Some call it hiding. I’ve been staying a lot in my house lately watching movies, reading World Without End on my new kindle, doing workout videos and baking bread to balance out the exercise. My new hibernation is due in part by my readjustment back to village from big city life I got lo have for the 3 weeks of Christmas. The other part is due to what has happened in village now since my arrival home.

The first event was a chat I had with my best friend Honorine. I had stopped by her bar to eat lunch and chat about the holidays. She grabbed a beer and I chowed down on beans and beignets. Her sister had just left to go back to Paris the day before. She had been visiting for a month, and brought with her a Whirlpool freezer so now Honorine wants to start grilling fish at night! This is wonderful since poisson braisé is the best thing that ever happened to cameroonian cuisine after spaghetti omelets.

After a tour of the freezer and excitement over new business opportunities, we sat back down and I asked questions about her sister—nurse, husband lives in Yaoundé, she’s been in Paris 4 years and will be there for 8, 3 grown kids in different European countries for school. When I asked her if it was hard for her sister to be so far away from her husband for so long she leaned back in her chair and casually responded that when she saved enough money she’d get out of here, too. She went on to tell me how her marriage wasn’t good and that her husband doesn’t give money to her for food, the kids, anything. She explained how she wants to start grilling fish, but has to figure out a way to get money for the small grill, charcoal and a large batch of fish to freeze. I mostly listened and finished my beans trying to act as cameroonian-mama as I could, trying to hide any eye watering or displays of emotion. I told her that a lot of marriages don’t work out in the states either, but it’s nice that we have the hope that our husband will be our best friend when we are. I don’t know how this sounds to Americans anymore, but here everything is very practical and straight-forward including marriage, sex and child-rearing. I have yet to see a Gilmore Girls relationship or an affectionate husband without a beer in his hand, and usually it’s not his wife.

So that’s the first event.

She followed this up with that her and Seline, the wife of my community host and another one of my mama friends, are no longer friends. They no longer will speak to each other even to say good morning. This is especially awkward since they work right next door to each other. Lucky me.

The last event was the profession of love to me by my friend, Diefe. He’s one of a handful of people I can almost have a real conversation with that doesn’t have anything to do with how to do something, cook something, or say something in patois or french. He was a little tipsy I think, but he used a lot of cheesy lines and has continued to call me every evening to ask me how my day was. He’s leaving the 15th (thank goodness) and wants me to watch his chickens for him. Here are some of my favorite lines. Keep in mind I’m engaged to Tim and kept reminding him of this every 5 min. and insisting that I would not change my mind.

Translated from french:

when you try the water in senegal you must also try the water of the sea and only then can you make your choice between the two.

if you give me a little piece of your heart i will plant it, water it everyday two times, and watch it grow and grow.

do you love bandenkop? bandenkop loves you. but i love you more than bandenkop..

You refuse me? I am suffering. Are you ok with me suffering?