I was thinking the other night about how my biggest blog fan is my grandfather, who we lovingly call Bobo:
I began to think of ways in which I could give him a special shout-out here on my blog, and decided that the best way was to think of all of my memories of him and how they have prepared me for life in Tanzania. These are in no particular order of importance
- A love for Johnny Cash and other country music legends: are you aware HOW much Tanzanians love country music? I’ve had this conversation with many a musician here. We think it’s because the stories are simple, understandable, and universal. But I can’t tell you how often I’ve heard “Burning Ring of Fire” on radios here and smiled, thinking of bobo.
- The memory of Bobo telling me that I “eat like a bird”, and writing a song about it on our trip to the grand canyon: I remember us laughing a lot in Arizona on that trip after he wrote a poem off the top of his head about how his granddaughter eats like a bird. Well, I think of this often because I always get “take-away” food at restaurants here and people comment on how little I have eaten. Hmph!
- Bobo Noting that I eat one food at a time in clock-wise order: Along the same lines… Several friends have pointed out, curiously, that I eat in clockwise order. Well, I have to give it to bobo for pointing that out first to me. I have only minor O.C.D. issues.
- Collecting all the coins of the US for me: I had some US coins in my wallet the other day and showed them to a bunch of Tanzanian kids, telling them how there was one quarter for each state and that my bobo had collected them all for me. They seemed befuddled as to why one would simply collect money. Though, I do recall, upon receiving the collection of coins, saying to my cousins “alright guys, let’s go buy some lottery tickets!”
- Bobo teaching me the following poem: “Spider, spider on the wall. Ain’t you got no sense at all? Don’t you know that wall’s been plastered? Get off that wall you silly…… spider.” Well, let’s just say I see a lot of spiders on walls here, and think of the poem each time.
- Getting a commode for Christmas : first, let’s all acknowledge the importance of knowing the word ‘commode’ in general. Well, I remember bobo got this toilet and immediately dropped down to his boxers to take a picture of him test-driving the unattached toilet in the middle of the living room. YES, bobo, I do remember that. How does this apply to me? Well, it has taught me the importance of actual toilets versus the drop-holes you often find here in Tanzania. Yuk.
- Taking a picture with a fat lady on our cruise to Alaska: bobo—the ultimate photo-bomber! I remember there was this large lady who’s big butt was facing us while we were in the Jacuzzi on the cruise. Her butt’s size was exaggerated further by the water jets propelling her bathingsuit up and out. Bobo posed in a picture with her in the background. Well, this is just a funny memory. Really doesn’t apply to my Tanzanian life at all.
- Teaching me to play Keno (underage) on our cruise ship: learning the rules of gambling have come in handy QUITE a number of times for me in Tanzania. Ok just kidding.
- Giving me and my cousins $100 for emergency only: Well, this is a good place to be safe and secure financially! Last year my wallet was stolen while on a bus her in Arusha and the first thing I thought when I got home later was “PHEW! Glad I kept that $100 in another wallet tucked safely at home!” – don’t worry bobo, it’s still safe. Going on 6 years of keepin’ that baby!
- Telling me “remember what I told you” each time I say bye: Not sure if there really is only one thing that I’m supposed to remember, but bobo says this to me every time I leave the States. I think it’s a lesson on something like “don’t be stupid; or don’t trust most people; or be careful.” Probably the latter since mom tells me the same thing each time I leave too.
- The beauty of Flares (aka: flowers) : I mean really, guys, we all need to appreciate the beauty of the flares anywhere in the world. But they are PARTICULARLY beautiful here in Tanzania.
- Knowing that whenever you don’t hear someone, they are certainly telling you to “do” something: I’ve learned this from bobo saying “Do what?” every time I say something to him. I’m tempted to say the same thing in Swahili each time I don’t understand what they’ve said: “fanya nini??”
- Knowing that in Finland “they don’t even have damn snowmen”: Reference to last Christmas. One of bobo’s inexplicable outbursts. But yes, as I prepare for possible graduate school in Finland next year, I DO know it’s cold there.
- “A place for everything and everything in its place”: I find myself saying this mantra out loud quite often as I clean my house here. Not sure if bobo ever said it to me, but I sure picked up on it. Helps keep my home mighty nice.
- Remembering where my home is. Remembering where I come from and who loves me most—My family.