Tag Archives: Comedy

Burgers & Yinz

26 Oct

I picked this title because A) It sounds like food (and I ate lots of food) B) Yinz is a word used in Pittsburgh by “‘burgers” and C) The first and last thing I ate (in the airport) was a Vegetarian Black Bean Burger.

Also, it turns out I list things in A) B) C) formats during regular conversations.

So, here’s my World Cuisine Tour from the surprisingly ethnic, Pennsylvania:
Japanese (sushi and hibachi), Thai, Chinese, Indian, Italian, The Ocean (shrimp and scallops), Mexican ($1 Taco Tuesday), Late Night Food (coleslaw sandwiches and Terra chips), Beer-on-tap, American (pizza delivered to North Park!), Vegetarian Buffet, Gardens (extravagant salads), Dessert (thanks dad!), and Home Cookin’ (thanks mom!)

Needless to say, I was practically starved during my entire trip.
Maybe next time my family will feed me.


Other highlights:

– An urban bicycle ride with Mom, Dad, and Nick
– Game night(s) — including trivial pursuit, survival, and charades
– Hilarious comedy at Friday Night Improv
– A double date with the gorgeous Angela & Aaron 🙂
– Thrift store shopping
– Chatting with my pops and mumzy
– A fabulous yoga class to work on my “Female Physique”
– Running, stretching, tennis, and tickling with my True Love
– Occuping Pittsburgh

This is how lucky I am:

– I only turned on the stove once — and it was to boil water for tea
– Nick washed and folded my laundry. If he hadn’t my mom offered to (!)
– Upon arrival, my Mom and Dad stayed up until 1am to pick me up from the airport 🙂
– For departure, Nick, Mom, and Dad woke up at 3:45am to drive me to my flight
– Angela found a ring on the floor, gave it to me, & now I have brass knuckles
– Nick loves my dogs so much he’s encouraging me to bring them home!!!!!
– My dad had half a dozen chocolate bars waiting for me in the cupboard
– And Nick brought chocolate back from Germany which he saved for me

So much LOVE

Wait a minute…which country is this??
– On Wednesday, in Pennsylvania, I awoke up to rain and immediately turned over to go back to sleep; in my haze, and because it was raining, I assumed that everything I had to do for the day was canceled
– Whenever I was on the phone I said everything as quickly as possible trying to hang up because I kept thinking, “mi credit soon finish”
– When I entered a vehicle I surreptitiously noticed which side of the car passengers were getting in on because, in Jamaica, the opposite is true

Things that haven’t changed — in America:
– My bed in Pittsburgh is the fluffiest, most inviting place in the world
– The Internet is fast; I watched YouTube and tagged past blog posts
– Even ‘gross’ bar bathrooms have A) running water and B) toilet paper
– Showers are amazing; Hot water is like a deity.

Things I learned while abroad:

– My Dad knows A) What the Dougie is and B) How to do it
– “The Rock Game” is similar to “The Silent Game”
– Howdy Doody has a twin brother named Double Doody
– You are allowed to sample pastries (!) at the Giant Eagle Bakery

The Ugly:
– Nick had scabies and was quarantined for 3 of the 8 nights I was home. WTF?! I know. Isn’t that, like, a third world problem?? I thought so, too. I was shocked. Gross. Did he have scabs all over his body?? — Turns out, it’s not quite that visually extreme. But it is incredibly contagious. Scabies (mites) are invisible and called body lice. So it wasn’t obvious if you looked at him but it was still necessary, due to the high infection probability, that we spend most of those first few days apart: Nick wasn’t able to pick me up from the airport. For my first 79 hours in America, he was barred from being at my house, hugging me, holding my hand, driving with me, or do anything at all that would cause us to touch in any way. Super sad. — Mercifully, on day 4, the fear of contamination mitigated and we were reunited
– I watched Virgin Suicides and it was terrible
– The restaurant Patron douses their vegetables in vinegar; yucky
– At The Middle Road Inn I had an uncomfortable, mini, high school reunion
– Because I was cold I didn’t drink enough water and became slightly dehydrated
– A car accident at my neighbors; thankfully no one was seriously injured

