Thursday, May 03, 2012

Long distance relationship at 6961 miles

Sometimes Andrew stays in places (like the Technological College, which is where they're at now)  where the internet is so painfully slow (...because it makes sense that the Technological College would have subpar internet...) that we can't do anything fun (like use Skype) so instead we just chat to each other online and I like that almost as much. In fact, it might even be better than Skyping because then the kids don't get so wild and crazy showing off for the camera. Instead they talk and I type and then Andrew types and I talk and so forth and we only occasionally end up wild and crazy.

Today we had kind of a wild and crazy day, anyway, so I was happy to have the girls sit calmly beside me while we chatted with daddy. We started chatting around 5:00 PM our time, which is 11:00 PM his time. My friend Cristina had come over to help me not go crazy by providing me with grown-up talk and my children another body to jump on. It was most helpful.

She was still here when I noticed Andrew was online and I had just sent Rachel's little friend home. So I took the opportunity to let him know we were around. What follows is a truncated version of our conversation—I omitted several links to pictures of ladies carrying things on their heads, termite mounds, and mud huts (you can look those things up yourself).

Nancy 4:50 She's gone now and I am going to make dinner while Cristina plays with the girls. But WHAT to make for dinner. That is the question...

Andrew 4:50 Something delicious and non-Ghanaian.

Nancy 4:57 I'm thinking hummus.

Andrew 4:57 Ooh.

Nancy 4:58 Yeah. We have those little dipper cup things.

[I think by this point Cristina had left to go home to her husband so I gave up on dinner and just called the girls into the office so we could chat with Daddy for a while. Rachel will talk to me in normal tones but just about shouts anything she wants me to type to Andrew—she kind of cranes her neck toward the monitor and speaks loudly while over-enunciating, as if he might be able to hear her. It's funny. She has much more endurance for chatting with Daddy than Miriam does, as you'll probably see.]

Nancy 4:58 M—Yat's Daddy! [sic—because Miriam always says "yat" instead of "that."]

Andrew 4:58 Yep. 'Tis Daddy. How's Miriam feeling?

Nancy 4:58 Miriam's better today—isn't that weird? She's like, not sneezy.

Andrew 4:58 Tooty.

Nancy 4:58 And I've only had to wipe her nose a handful of times.

Andrew 4:59 But the bless-you kind.

Nancy 4:59 R — Dada, I'm excited to watch Star Wars 2 when you get home.
M — And Star Wars 4 and Star Wars 5 and Star Wars 2!

Andrew 5:00  :)

[We spent the next several lines sending different emoticons back and forth because the girls think it's hilarious—two minutes worth of emoticons. Aren't you glad I spared you?]

Nancy 5:02
R — A different day we were playing together without even fighting.
M — And I…I don't know. I just asked mom to just put some water in this cup.
R — In the tigger cup.
R — I can balance water in a cup on my head like the girl on Jungle Book.
R — I did it outside.

Andrew 5:03 Like all the ladies here

Nancy 5:04
R — Why did you say that?

Andrew 5:04 All the ladies here carry stuff on their heads—heavy stuff: boxes of water, food, groceries...

Nancy 5:05
R — But why? Why do they carry water on their heads, Dad?
R — We carry things with our hands.
R — Do they type with their heads?
R — Did you see any people carrying things on their head?

Andrew 5:09 All the time. Every time the bus stops they come. They sell stuff at every stoplight.

Nancy 5:10
R — I wonder what they make their houses with.
R — Where did you go today?

Andrew 5:10 They make their houses out of termite clay. Termites are like ants. They build big hills of mud for their houses.

Nancy 5:12
R — Mud? Ummm…were you funny today? Hucky ducky wucky ducky. That's funny.

[Every time we talk to him she asks if he was funny that day. I don't know why.]

Andrew 5:12 And people use that and mix it with regular mud and make their houses.

Nancy 5:12
R — What happens when it rains? Because, like, clay is like mud and it can't get wet!

Andrew 5:12 They paint all the mud houses so the mud stays dry,

Nancy 5:13
R — Oooooh! What colour do they paint it?

