As I’ve said before, learning new things always creates entertainment for everyone! So I decided to let you in on some of the things I’ve been entertained by lately!
First off is a relatively safe topic—gardening. In the pictures you may have seen previously, I have what I call my “banana jungle” growing next to my house. This garden previously included several dead and rotting banana trees, lots of dead leaves hanging about, tall, thick weeds, a Bougainvillea tree (beautiful flowering tree with nasty, long thorny branches), a Yar tree (looks like a pine tree but is not), and various other findings of a plant and insect nature. The insect population is what concerned me as it seemed to encourage the flies and cockroaches around my house. Also, at the front of my porch I have several rose bushes (or rather trees, if you could see their size!) that needed cut back so that they no longer reached out to grab the careless passerby. The way things grow here it reminds me of the book The Journey to the Center of the Earth—remember when they get to the center of the earth and they find a hidden land where everything grows so big? That’s the way it is in this fertile ground here. Everything grows fast and thus can be pretty big in no time at all, it seems!
So last Saturday I decided to tackle this “jungle” and get it cleaned up. Borrowing tupela bus naip (two bush knives or machetes) and a pair of pruning shears I and my neighbor from upstairs set to work. Did you know that banana oil as found in the sap of the trunks stains clothing? Neither did I until later. Anyhow, my neighbor hacked back the usurping 8-9 foot branches off the Bougainvillea tree (for which she has the battle wounds to show for it!) while I hacked out the dead trees and trimmed up the dead leaves, both of us pulling weeds as we went. I am proud to say that several cockroaches bravely gave their lives in the battle, despite their attempted retreat. By the time we finished, it looked like a totally different place! The remaining live banana trees look quite nice now, the Bougainvillea tree is a little more civil, the rose bushes no longer reach 4 feet out into the yard (thanks to cutting off two 6-foot branches!), and amongst the weeds we were delighted to find onions growing!
Since my neighbor and I have only been in this country for several months between us, we told another neighbor, who’d lived here for about 9 years, what we’d found. Needing some onions for dinner, she asked if she could try one. Since they were small, I gave her one to try and gave her a larger one that I’d bought at the market. However, a few minutes later she came back laughing. She’d taken them in and cut into the smaller one only to have her husband tell her that it was not an onion but a flower bulb! He said they sprouted very pretty flowers and should probably be put back!!! LOL! And that’s how I came to feed my neighbors flowers (which thankfully they didn’t eat!).
Secondly, there’s the topic of language, which is bound to have lots of laughs whether you’re just learning it or have been speaking it for years. Being in language lessons now, my classmates and I keep each other thoroughly entertained! We’ve declared that we have “crazy legs” instead of “long” ones, that we’re “buying the food store” (the whole thing apparently!), that we’re “hopping/jumping” all the way to town, offering people rides on our “backsides” rather than the “backside of my bike”, that we’ll be riding the bus down through the bush and across the river (which is NOT possible, by the way—walking trails only and then wading the river!), calling a baby girl a baby boy (sorry, ma’am!), and either substituting Spanish or making up our own words when our limited vocabulary fails us! Thankfully we have patient teachers and everyone is willing to correct us and teach us the right way to say what we’re trying to say, laughing with us at our mistakes. (Like pointing out the onions in the garden we were working in this week and making sure I understood that these were sampelah anyan (onions) NOT sampelah plawa (flowers)! LOL!)
Thirdly (for I know there is an endless list of topics on which we might entertain each other but which will be the last presented here) is the topic of events—lots of little events that make up our everyday life. For instance, the other day, we were having a going away party for some families who have been serving here with us for many years. I asked a little neighbor girl if she could hold my water bottle while I set the food on the buffet counter. When I came back, she was pouring out water to all her little friends! LOL! I guess being from a large family she’s used to sharing everything! She was also my little recruiter. Last Saturday, after hearing my offer of chocolate chip banana bread to those kids who had been helping us move all of our piles of junk and weeds after my neighbor and I cleaned out our gardens, I overheard her telling any kids who were passing by that if they helped they could have some banana bread, too! Oh, there’s been other things—inside jokes, funny comments, funny events—but this post is long enough. I hope you’re entertained and encouraged to see the entertainment all around you!
To quote Pride and Predjudice: “What are we here for but to make sport for our neighbors and to laugh at them in our turn!”