your time in the Peace Corps. My best friend was in the ICU at Sibley Hospital a few months back, and I spent a lot of time loitering around talking with the staff. Anyway, I just received my invitation on Friday (Madagascar, forestry, March 1), so I figured it might be a useful time to send you a note. Any chance you might want to get together for coffee/lunch/a drink sometime so I can ask you some questions/advice? I live in Tenley and work downtown--normal M-F, 9-6 schedule...which I'm eager to ditch :) Let me know if/when you might be free. Hope to talk to you soon--

Peace,
Brian

brian.i.klein@gmail.com
808-778-8691

 
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