If you’ve ever lived abroad, then you will understand the whole adjustment process that occurs when you settle yourself in a vastly different culture.  Even if you have moved cross-country (like east coast to west coast, south to north, etc), then you’ve felt it a little.  I had the realization the other day that there are some ways in which I truly have adjusted to living in TZ, but there are some things that make me markedly American.  So, I wanted to share some of them with you.

Ways In Which I Have Adjusted

  • I put a jacket on Tuesday morning…I don’t know what the temperature was, but it was probably still in the 70s.
  • I no longer look to see how I’m supposed to eat something (if the spoon doesn’t work, just pick it up with your hands!)
  • I can eat spaghetti with a spoon
  • I don’t mind if someone is sitting at “my” desk
  • When picking out outfits, I go for a skirt first
  • I’ve eaten raw maize (and would do it again)
  • I’m a pro at eating ugali…well, almost
  • Finding a few feathers left on my piece of chicken doesn’t gross me out
  • I don’t notice when people are staring as much

Ways In Which I Am Still Very American

  • If I have the option of using a fork, I will still use it
  • I prefer floss over toothpicks (which you need almost anytime you eat meat)
  • I still like for things to start on time
  • Compared to Tanzanians, I feel like a major planner
  • Some days I really just want to wear a long shirt and leggings (which would not be OK)
  • I feel loud
  • I get frustrated at the inefficiencies
  • Even though I’m learning more Swahili every week, I still don’t know that much, which sometimes creates a problem when people at work assume I’ve understood what was said in a conversation

I’m sure there are a lot more things that could be added to either list, but those are what I can think of at the moment.



  1. project30in2012 · · Reply

    Great to read that you are adjusting! We miss you 🙂

    1. Miss you, too!!

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