In keeping with the FD spirit to regularly challenge myself to step outside my comfort zone, I have decided to make 2015 a year of monthly challenges. My 2014 #30×30 challenge for FD was so rewarding for many reasons, so I wanted to give myself something to work for as I count down the months to graduation next May. Added bonus: I’ve discovered that challenges help my sanity during the semesters!
When most people see my right arm now, they don’t notice a thing. But every single day, I look down and thank my lucky stars…
I’m discovering, however, what can be accomplished when, stripped of your life vest, you let go of the boat and start to try to swim. From what I can tell, learning how to swim sans lifejackets is where my Tanzanian colleagues are vikings. Today was a perfect example of that.
When I told my friend that I was going to Zanzibar yesterday, she asked if I meant the same Zanzibar from the Tenacious D song. I’ll leave out the title, as I know my mom is reading this blog, but the line from the song alludes to a far off place where the crooner would be willing to go to seduce a lady. For me as well, Zanzibar was a far off place I assumed I would never see…until it turned out to be a twenty minute jumper flight away from Dar es Salaam.
It seems I stumbled upon another version of the “Can we have our cake and eat it too” discussion, which will hardly be put to bed in one blog entry. However, it is reassuring to me that my female colleagues in Tanzania are having this same debate as my dear friends and I often have in the US.
It always amazes me the similarities I find among JSI people worldwide; I feel the same way frequently when I meet other Brunonians out in the world. There is a quality, a personality trait, I can’t quite put my finger on it–that I find in my fellow colleagues and former classmates. I am reminded how fortunate I am to have studied and work with such smart, passionate, fascinating, and driven people. JSI, for me, is a grown-up extension of my Brown experience, and as long as I have opportunities to travel like this, to get outside of my comfort zone, and see the work from new perspectives, I cannot see how I could ever leave this company.
While I am learning the ropes here in Tanzania, I am also trying to pick up a bit of Swahili . I received some coaching on my first day in the office, and have been trying my hand at it around the hotel today, during the national holiday, Eid. I am slowly getting the hang of it, though I am incredibly grateful that many of these initial greetings have standardized or expected responses (hence the title of this blog.) As I learn to navigate here, I am grateful to be able to be a bit of a parrot in my early attempts at speaking a new language. My goal is to have a few responses come more naturally by the time I leave.