Saturday, January 31, 2009

Interesting day

Today was... interesting.

I went to my second PTA meeting. My goodness! Is this what PTA meetings are like in America? It was completely ridiculous. Everything was so formal. They spent about half an hour making corrections to the last meeting’s minutes, nitpicking every little mistake in wording. Everything had to be “moved,” like this... “In the absence of further corrections, I move to accept the minutes.” Nothing could happen until someone seconded it. They had the inauguration of the new executive members, who were elected at the last meeting. It felt like a wedding, with candles and a priest and everything! The new members had to read a solemn vow, holding a candle, and a priest was there to pray over them. So ridiculous. Also, I’m sick of Africa time... the meeting was supposed to start at 9, but I sat around waiting until 10. It didn’t end until 1:30! I’ve never been to a PTA meeting in America, but if they’re anything thing as ridiculous as this... no thank you. This meeting made me never want kids, but if I ever change my mind, I’d definitely make their father go to the PTA meetings.

Right after the PTA meeting, Sister Juliana dragged me along with her to visit her boyfriend. She told me that he lives in a friary and that he’s a Franciscan priest, which made me happy because I went to a Franciscan university for college and I’m quite familiar with them. The friary (which is like a convent for priests), had a quiet, beautiful garden. There was a rose bush with a single pink rose on it, which was the first real rose I’ve seen in Africa. Pink roses are my absolute favorite, so of course I took the time to stop and smell it, but unfortunately, it didn’t have a very strong scent. I was, however, so overjoyed just to see a rose that I didn’t mind that it didn’t smell lovely. There were so many beautiful flowers and trees there, which made the hour-and-a-half drive through heavy traffic worth it.

Juliana’s “boyfriend,” Fr. Charles, was in a horrible car accident about a month ago, and is still recovering. He stayed in his bed most of the time we were there. As I sat on the chair in his room/office, I looked around at the books on his very full bookshelf. I saw a few Italian titles, and some “Learn to Speak Spanish”-type books, so I asked him, “Hablas EspaƱol?” And we began a conversation in Spanish. I tried to explain to him why my Spanish is so poor (because I lived in France for six months), and he started speaking to me in French! We kept talking, and I learned that he speaks ten languages. TEN! English, Spanish, French, Italian, Swahili, and five Ghanian dialects. I was very, very impressed by this. He reminded me of Alex, the Parisian man I used to date, who spoke six languages and was having trouble deciding which language to take as his seventh (Chinese or Arabic?). Since meeting Alex, my personal goal is to become quad-lingual, which isn’t as impressive as seven or ten, but I still have a long ways to go even to reach four. Fr. Charles was explaining to me how he learned each language (by spending several years living in five countries on three continents), and wow... what a super cool guy! He is definitely the most well-cultured person I’ve met in Ghana so far. For a few days after his car accident, the only language he could speak was Spanish. Isn’t that strange? Fortunately for him, there were some Cuban doctors at his hospital, so he could communicate with them.

The reason I went along with Sister Juliana was that I wanted to spend time with her today because she’s leaving tomorrow morning to take a course in a town near Kumasi for four weeks! I don’t know what I’m going to do without her for four whole weeks! Sister Juliana is easily my favorite person in Ghana. She treats me like a daughter and makes me forget I live in a convent. She invited me to visit her during the midterm break, which I definitely plan on doing. In the meantime, I only have three allies at my house: Sister Anne, Sister Dorothy, and little Sister Germaine. The other three nuns who live here hate me. Well, maybe they don’t hate me, but they’re not particularly nice to me. I can’t tell if they’re not nice people in general or if they’re just not nice to me.

So much has been happening to me, and I have so much to write about... the kids, the weather, the election results, etc... hopefully I’ll be able to find time this week!


DeeDee said...

You're definitely a busy lady! Don't worry about the PTA meetings. From what I remember they may be a little nit picky, but they are not so formal and long!! I would love to see what your friend's garden looks like. Does Africa have the same varieties of flowers that we do or are there some different ones?

JMJDave said...

I hope you took some pictures of the garden! (If she did Dee Dee, I'll email them to you when I get them.)

And I hope you pick Spanish as your 4th language. Living in the US, that will have so much more practicality. You won't even have to travel to another country to learn it!