Thursday, August 23, 2007

The long ride home...

To Arusha that is.

Tuesday I took a short trip north. I have found the only way I can get down time, and get a good break, is to leave town. It has been months since I did so, and Helen and I planned a short getaway.

The shuttle ride to Nairobi was uneventful, aside from the fact that I got my favorite seat. Helen and I enjoyed the afternoon and wednesday, getting some necessary girl talk, tears, and grocery shopping in. It was restful, and a blessing. I don't know what I would do without these short times I have with her.

Today. Today was an adventure. My shuttle required that I show up at the bus station at 7:30AM. We calculated that with Nairobi traffic I would need to be in a taxi on my way at 6:30AM. Knowing that taxi's are often late, and can be forgetful that early, we arranged for the taxi to meet us at 6, allowing for extra time to scramble for alternatives.

So we arrive at the meeting place, and the taxi was there! SCORE! We bid our farewells, and I am on my way. 20 minutes later (not an hour later as we expected) we arrived at the bus station! Since when does Nairobi NOT have rush hour traffic????

The fun began a few hours later. I am on the bus, not in my favorite seat, even though since I was so early I had first choice. I thought I would try another out, and I have since learned my lesson. At the third stop, the bus is getting full, and an older gentleman asked if he could sit in the seat next to me, even though I had carefully placed items on the seat showing it was occupied. I relented, and moved the stuff. I then learned that my neighbor was a talker. And he apparently didn't brush his teeth.

About 10 minutes into the trip the conversation begins:
John: Where are your parents?
Me: A bit confused by the question I answer: They are in America.
John: Why aren't they here with you?
Me: Cause I work in Arusha. They live in America.
John: Oh, you are a student doing an exchange.
Me: No, I work here.
John: You are too young to live here by yourself, are you a student at the university?
Me: No, I live and work in Arusha.
John: But you can't be more than 20 years old, maybe 19, and you have a job already?

At this point, I ponder the plethora of gray hairs I noticed on my head last night and soak up the fact that he thought I was so young. I then inform him that I am 29. He about fell off his seat in shock. be so youthful.

About half an hour later, I am doing what most people do when they are traveling and don't care to interact with fellow travelers. I have the ipod on, and book open and am in my own little world. The introvert in me doesn't see the need to make friends on such journeys. John leans over, he has more questions.

John: Pam, where is your husband.
Pam: I don't have a husband.
John: But you are 29, you NEED a husband. You are getting old.

(Sidenote: Just half an hour previously I was too young to be traveling.)

Pam: Well Sir, I am waiting on God to bring me my husband.
John: But Pam, you really must do your part.
Pam: Sir, I know I have my role to play, but I am also waiting on God. He knows what I need better than I do.
John: But really, you are getting so old. The prime age for women to have children is 32.
Pam: Uh-uh
John: Do you want to marry a Tanzanian or American?
Pam: Preferably American, so we can understand each others culture.
John: Do you know any american men?
Pam: Yes.
John: Are your parents looking for you.
Pam: No. They are trusting God with me.
John: Oh oh. That is not good. You really must get married. God can't bring you someone without your help. You need to tell people you are looking for a husband.
Pam: (very annoyed, as I have through this entire conversation tried to read and listen to my music but he isn't following the signs...they must not be universal.) Sir, I do want to get married one day, and perhaps one day I will, but honestly, I believe God has a plan for my life, and can provide for my every need, and if I need a husband, he will provide that as well.

I think he sensed my frustration, as he stopped pushing the issue. For about half an hour. He then started the same conversation over. Three more times. I will forever choose my favorite seat in the future.

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