Thursday, March 19, 2009

day 30: novelty and reality

We've been here a month now, in this time we've learned how to shop for eggs and produce at the outdoor market, where to get the cheapest milk and chicken, where the best panades and garnaches are and how I can feel full on .50. I've learned the fastest way to get a collectivo (taxi), figured out M's school (and even managed to ask you all for help), had one visit to the MD and one to the moon, got a puppy and a hammock, learned how to cook with butane and have wielded more packing tape to ancient screens in the name of bug whispering than a girl should ever use in her lifetime. I've got some time here now, and all of this has led me to a few observations which I will kindly share with you.

1. To the makers of Charmin toilet paper: What gives? You make one kind of paper for the US and one for everywhere else? Do you think people here don't deserve to wipe their asses the same way as folks in the West? The crap you peddle here is ridiculous, I can't believe you put your brand on it which goes to show how little you must think of us, we who still need to wipe our asses even outside of the States. It's so thin it falls almost off the roll, and are the smallest rolls you can imagine. What gives, makers of Charmin?
2. What gives, makers of ice cream? Have you not found a way to import your wares into this country, so that we are forced to rely on the local ice cream, which is really just frozen milk and air and generally filled only about a third of the way up the container. What gives, Dreyers, Breyers and Baskin? There's a market here waiting for you. I don't even like ice cream but my kid does and this might be the least you can do.
3. Jungle bugs. You dudes are such suckers, literally. Must you bite us into oblivion? Must you be so creepy, falling off the walls and popping out in the dark? J stepped into a tick nest and who had to pull out 15 of you little suckers? Me, that's who. Using tweezers that once were for my eyebrows but since I haven't worn make up in a month haven't had to use till now) That's just gross, jungle bugs. The frog I accidentally grabbed this morning when reaching into my washing machine? This goes for you too, buddy.
4. What gives, sudden rainstorms? I'm feeling decidely amazonian, watching my freshly (and frog free) laundry swaying in the breeze between two palms like little prayer flags when suddenly it starts pouring, pouring, pouring. I think you like seeing me race out to the line and snatch things off like a crazy person only to stop raining as soon as I'm done. I get it, I'm a newbie. You could go easier on me is all I'm saying. Stop laughing at me.
5. What gives, jungle roads? People drive crazy, there are potholes and craters everywhere and I literally bounce along everywhere I go. You try carrying home eggs in a bag (no neat little egg cartons here folks) down those roads. Be sure to watch for the wild horses. And the dogs. And the pigs. And the roosters. And people. It's like Mr. Toad's Wild Ride every single day. No matter that M loves it, she rolls her window down all the way and hangs her head out screaming HORSES PIGS DOGS CHICKENS everywhere we go. No matter if that's really cute. Ok, it matters some. I don't really mind you that much, jungle roads.

The lovely Painted Maypole has kindly offered to facilitate getting supplies to M's jungle school. She is happy to have folks ship the donated items to her in the States and then she'll forward things along in one package OR she's offered to accept donations via paypal which she'll use to then purchase educational items for the classroom. If you are interested in either option, please email her directly at Isn't she the coolest chick ever?

Here's what the school looks like, the outside of the classroom and part of the playground. More pictures coming soon.

So if you'd still like to contribute to stocking a little Central American preschool with much needed educational supplies, this might make it easier for you. You can also scroll down to my Full Moon post and read the list of stuff they need. And for everyone who has already contacted me, I thank you so much. It's consistently humbling and amazing how this community of ours always seems to say yes.

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painted maypole said...

i guess good bad ice cream is the trade off for community and full moon fetivals.

even still, you'd think they could manage some decent toilet paper.

liv said...

i'm kind of thinking maybe you could use an old fashioned ice cream maker to appease the little princess.

Jessica said...

We called it ice milk. It's just so wrong!

Lara said...

Maybe we should send some rolls of US Charmin with those packages!!!

Magpie said...

Yeah - make your own ice-cream!

I love this post - it starts to paint a picture of things in a really concrete way.

Janet said...

My own preschooler freaked this morning when she saw an errant fly, tricked out of winter slumber by the spring-like weather we are having here.

She wouldn't last a day in your jungle, baby.

deezee said...

I love the photo of the school, but come on, you know we all want to see the puppy!

There was recently some article here about how the nice soft TP is bad, bad, bad because it's not made of recycled paper. So in an act of solidarity, we should all buy crappy (pun intended) stiff rough paper.

And I love how your humor boils over the lid in this post. You're in your element!

kgirl said...

That lovely little school looks just as I imagined it. And I also think my laundry on the line looks like prayer flags!

Tabba said...

I'm with Liz. My grandparents used to make homemade ice grandkids used to sit bouncing up and down holding our bowls in two hands waiting, waiting, waiting for the ice cream. They haven't made it in years. Boy do I miss it. It's the BEST ice cream EVER.

Love this post.

meno said...

A picture! At last!

Bugs make me itchy.

Amy Y said...

Wow! IT's been a month already?!
I like Painted Maypole's idea... I think I'll take her up on her offer. :)

Cold Spaghetti said...

I think the TP has to do with the septic systems... though I have not been to a place in Central America where TP went into the toilet after use -- it went into the trash can to be added into the weekly burn pit in the yard with the other trash.

I think you've found a good market for ice cream! Nestle markets ice cream through CA as D'Amico or something of that variety.

Christine said...

dude, i should send you some TP!

and painted maypole is the best, huh?


Gwen said...

You made me laugh, jen. Even though I have felt your pain. The bugs!! Oh, the bugs. We used to have shrews run into our showers. So be on the lookout.

Is the ice cream really not good? My daughters loved the Mexican kind last summer (I'm guessing it contained lard). Perhaps you can look for some of that, Mexico not being too far away and all.

And the toilet paper! Ahh, brings back childhood memories. My mom used to have to buy enough toilet paper for 4 years at a time and ship it out in drums. But her choices were awful and thin, too, and we had very strict rules about how many pieces we could use (2 for 1 and 4 for 2, if you understand my meaning). Good times, oh yes.

Krysten said...

ahhhh, i'm loving you more and more! your blog is blowing my mind and making me feel antsy and lovey and nostaligic (for some reason!).

Kyla said...

Man, I read these posts and think, I could never do that...and at the same time I'm totally loving that you are doing it. I smile and think about how right it seems for you. That's wonderful.

crazymumma said...

I can't right now hon. But if I could. i would come down and give my Opinion on Everything. Thats cheap. My opinion. on never mind. sigh. I just want more puppy info anyhow.