Thank you, 2014

Processed with VSCOcam with 5 preset

What a year.

No really: What. A. Year.

So much has happened, so many things that I’ve learnt, so many opportunities that arose, so many people who I’ve met.

I honestly could not be more thankful or appreciative.

I don’t even have words to explain everything that happened this year or how it changed me and helped me become the person I aspire to be.

One of the things that stood out most to me were the people I got to meet this year. I’ve made new friends all over the world. I met inspiring and hardworking people. I was fortunate enough to talk about life and get a glimpse into their view of the world and learn from them. The friendships I made in 2014 are probably the most coveted thing I take with me into the new year.
It’s also how these people made me think about the world differently, how they influenced how I feel and think about myself, how I consequently I carry myself now.

IMG_8955

I originally titled this post “Goodbye, 2014” but no, I don’t want to say goodbye, and thanks to all the crazy memories I will never have to say goodbye. I want to thank you, 2014, for teaching me about myself. For allowing me to be brave, for letting me do things I never had done before and for being patient and encouraging.
When I say 2014, I mean every single person I’ve met, everything I’ve done, every song I’ve heard (and obsessed over), every book I’ve read and every stranger that threw me a dirty look on the street for no apparent reason.

I have a feeling that 2015 will be different in many ways but with what 2014 has taught me, I hope it will be easier for me to navigate through the next year.

So thank you, 2014, it’s been real.

Processed with VSCOcam with a6 preset

Advertisements

Roadside happiness

Last night was spent at the house of some of the locals we befriended. We ate, drank, slept and after we woke up, S. and I went to buy some water. We would only have had to go to the shop next door, but ended up wandering along the street for a long time. The house was situated on a street but resembles a little village with shops lining the main street. We passed a stand selling oranges, bought one, got it peeled and sat down on the dusty steps in front of one of the shops. Today was Eid, the festival that is celebrated at the end of Ramadan. More people than I’ve seen in weeks were out in the streets, wearing their best clothes. And while we were sitting there, munching on our oranges and letting the sun shine on our faces, I was overcome by an intense feeling of contentment. This was right. This felt right. I felt like I belonged here. I belonged on this dusty street with my old clothes and holes in my shoes.

We moved on and tried to get some Chai and Chapati for breakfast – a task that turned out to be harder than imagined. When we finally sat down with both, the tea and the Chapati, we felt accomplished. We’re trying our best, and it’s often frustrating, often hard, but simple moments like this morning make it all worthwhile.

IMG_1764 IMG_1765
IMG_1774

Talking helps

I know I’m not always the most communicative person, especially when meeting new people or talking to people I don’t know that well – but how can you get to know them better? You talk to them. It also opens doors to new, unique experiences.

This morning we went to Downtown Dar es Salaam to go to the supermarket but made a quick stop at a church. We only meant to have a quick look inside, but got talking to a guy who offered to take us up to the tower.
Breathtaking. View.

While we ended up not being too happy with our guide for various reasons, it was a great opportunity and I’m so glad we let ourself being drawn into a conversation with him.

A similar story happened tonight. We went to get dinner at the small street restaurant we eat at almost every day. When we paid we complimented him on the chapatis and he proudly told us that he made them himself.
Then my friend boldly asked if he could teach us how to make them. Now we’re having an appointment with him tomorrow afternoon to learn how to make them.

Yes. Yes. Yes.

So much goodness.

A glimpse

Some things I’ve heard or said here:

“We’re leaving in 15 minutes. 15 minutes European time, not African time, that means we’re leaving in 11 minutes!”

We never left the house at all that evening.

“I’ve never seen someone eat toast with chopsticks, but it’s actually happening right now!”

The wonders of sharing a house with about 20 other interns from China.

Musings

Today at uni I got into a conversation with a guy who’s been in most of my lectures and some of my seminars for years now. I frequently sat next to him, I saw him interact with his daughter, I knew his name.

During the conversation he said something to which I responded with „I bet your daughter really loves that.“

He stared at me.

„How do you know I have a daughter?“

And in that moment I realised that people forget that even though I notice them, they don’t notice me. That even though I pay attention, they don’t. I see a lot. I notice a lot. I just tend to keep to myself and people usually don’t seem to notice me.