I could spend our first blog post since arriving in Togo documenting the extensive and exhausting work it took to get the dogs here with us (a ton), or the exceptional warmth and kindness of the Togolese people we’ve met so far (incredible), or even the other Americans and expats here, complete with links to Stuff Expats Like.
But I won’t. I’m sure those things will all be discussed in due time. In fact, I’m sure you’ve read that blog before-- 1000 times. Instead, I’m going to talk about how awesome my friends at home are.
Now, I don’t really like one-uppers. In fact, I find them quite annoying.
Me: “Yay! I just booked my ticket to Mexico!”
One-upper #1 (the negative type): “I lived in Mexico for years. It sucked. You’re going to have a horrible time.”
One-upper #2 (the enlightened type): “I lived in Mexico and became fluent in Spanish and was fully integrated into my community and inducted into to the local hall of fame for building a hospital/library/school and no one will ever, ever forget me. Ever. Oh, I also saved all the babies.”
One-upper #3 (the blatant one-upper type): “Oh, my dad is BFFs with President Nieto. I’m basically his son. NBD.”
But, as much as I dislike one-uppers, I’m totally going to one-up all of you. Right now.
My friends are actually the best friends ever. Better than yours. They're basically Nieto's kids. NBD.
Besides being wonderful and thoughtful, they are just awesome. You want some proof? When we were about to leave, we received a barrage of presents, which might have been bizarre to some, but were perfect for us. That takes love and talent. So much so that I thought I'd blog about it...
Present #1: Geeky science t-shirts.
I think maybe the reason I stayed in grad school so long was to have an excuse to wear geeky science t-shirts as often as possible. Towards the end of my grad school career, after working in a lab several days a week, coupled with my clumsiness, my geeky science t-shirt reserves had been slowly diminished (read: I accidentally burned holes in a lot of them).
So, over the course of the past few months I have been sent back-ups (or maybe my boss knew no one else would hire me with holes in my shirts). In addition, having been unemployed, I have found that my geeky t-shirts are a perfect complement to both hippie skirts and pajama pants, 2 main staples of my clothing diet.
Present #2: A Little Disease Magic...
|Included with this gift was a note, which read: "Don't get too much diarrhea. Although, I hear it's a great diet."|
Not only have these been extraordinarily fun daytime reading for the unemployed-- leading to daydreams of newly discovered parasitic species, preferably via Mr. Kate, rather than myself, but these came in very handy during Mr. Kate's first battle with West African E. coli (he was very excited to learn he had probably contracted it through ingestion of contaminated feces).
|Did you really stop reading that horrible book to me just so you could take a picture?|
Leave. Me. Alone.
Also, you're right, it is a great diet.
Present #3: Arizona
Mr. Kate and I love this one. It's made of bamboo and I'm sure it's supposed to be a cutting board, but as soon as we get our things, I'm hanging it on the wall. This has been very perplexing to the woman who does the cooking during the week-- why would we not use a perfectly good cutting board?
|The little heart is over Tucson!|
Present #4: Love books
Two of our most wonderful presents currently sit on our coffee table. One is a book made by all of our friends, to remind us that no matter how far apart we are, we will always be together. The book includes pictures, stories and quotes from amazing times we have had with everyone we love. The other book is a handwritten book of blonde jokes, made by two of my very favorite people. These books give us constant reassurance ("you guys are amazing!"), love ("we love you even if we don't want to go to all the weird places you'll live"), and life lessons ("Do NOT try to sniff the scratch and sniff sticker at the bottom of the pool. It is a trick!").
And last, but certainly not least...
Present #5: The Winerack
I'm not sure if any present will ever surpass the awesomeness that is The Winerack. Made for discreet wine drinking, the wine rack fits easily under your shirt and makes you appear to have huge boobs. Then, you drink all the wine through a tube that goes down your sleeve, until- voila!- the wine is gone and your rack has returned to normal! Perfect for a small, pleasant dinner with the ambassador and his wife.
|That's basically what I look like when I'm wearing it. NBD.|
The best part of this present is the card it came with, which read:
Kate, you are going to be the BEST diplomats wife EVER. Go make us proud!
Mr. Kate might get to do some cool stuff for the next few years, but he will never get to wear the wine bra. No matter how much he begs. I am going to wear my Winerack to build a school, culturally integrate, and save ALL the babies. I win.