Sunday, July 28, 2013


The last few days I have been sick with a bad cold. You know the whole deal sniffles, sneezes, body aches, runny nose, coughing and a sore throat. I am feeling a bit better today, so no worries or anything. It's just being sick like that really makes you wish you were home, or at least in a place where there are the comforts of home. Someone to tuck you into bed and brew you a cup of tea. The possibility of a warm bath. A refrigerator full of easy to make food for when you aren't feeling well enough to venture to the market yourself. Or just someone to give you a big hug.

Apparently this led me to more list making ---
So like last week, I am going to give you some more lists. I like lists.. I hope you do to.
This week it isn't a reading list. This week I'm going to talk about comforts.


Comfort Items I Packed From Home

Photographs: I know in the past I have mentioned the importance of having a photo album for showing neighbors. In the Beninese culture, it is normal to pull out family photo albums of big events to share with your visitors. Especially if it is a new acquaintance. I know that most of my friends and neighbors have really appreciated me sharing my photos with them as well. It is more than that though. It is also an important thing to have for yourself. I keep photos up on my walls. That way I don't have to sit and open a book to think about home, I have all these great memories I can just look at whenever. Sometimes you don't even realize you need to see your best friends smile until you happen to pass it on the wall and you feel 100 times better than you did a second before. 

Comfy (and warm) Pajama Pants: I get cold really easy (yes even in the tropics). I am the type of person who will quickly adjust to 90 degree weather, and then when it drops to 85 I will be bundled like its 70. So in packing to come here... I packed for tropical weather, not taking into consideration that by month 3 I would be adjusted and wishing I had packed some warmer clothes. I wasn't thinking ahead. I did however buy a really comfy pair of lounge/pajama pants in a last minute packing crisis target trip. These pants have proven to be one of the only clothing items from home that I still wear regularly even thought they don't leave the house. When I am sitting around, I can be comfortable, and that is important.

Computer: This is an obvious one.. and at first my paranoid half wasn't sure about even listing it. Then I realized that anyone who reads this blog OBVIOUSLY knows I have a computer. So whateves... Anyway as a member of my generation – my netbook is a necessity. Not feeling well? Watch a movie. Stressed? Play a game. Have some thoughts but you live in a country with horrible gridded paper?.. No biggie just type it up. Your handwriting is atrocious anyway. For example. I couldn't post on this blog every week if I didn't have a computer. Even if there are some weeks when I don't want to write, in the end I am glad that I have this blog as a sort of time marker, or set thing that I have to make myself do each week. Kind of like getting out of bed in the morning.

Comfort Items I Bought In Benin

Overpriced Soft Pillow: I didn't pack a pillow. I am not a pillow person. That is probably funny to my parents because I own tons of pillows. Seriously though, for sleeping I don't generally use one. I like them for sitting. Or for propping myself up while reading. I also like them for hugging or throwing in my sleep – the latter being what usually happens if I fall asleep with one under my head. Anyway.. I didn't pack a pillow, and then I promptly bought one, and it makes me happy. 

Electric Tea Pot: I bought an electric tea kettle at a local grocery store. This allows me to make tea after dark without having to go out to my kitchen to boil water. My kitchen is attached to the house, so going out to it isn't really a big deal. However it is somewhat open, and on the other side of my back patio. I can now avoid the mosquitoes and the waste of gasoline that previously caused me to not always make myself a cup of tea during the hours that I normally want to drink one. All I have to do is fill it with water and plug it in.

Pagne: A pagne is a 2 meter piece of fabric. You can not be a volunteer in Benin and avoid owning at least 5 pagnes. This fabric can be used to have clothes made of course, but a two meter piece is also ideal for a blanket, or towel, or exercise mat cover, or a table cloth and so on and so forth. I like things I can wrap myself in when I'm not feeling well. Like blankets. So as basic as owning a pagne is, kind of like eating beans and rice, it still makes the list as a super important comfort item.

Comfort You Have Sent Me

Letters: Believe it or not, letters aren't a one time use item. Did you send me a funny story? I can always read it again if I need a laugh. Thinking of you but I can't call.. maybe I will just reread one of your letters and it will almost feel like we got a chance to chat. Unlike emails, I can hold them in my hands and they are still there if the power is out or the internet is down. Letters are good for smiles.

Nail Polish: This is NOT an invitation for EVERYONE to start sending me nail polish. The reason I don't need everyone to send me nail polish is that I have one really amazing awesome friend who already has this task covered. As far as a comfort item, the reason this (somewhat obscure) care package item is making the list, is because sometimes after a rough day you just need to pamper yourself. Sometimes, putting on a new coat of nail polish while you watch a favorite old movie is just the way to do it. Sometimes you just need to feel pretty, and believe me after you put on a new coat of nail color, all the mamas in the marche will have positive feed back to give you as well. Nail polish, not only comfort but also approval from the mamas, can't go wrong with that.

Snacks & Candy: This goes with out saying. Nothing beats food from home when you are stressed, homesick, real sick, or even just worn down. I don't think I really need to elaborate on that.. but maybe just say thank you again for everyone who is doing their best to keep me well stocked.


Like I said, I'm not feeling 100% so that's all for this week. If I am feeling better I will do a post some time this week with pictures or something. I know everyone likes when I post pictures.

Love and Miss

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