When I woke up my dad called me on the phone, concerned because he had heard from my mom that I was feeling depressed. My parents were great about being supportive and reminded me that it was totally acceptable if I needed to come home, even if I had to take a gap semester or year. I knew that it wasn’t Namibia itself that was making me depressed, it was the limitations to my ability to get out of my room. I’m not someone who copes well with being in a small, dark room with nothing to accomplish very well. I just knew that I needed to get an internship that would reliably take me out of my room on a regular basis and give me purpose because without any homework and only a screen to stare at I felt empty.
It was only about five minutes after this conversation that the universe said ‘I can’t deal with all of the wallowing in self-pity! Here!’ and I received a phone call from Irene. Irene is the audiologist from the Ministry of Education and a potential internship assisting with research related to Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. She was calling to inquire about a potential interview tomorrow afternoon, and I jumped at the opportunity.
My first class was Introduction to Ecology in which our substitute went on a tangent about the number of potential children a woman might have if she were to be pregnant constantly throughout her fertile years: approximately 32. This somehow being related to the adaptations that organisms have to temperature extremes.
In my Mycology lab we scraped fungi off of a plate of agar and looked at it under a microscope. My plate was full of disgustingly fun, fuzzy fungi including a weird reddish thing that felt like hard candy which was covered in a white fuzz and a light green mossy-looking mold that occupied the corners.
I tried to read my book in between classes but was interrupted by Winston, the man with the Nike checkmark on his tooth, once again. This time we talked about politics – stretching the reaches of corruption in SWAPO to the injustice of the American Justice System. We talked about genetics and about eugenics and about racism and how they were all related. And then I got a text message an hour before class that it had been canceled because my professor decided he didn’t want to come so I went back to my dorm.
I wasn’t at Emona very long before Kendra came and found me and asked if I wanted to go to the post office to retrieve our packages. She said she needed a ‘feisty bitch’ because the lady at the post office had refused to give her her package because she didn’t have an invoice from her mother. Well, one feisty bitch coming up. We returned to the post office and Kendra had typed an invoice of everything she was receiving and then had to pay a ridiculous amount of money to receive the package. I asked about the location of my package because the last update had been January 29th and I wanted to know what had happened to my goodies. They pulled it out of the back and said that I also needed an invoice. Just in case you haven’t sent a package via USPS – there’s an invoice of the contents pasted on the outside of the box that they had decided wasn’t an acceptable invoice, rather, we should write one up and bring it. As if I should know what kind of bullshit someone has decided to send me as a gift. I told them, “Alright, well I doubt my family will remember what they threw into this monstrously large box more than a month ago so let’s open it up and I’ll write an invoice right now.” And that’s exactly what we did, and then I had to pay US$10 to receive my 58-pound package.
Would you like to guess what the mysterious contents were?
You see, I had packed a box for myself that I had asked my parents to mail to me as soon as I landed because I knew it would take at least a month to arrive. In my box had been a Nutribullet blender, a boat load of sunscreen and additional hygiene products, my prescription medication refills, and some sheet masks. In addition to what I had packed myself I asked for my Teva’s, mask, and snorkel because I realized immediately that I had forgotten these things. What arrived in the mail was a box which contained my Teva’s, mask, snorkel, and 50 pounds of soup which my mother had spent four times their value to send to me. And when I called to ask my mother why on Earth, she would send me 50 pounds of soup while I’m living in the hottest part of the planet, she just kept answering in a high-pitched sing song voice ‘Soup for Sarah!’
“Mom, why did you spend $170 to send me fifty pounds of soup? I don’t even like most of these!” “SoUP foR SAraH.”
After that ridiculous debacle we ate dinner, cauliflower fried rice (did you know cauliflower is spelled like that? I thought it was spelled cauliflour and just went through a whole cognitive dissonance with my memory – it’s a whole Mandela effect, I’m about to form some weird conspiracy theories about aliens changing the spelling of cauliflower just to fuck with my brain.) I’m fairly certain I’ve lost weight and I’m pretty sure it’s because we’re eating healthier here than I ever have in my entire life. Most of our meals are vegetarian or vegan and full of vegetables. I’m drinking a fruit smoothie every morning – usually with chia seeds and peanut butter and maybe some spinach. I need to try and find protein powder to add though because I think I’m lacking in protein among my macromolecules. I’m going through a tub of Nutella a week though, I buy the big giant ones thinking it’ll last me a while and then I just crave nuts and it’s the easiest thing in reach and next thing I know I’m scraping Nutella off the sides of the jar with a spoon and it’s empty.
Just before I went to bed I mentioned to Ben and Elsie that I had a cold sore on the inside of my lip that really hurt. It was then that they mentioned that they also had just developed cold sores. And then it dawned on me that we all share drinks all the time, and even though I hadn’t shared anything recently because I knew I had a cold sore, that we had all probably given each other oral fucking herpes. And that’s how I ended my day.