The people I saw:
– I gave two Peace Corps talks at CMU and Pitt and I met Michael, a gem of a man who will be part of Group 83, Jamaica — joining us on island March 2012!
– Joel & Debbie left amazing books in my room that I can not wait to read!
– I spoke with Aunt Betsy (sorry Joan, don’t be mad…she called us)
– Spent enjoyable time at the Wexford Shop with Mom and Dar
– The girls at our gym are some of the most amazing women ever: Erika, Patty, Diane, Angela, and the rest of the crew are so, so special. My interactions with them were exceptionally warm and invigorating! Thank you all so much for being such bright spirits; I loved your hugs and contagious energy!
– My relationship with Nick — my incredible, perfect boyfriend — is stronger than ever. We reconnected (post scabies), laughed, snuggled, and re-solidified our partnership with talks about our future that were full of hope and positivity. I am so grateful for the time we shared. I love you.
– My parents were extremely generous with me; exotic dinners, ample family time, drives around the city, special outings, sensitivity to my wants, and constant TLC. It was humbling and I feel grateful for how much attention and care you both paid to me. Thank you so much!!!!

Since I’ve landed, Things that haven’t changed — in Jamaica:
– Immigration has 25 times more tourists in line than Host Country Nationals
– When I turned on my phone, Digicel had sent more text messages than anyone else in my entire phonebook combined
– That bus ride from Montego Bay to Santa Cruz is nauseating every. single. time.
– Food cooked on a wood fire tastes smoky and delicious
– It is unarguable that Jamaicans cook chicken really, really well

And now, mi day-ah. I am here, back in Elim, recounting my tales of adventure.
I love you all so much.
Thanks for your support making this vacation personal and memorable!
I feel extremely blessed and full of good food 🙂
It was amazing!!!!!
I’ll write again, soon.

Yours ’til the chocolate chips,

Excess vs. Not-quite-enough

28 Jul

Aloha loyal readers!

I got good rest last night [with delicious (albeit interrupted) dreams!] and I am feeling fortified enough to risk savage bites on my flesh in order to type this blog post.

Can you feel my love?

These ants are small but feisty.
And their is a never-ending parade of them around my house!; my sink, my bed, and worse – invading my ice-cream-dreams.
They bite hard and steal food 😦

What else do I have plenty of?!
They still haven’t abated. In fact, they’ve worsened.
To combat this I am always moving limbs in order that they don’t land on me. This activity creates more exertion than necessary in this sweltering heat and I feel it is incredibly inconsiderate.

I also have had a spike in cockroaches.
I spied one on my bathroom door, marked it for dead, swatted really hard at it, missed, and effectively catapulted it directly towards me. This yielded hysterical movement resembling some really cool dance steps…I hope.
Also, I found a cockroach in my wardrobe, hanging-out in the cup of one of my bras. This was rude and awfully fresh behavior. And has resulted in me distrusting every article of clothing in my possession. I have since adopted a ceremonious shake-out of all of my clothes before putting them on…hours of my life will be wasted on this action…

On a (possibly) related note I cannot stop itching myself all over my body.

And, in a circuitous bug story: It’s intense guava season right now (short but emphatically prolific). I am currently on mission-guava-juice. I hate to see anything waste and am outside everyday collecting, washing, juicing. Still, pounds drop from the trees in seeming mockery of my efforts. I’ve gotten a few nasty scratches from my new-found hunter/gatherer instincts. I don’t mind the scratches (they make me look tough), it’s the gnats, covering every millimeter of my open wounds, that freak me out. They follow me around causing an uncanny resemblance to one of those starving African children in need of a sponsor.

I'll get you my pretties!