Andrew 5:13 Lots of colors: red, green, blue. Actually, the main cell phone companies (Vodafone, et al) offer to paint poor people's houses for free in exchange for free advertising so there are villages full of red Vodafone huts.

Nancy 5:15 I read an article in LDS living about the church in Papua New Guinea…and they showed pictures of a baptism in a river with people with HUGE sticks to bat away crocodiles. Freaky. That's all I have to say about that.

Andrew 5:15 Yikes.

Nancy 5:15 Not that that has anything to do with houses...

Nancy 5:16
R — Like Jabba the Hut.
Me — Not like Jabba the Hut.
R — Why do they call Jabba the Hut a hut if he's not a hut. If a hut is a house...

Andrew 5:16 Like, um, crocodiles? Oh—huts.

Nancy 5:16 Yeah.

Andrew 5:16 Because Huts in Star Wars are a species of big slug things/people. Two Ts: Hutt.

Nancy 5:17 Ah, that's my ignorance right there.
R — Does Yoda live in a hut?

Andrew 5:17 Be enlightened:
Yoda lives in a hut, one t. Though if Jabba ate him, he'd live inside a two-t hutt. And if Jabba then moved to a hut, Yoda would live in a Hutt inside a Hut...until he was digested. Anyway...

Nancy 5:18 Wow.

Nancy 5:19
Me — I think I'm going to go deaf.
R — There were TWO hutts in Star Wars 1
Me — All she wants to talk about it star wars.

Andrew 5:21 What a nerd. 

Nancy 5:21
R — I made a card for you at school yesterday because it's almost Mother's Day. Get it? Hahahaha
R — When are you going to be on skype?

Andrew 5:22
Maybe tomorrow, depending on if the hotel has internet. If not, then Monday.

Nancy 5:22
R — Do you live in a mud hotel?
R — They make their houses out of that so I think they make their hotels out of that.

Andrew 5:23 Nope. This one is made of cement, like in Egypt. Poor people use mud. Bigger buildings are made of cement, like Egypt.

Nancy 5:23
R — Because big buildings are not poor people.
Me — True enough; but neither are buildings rich people. Buildings simply are not people.

Andrew 5:24 Corporations are though.

Nancy 5:24 Totally.

Nancy 5:25
R — Is it almost midnight at your cement hotel?

[Rachel has just about taken over the keyboard by this time.]

Andrew 5:25 It is almost midnight.

Nancy 5:25 jhiujt6dfjkhge

Andrew 5:25 I'm just finishing one last (picture-less) blog post.

Nancy 5:26 Alright; we love you! *I* love you.

Andrew 5:26 I love you guys!

Nancy 5:26  cat 1234567890

Andrew 5:27 Especially *you.*

[By *you* he means *me.* We ended by exchanging a million emoticons once again, much to the delight of the children.]

Sometimes it's interesting for me to hear the questions that Rachel comes up with. She asks questions I would never think to ask. For example, when Andrew said that they paint the huts I thought, "Ah, that makes sense—so it kind of seals out the moisture." But Rachel wanted to know what colour they painted their huts so we got to learn that phone companies sometimes sponsor the paint, which is interesting, I think. We could do a photo essay on "The Vodafone Village," or something like that...

She's always coming up with questions and just gets curiouser and curiouser with each answer. I probably had that same curiosity at one point in my life and while I still consider myself curious I also ponder things a lot longer before I ask any questions about it—I like to look things up before I ask questions. She just asks away. I'm not sure that's a bad thing (although sometimes I have to tell her to just think about her questions in her mind because I run out of energy to field her questions).

Anyway, it's almost midnight here now in my wooden-framed, brick-covered house, which has a nicely shingled roof to keep all the rain out...and glass in the windows...and doors with locks...and carpet on the floors...and a big cozy bed with lots of pillows.

How lucky am I that my door isn't painted Vodafone red?

[Andrew is in Kumasi right now, which is apparently approximately 6961 miles away from Orem, as the crow flies...not that a crow would fly that far.]

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