I Know, ou, je les connais mais pas savoir

A breakfast at Weaver with Ms. Elizabeth Johnson :Berry Spread, sweet tangy goat cheese, and warm baguette.

English is ironic it makes no sense, yet is quite simple. For example, we have one word to describe “knowing.” In French, “connaitre” describes the knowing of people, things, and ideas with a familiarity, a personal touch. In contrast, the verb “savoir” is used to describe the knowing of that which is objective, the facts, the figures, the stuff which probably has nothing to do with my opinion. Of course, its French…. so all rules are bendable, but its a start no?

I have officially started this packing business, and by that, I mean I have obtained an ostentatiously large and fantastic hat- yes, it is straw, tan, from JCrew, and would have been colonial. In the spirit of beginnings as the year in fact ends, I decided to figure out if I knew anything right now. Below find the first installment of Things I “Know.” 

PS: I’m in a ramblin’ mood, but narry a worry- this is a fun one.

Ten Things I “Know” About this Summer:

1) I will eat far more than my weight in fruit… probably in the first month. The peanut butter will be delicious, with added salt of course– and yes, the PB you adore so much has sugar and salt added to it. Factoid: the US is the #1 producer of peanuts, and Senegal is the #2 producer. Each roadside ’boutique’ has individually roasted PB [aka tegga degga], so every day, every where, the taste is just a tad different, maybe smokey, maybe a bit tart, but delicious. Also Nicecream: the best ice cream in Africa- its happening.

2)I need to find friends to go out with, because yes, safety first.. Plan: scope out friends at my research center & at cafes. My host family, a French ex-pat sculptor and his Senegalese wife, will not be quite the right company. On the other hand, I’m definitely looking forward to some fantastic art lessons?

3)Goal: Work on Lebanese French accent… or maybe even a wee bit of Arabic. This may simply be an excuse to eat good Lebanese food and hangout with said persons. Side note: due to French colonialism, there are quite a few Lebanese people in Senegal who were essentially the bourgeoisie, or the business class of people. According to Ms. Stephanie Najjar, the Lebanese men are the best looking as well. This I know though: falafel is delicious.

4) I will get Senegalese salsa music. Yes, you may be laughing at me, but beware, it does indeed exist! Is it Wolof, is it Spanish? Just 4 U is a supremely famous club that has live salsa style music almost every night. Somehow in-between world wars and the Cold One’s end, Spanish flavour made its way to Senegal. Thus, enjoy, and I will be sure to provide you with more tidbits of this, and not just mbalax, later.

5) I will remember to master my hand skills:

The Wiggle: to thwart off the hagglers, simply give a good horizontal shake of the hand to show that I am not a new one.

The different handshakes, from the creepy forfinger tickle of the palm to the reflexive individual hand clasp when greeting imams or prestigious men

The growing experience of writing

Peeling fruit

Not using my left hand… ever…for anything. When sweeping? Behind my back.

And the greetings to the heart. After we shake, I bring my right hand to my heart because I hold our relationship close to it.  This is something I love.

6) It will be bizarre, some sort of homecoming, a place of safety, a new level of newness, and it will be toasty and moist [worst onomatopoeia ever].

7) Marriage proposals will be even more serious, abundant, and harder to evade this time, if only for my age. Being to young officially does not count anymore in Senegal.

8) I’m still not going to be the token American, but I will definitely be contributing and leaving different memories, aspects, and imprints this time.

9) Packing: gratifying, it can make me remember, cleanse, and it’s always going to be too heavy. I will leave with more ,and different, than I came with.

10) I need to get a Senegal shot glass to add to my 8th grade collection. Somehow, ever since I visited the Linville Caverns I thought they were the coolest little tea cups. Well, now its a tradition, and this time I will obtain one. Additionally, in following my knackerings for bartending skills, I will search for a Senegal drink. I’ll keep you updated, even if its just the Senegalese “Indian Schweppes Tonic” & gin.

That is it [a lot] for the first list, but I bid you adieu with my dinner of the night, accompanied by this swiftly smooth song. Bon soiree!

Sesame Panini with Lemon Malbec & Balsamic seared Portobello, roasted brie, and fresh julienned pears and avocado.
A side of mesclun greens, pear, avocado, organic vine tomatoes, and a homemade lemon Dijon dressing.
A glass of Argentinian Malbec

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