All of these things (bugs and guavas) I have in excess.
There are, however, some things that I am lacking. Or, at least, there is a noticeable absence of (water, electricity, and chocolate – off the top of my head).

More information:
Since I have returned from America the electricity here has been inconsistent (at best), the water scarce, and chocolate, well, it’s just missing.

Anticipating this, Peace Corps has thoughtfully provided a lantern and blue water canister, which really do help. But owing to sheer amounts of time-without-power I have hours to sit in the dark and ponder this lack of basic amenities.

Before I moved to Jamaica I was both always eating chocolate and never considering the topic of infrastructure. If someone had asked me where does drinking water come from I would probably have said ‘from the tap’, of course. The providence of electricity was equally mysterious. It seemed to somehow involve lightning, a kite, a key, and power inside walls.

This is all changing as I notice, with alarm, that current gets cut off daily, good chocolate does not reside in every country, and water is no longer streaming from the tap. I have resolved to reformat my life without chocolate (I mean, I did join the Peace Corps) but the other essentials?
Reflection has made me strangely poetic. Here is a limerick addressing the heat and water-shortage:

It’s my hottest summer on record by chance
So warm I opt only to take corpse-pose stance
No clouds are showing
Nor is the water flowing
Does anyone know a rain-dance?

Don’t worry yourselves, though. Because, while I am not exaggerating I am managing. There is a river out back for a quick bath, and water does occasionally fall from the sky.
This experience is simply giving me a few, er, ‘age-old’ questions to ponder.

In Peace Corps news, the new batch, group 82 (a high number, I know), arrived on our ant riddled island a few weeks ago. Through feedback from us (currently serving volunteers) our staff organized a Volunteer Shadow Day where the newbies were paired with ‘seasoned volunteers’ and saw “A Day in the Life”. I (being an aforementioned ‘seasoned volunteer’) was sent a trainee named Virginia; a flexible, adaptable, girl who is going to make a stupendous Peace Corps Volunteer. It was super fun imparting wisdom (slip on shoes are essential), scheduling meetings (that got canceled, just so she’d get the ‘real’ experience), picking guavas, making juice, shelling peanuts, liaison-ing at the high school, and visiting community members. Can’t wait to spend time with the rest of that bunch 🙂

And here’s a picture of my favorite farmer, Ledah.
Topics covered included: Where in the world is Jamaica??? And the specific countries that eat dogs. Ledah was shocked by this unknown fact but quickly recovered and informed me of some islands that he had heard about near Jamaica that actually eat cats. While I could neither confirm nor deny this we located said islands and imagined what dogs and cats might taste like. (Goose and Tyger looked up at us pitifully).
It was all great fun as the world is such a fascinating place.

“Dis a whole ting a school!”, he said in awe.

In upcoming events I have a party to go to on Saturday!!!!!
I’m so excited! It’s all my community has been talking about for months!
Dancing (well, kind of) and loud music.
I told Dita I’d be arriving at about 9pm.
“NO!”, she said. (Apparently that’s too early)
“Must be about 2am I’m going” she told me.

If everyone feels the way she does I’ll be the only one there for a few hours and then long gone/asleep by the time anyone else has arrived.
I’ll keep you posted.
Should be good.

Things you can’t have too much of:
Peace, Chocolate, Love & uncomfortable too-long hugs,
‘mi 🙂


17 Apr

Happy Sunday, ya’ll!

I’ve been in Jamaica for over a year now (I think I just like sayin’ that) and I’ve learned…well, something.
Here are some Pearls of Wisdom:

-Fruit is always in season and it’s delicious!

-Roosters do not crow only at dawn (although I wish they did).

-It’s routine – regardless if you know their name– to call people by:
1) Skin color or Ethnicity
2) Occupation or Current activity
3) Unique feature or Body part
Eg; Black man, Mr. Chin, Driver, Tall man, Big woman, Brown girl, Red shirt, One eye

-The louder the music, the bigger your cock.

