Monday, June 25, 2007

A day by the sea

Today I fulfilled a 24 hour shift (I work in a home for handicapped people), which involved cleaning, cooking, washing up and shopping; but also a lovely walk to the beach. It was raining and my poor companion was drenched in his own sweat trying to hold up with my tempo, but we had a fun together and the sea was beautiful...

I was in a kind of pensive mood and the vastness of the sea hit home. I'm a sahara/savanna girl when it comes to it; I'm used to seeing the horizon in all four directions. In contrast to my mother, who grew up on a little island off the West Coast of Sweden. Her father was a sea captain and used to take her own on long sea trips on his boats. The sea has always meant something very special to her which I have never really quite been able to share, because I on the other hand grew up surrounded by the freedom of a sandy horizon, one that you could walk on, drive on, and as I discovered later, conquer on horseback.

The sea did evoke a sense of longing and desire today; and when I came home, I knew it was time to call Niger again. Luckily for me, Skype has made phoning to Niger not so expensive, and so I talked on the phone for more than two hours. First, I called my good friend who is known on this blog as the Snow Man. I was happy to hear his voice again and he told me over and over how much they were missing me and how the race track wasn't the same without me.

I asked him to pass on a message to Yaronbaba, my jockey, as my Hausa has been deteriorating these past few months, rendering communication a little bit difficult. Sure, no problems, he said, and lol, when I called YB about 15 minutes later, he was at the Snow Man's place, being informed of what we had talked about. We talked about the horses, laughed about my poor Hausa and then the job was done: the relationships had been maintained.

I am still smiling from my phone calls. I thought about a fellow African blogger that I met these past few days, who wrote that he did not like romanticize over Africa. I know I do, but knowing what the Western world is like, I have reason to romanticize because there are just some things about Niger that touch my heart and I fall for it. I can't really explain what it is, after all, there are a number of issues about this country that makes most Westerners go mad, but the overall picture appeals to me. With a little bit of humor and large portion of self-distance, you can do so much in Niger. I guess that's what I love about it. That said, I will not romantizice over reality, because I know that regardless of how much I long to go back, the two first weeks adapting to this slow-slow pace is always a dreadful process. But THEN, once you're through it, the real fun begins!

OK, enough musings for tonight!


loomnie said...

Ishtar, I understand how you feel, really. I feel the same way sometimes in Europe,when I need to feel 'close' to people - I have a friend who calls it comparing ones sanity to that of others - and when I need to have something interesting (really don't know how to convey that feeling). Yea, there are things to miss, probably even romanticise... as long as one is willing to face the other things that are not worth drooping over.

Good luck with your work. And believe me, I envy you... you have only 64 days left. Mine are a bit more than that.

Ugo Daniels said...

Glad you took time off to relax at the sea side. These days, i 'literally' sleep there. The weather's been getting hotter and hotter.

Ugo Daniels said...

Eh, i forgot to ask, why didn't you call me??? :)

Ishtar said...

Loomnie: So glad you thought romanticizing with a good dose of sanity is OK (because that's exactly what I do!). That said, I truly and honestly feel for you. Europe does not at all wake the same longing, even for a Westerner on the move, as Africa does. How long do you have until you go back?

Ugo: Lol, still waiting for Swedish summer to come back; right now I think we're getting winds and rains from Siberia (disclaimer: Ishtar is generalizing as usual...). So sorry I forgot to call you! Not sure you could have added to my Hausa though... Got to be strategic right now! :-)


Saami said...

Feeling so positively about Africa I guess you have a good reason. Thriving is the healthiest thing, but too many stay in places if we enjoy them or not, bound because of numerous of different reasons. I wish you all the best both in Niger and in Africa, and that sandy beach makes me a bit jealous. It is bad weather here in Oslo.

One thing, how do you protect your skin from all the sun? I need to ask, since I have to stay in the shadow when travelling to such warm climates.

Ishtar said...

When it comes to skin protection, what works for me is half an hour in the sun every day to keep my general protection adrift. I have good skin that tans easily, even though I quickly lose it again. I only use sun cream when I know I will be staying several hours in the sun.