Thats What She Said

I'm supposed to be doing something else right now.

You Can’t Make An Omelet Without Breaking A Few Eggs. Or If You’re Me, You Just Can’t Make an Omelet. December 16, 2007

Filed under: *brain cloud — thats what she said @ 3:34 am

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about Brooklyn.  I like to imagine my life there, and all the myriad ways it will be different from my life here.  Never mind that maybe I will never actually live in Brooklyn.  I just need to imagine for a second a life that allows me to feel capable again.  And so I like to picture myself strolling the streets of another kind of village, wrapped in a coat and scarf, on my way to a coffee shop or a bookstore or some other marvel of the developed world. I like to think of paved streets, and trees with leaves that fall off, and lights that will always come on.  I like to ponder meals startling in their variety, and of showers hot enough to sting.  I think of these things as I sit on my porch and watch my small town go by.  My life here is still too new, too uncertain in nearly every aspect, to be much of a comfort to me.

I think I am floundering a bit.  I know this is only natural.  But still, floundering is by definition not a terribly stabilizing feeling. After a week in my town, I’ve met approximately 87 people, and I think I remember about seven of their names. Twice I’ve tried to make an omelet. I never successfully made an omelet in America.  I’m not sure what made me think my skills would improve here. I go to bed very early.  I read a lot.  In short, as Jack White said, I just don’t know what to do with myself.  

I have much to be thankful for here. That view from my porch is spectacular.  I watch the sun set into the clouds every night.  I haven’t been forced to eat fish in almost two weeks and I learned how to make something that very nearly approximates pita bread. I got to spend a day with the nurses at my hospital, watching as they vaccinated probably 30 babies against polio.  Four of those babies peed while they were being weighed, and I was reminded yet again of how many universals there are in life. 

So even as I long for an abundance of record stores and Thai food, I feel the beginnings of a quiet satisfaction with this different kind of life.  Does any of this make sense? I find myself experiencing a different emotion every 23 seconds or so, so pinning one down long enough to write about it is a bit of a challenge.   I think what I’m feeling the most, though, is hyper-aware.  Of myself, and how I look, and how I sound.  And of other people, and what they are doing, and to what extent they are noticing me.  Because for the first time in my life, everyone notices me. Which is ok, and to be expected, but still…my internal monologue never seems to stop because of it.  It never seems to stop, and half of the time now its in this terrible Franglish, because I’m trying to imagine conversations in my head, only I never seem to have the words.

I don’t mean to sound so bleak.  I expected to feel lost when I got to post.  And now I am feeling lost and that is ok.  I also expect that at some point the feeling will wear off.  Already there are moments here, where I can see that I am figuring things out.  The other day, I made a ‘that’s what she said’ joke in French. (Ca c’est que elle a dit!) I made the euphoric discovery that if you kill a cockroach on your floor and just leave it there out of complete laziness, within a week the ants will clean it up for you. I learned that cooking pasta means that you automatically have hot water to wash your dishes if you stain your noodles into your large metal ‘dishwashing’ bowl. I learned that scarabs can fly—although not terribly well—and that I will react like a total nancy if one lands on me. I now know how to say “Don’t touch me!” in French in a startlingly authoritative tone. Sometimes I throw in an intimidating karate-type arm movement, if I’m feeling especially annoyed.  (Special note to worried loved-ones, i.e. my dad—rarely do I actually feel afraid of these a-holes who like to grab my arm and tell me how much they ‘love the white women’ when I walk by on the street.  Mostly they are just obnoxious, and anyway the arm grabbing only really happens when I am in the larger cities.  Here in Cameroon, as in America, men are much more likely to be dickheads when they can do so anonymously.) I took a moto ride, and except for the part where my skirt flew up and I flashed half of Ebolowa, I felt just like a French film star from one of those 60s movies where everyone wears lots of mascara. So you see, things are looking up.  In some cases, they are looking right up my skirt. Ha-zing.  Looks like I’m back, folks.  

Ok.  It looks like I’ve talked myself into a good mood, so I think I will stop here.  Perhaps I will try to figure out how to make myself a sandwich.  Yes, it’s a stimulating life I lead…

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8 Responses to “You Can’t Make An Omelet Without Breaking A Few Eggs. Or If You’re Me, You Just Can’t Make an Omelet.”

  1. TLMQ Says:

    I might die if I don’t talk to you soon!!!

  2. T-Bone Says:

    I agree with TLMQ! In fact, just before reading this I tried to call you. I have no idea if I actually successfully left you a voicemail or not though. I miss you a lot Kim! It’s good to hear your voice (through your written words)

  3. Dr. Jones Says:

    oh kim! I experience a different emotion every 23 seconds while reading your posts! i remain proud of you and i wrote you a letter! hopefully it will find you and make you laugh :)

  4. Grandmaster Flash Says:

    It makes perfect sense, Kim. I am very envious of you right now…you have no idea how much so.

  5. Kit Kat Says:

    That post was beautiful, melancholy, and hilarious.

    I helped a French-speaking teenager from Africa sign up for a library card the other day and the language barrier was huge. I did my best but I wished that you were there with me to translate!

  6. Lindsay Says:

    Hi Kim-
    I felt pretty lost and useless for a while when I first got to post too… the whole 2 years seems like an incredibly infinite time at the beginning of it. But now that I’ve been back for about a month, I truly miss it; Christmas was especially painful. It’s kind of ironic since every Christmas in Cameroon was rather painful as well because I missed my family and didn’t want to choke down a 10th effing plate of rice, but now that I’m here, I don’t want to pretend that I like one more goddamn Lia Sophia necklace.

    ANYWAY, I just wanted to tell you to hang in there, that I think you’ll do great things and that it goes really quickly and it’s not every day that you find yourself in a situation where you’re offered the forum to learn so much about yourself and exactly how strong you are in such a short period of time. I do kind of wish I was still in Africa.

    Also, if it’s ever a really bad day, this + like 10 episodes of The Office always managed to cheer me up:

    Not Spinach and No Artichoke Dip:
    -1 pack (10 pieces) of Kiri cream cheese
    -1 large wheel of Babybel/1 wedge of gouda
    -1 cup of mayonnaise
    -150 francs of njama-njama
    -Whatever random spices you have around
    Boil the njama-njama until it’s limp like spinach. Mash the Kiri until soft and add the mayonnaise. Shred the Babybel and mix it in as well. When the spinach is done, wring it out and stir it into the cheese mixture. (It should be hot so it’ll help melt everything together.) Season to taste, but I usually found that it didn’t need much beyond some Paprika, Cumin, and Herbes de Provence. Serve with bread. It’s especially good if you can find one of the big circular loaves of bread, then cut out the center and dump the dip into it like a bread bowl. This can last for several days for a few reasons: 1- it’s a shit ton of food, 2- it’s really good reheated, either in a dry frying pan or in a dutch oven (use a smaller pot lid as a kind of cookie tray inside the larger marmite), and 3- it has a good bit of mayonnaise in it, so it’ll keep for a long time.

    Bonne post and happy x-mas!
    -Lindsay

  7. Lindsay Says:

    …Uhhhh… come to think of it, maybe it’s half a cup of mayonnaise. Just experiment and go from there! :-)

  8. […] exactly the way I imagined Brooklyn would look, all those months ago in the tropics when I was pining for bookstores and scarves and sidewalks. All three are here in abundance, along with $1 stores and strollers and coffee shops staffed by […]


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