-The ‘load basic html’ buttons were designed for developing countries.

-A letter/package with your name on it makes you the most loved person in the world!!

-Chicken tastes better when you saw it running around the day before you eat it. I can’t tell you why.

-No matter how many people are on a bus/taxi/coaster they can (and will) fit more.

-Stuffed animals are dirty, hard, decorative, and not to be snuggled.

-In patwa, three and tree are pronounced exactly the same. This gets confusing during a rousing game of word association.

-Everywhere – market, taxi park, a full bus – can turn into a place of worship with the addition of a preacher. Or a vocal man who thinks he is a preacher.

-A ‘salad’ is not green but rather, pale. It consists of a spoonful of shredded cabbage, grated carrot, plus a pinch of sugar.

-I can bathe with one gallon of water.

-It is normal for black, ‘fluffy’ women to wear skintight shirts with white pop-starlets screened on them. (what?!). Yes, Jessica Simpson, Shakira, Ashley Tisdale (who?) all s t r e t c h e d until they are barely recognizable. – I won’t pretend like I haven’t worn shirts like this at points in my life (I am a Britney fan) – but the contrast of big black womens bosoms distorting young blond airheads is pretty incredible. This being true, I’d like all of you to rest assured that when you see a shirt for sale that has a picture of someone really trivial/obscure pasted onto it (most likely because it was misread how popular said pop-star was going to be), it will be worn somewhere in the world and it will make a person who understands the absurdity of the situation laugh.

-If asked, say you’re “de pon da Gully side”.

-It is NEVER a good idea to be too lazy to refill the water bottles and put them in the fridge (see primero blog-o when I drank the last of the cold water). You never know when the water is going to cut out.

-Underwear can be worn inside-out for added longevity before washing.

-Popcorn is a cheap, fun vegetable.

-There is no way not to stand out if you’re a white person. This means nothing can be done under the radar ie, nonchalantly; nod head to music, scratch an itch in your nose, fix a wedgie.

-Wearing a ring and saying you’re married does not deter persistent Jamaican men. Wearing two rings also does not work.

-Laundry is best washed early in the morning so that 1) You don’t die of heat exhaustion and 2) It has ample time to dry before afternoon rain. Mold is terrible to get rid of. And stinks like death.

-If you have a dog she is going to try and eat poop; act accordingly.

-Don’t give your number out to women you’ve just met on a bus, they might text it to their son/brother/cousin or obsessively call you.

-Given the choice between spilling copious amounts of salt ALL over the floor or *catching it just in time* and sacrificing only a teeny amount of sugar in what seems to be one spot — spill the salt.
-In a very related ‘pearl’, ants are sugar FIENDS.

-If the right side of the road has too many potholes, drive on the wrong side.

-Mosquitoes are not, as I previously thought, a “dusk” bug…as in they only come out in the evening. I’ve been bitten by 8:30 AM, 1PM and Midnight.

– “It was raining” is an acceptable excuse as to why you didn’t do something/go out (as long as it did really rain for a few minutes on the day in question).

-Bring your own toilet paper.

-Sometimes your text messages don’t really send…sometimes they send x100…sometimes only half is sent; coming off like a jerk, psychopath or having ADD is to be expected.

-Always charge your phone/ipod/computer when the battery is low. You never know when you might be without power for an extended period of time.

-Oh, and don’t bother to quickly dry your soapy hands and then excitedly rush to the phone when you get a new text message – it’s probably just Digicel…again.

-Saying, “I’m a Peace Corps Volunteer” doesn’t get much street credit (I know, I’m surprised, too). Not only do Jamaicans not know what Peace Corps is, they are often not familiar with the verb ‘volunteer’.

-Don’t pet the dogs. Better yet, avoid dogs.

Sure, it’s a work in progress. But all this after a year?!
Try not to let your head explode.

Until next time:

Make good choices, play word association, eat your salad, don’t buy ridiculous pop t-shirts, and fill your water bottles.