Thursday, November 09, 2006

You’ve got questions

First of all. Check out the number one cool thing about Senegal. (Found via my referral log).

My brother claims that I am now officially a big fish in a small pond, and that I need to find a bigger pond or else I'll end up like a tiny, stunted goldfish who never realizes her potential. He suggested Antarctica.

But I promise: I won’t let this go to my head.

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Meanwhile, Dear Interweb,

Thank you for your questions. You made my afternoon.

Please continue to ask more questions.

I heart you,
Naomi

P.S. Doomu Senegal, you didn’t ask a question, but you totally left the world’s most awesome comment. Ak beug na ko bind ci Wolof, waaye xamuma…. (And that’s probably totally ungrammatical…) Dinaa lekk theibugen pour yow. (Eek, more ungrammaticality!) Jangal ak jamm ci Amerik!

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For lack of a better system, I’m going to answer one question a day, in the order in which they arrived, until I run out.

So without further ado, Lauren asks:

You wrote a few months back about being in a relationship with a Senegalese man. Do you have any current prospects? How is the love life? Do you miss dating American men?

Dearest blog friends,

There's something I've been keeping from you.

Remember when I made a big deal about a certain dreamy Senegalese boy?

Theo and Phillipe
(He's the one not wearing sunglasses.)

And when I made an even bigger deal about breaking up with him?

Well, here's what I never told you. It totally didn’t stick.

We were broken up for a month or so, during which time I had a big ol’ crush on a Senegalese boy whose family came from Benin, and went on a date or two with a different boy, actually from Benin.

But throughout, Théo refused to disappear. I’d told him we could be friends, so he’d send me text messages, and sign them, “your friend, Théo.”

One day he came over to surprise me with mangoes from his aunt’s backyard tree (but I wasn’t home).

Another day he invited me to dinner—which he cooked. (Which is especially impressive considering that Senegalese boys? Do. Not. Cook. Ismaillah told me the other day he doesn’t know how to make white rice.)

And I kept pretending (mostly to myself) that I wasn’t totally thrilled that I got to hang out with him still, and that I wasn’t still thinking about him all the time.

And then I came home from Israel, and went to celebrate a big summer festival with his family (ostensibly the guest of his sister, my good friend). Of course, just as I was admitting to myself that this whole broken up thing wasn’t working out for me, he decided to give up on me entirely. But… we worked it out.

He’s the one, by the way, who bought me ngalax the other day.

He’s also in one of the pictures in the posting about giving away the shoes.

So do I miss American boys? Well, to be honest, I didn’t date a lot of American boys when I was in America, so I don’t know that I can say that I do.

There are definitely challenges to dating Théo. For one thing, even though French is our common language, it’s neither of our first languages.

And there’s baggage that comes along with a relationship between a Senegalese person and a westerner.

You can only have complete strangers declare their undying love to you simply because of your white skin and supposed riches so many times (I had one taxi driver tell me, flat out, that he wanted a white wife so he would never have to work again) before you begin to develop a bit of a complex.

And on the flipside, Théo hates the assumption that he’s a kept man, only in it for the money. But what I earn for a single day’s work at VOA can be more than he’ll earn in an entire month. So it can be… complicated.

But then he comes over and we cook dinner together and watch a DVD (dubbed in French, with English subtitles) curled up on (what passes for) the couch, and…

Well… He makes me happy.

3 Comments:

Blogger Laurie said...

Awwww, that is so cute. Being happy is the important part. I am glad I asked!

7:20 PM  
Anonymous Doomu Senegaal said...

Thanks for the nice words. And don't worry, I totally understood what you said in wolof :) I find it truly amazing when I meet open minded people who decide to learn the language just for fun, because there really is no material/professional reasons to do so.
About the ceebu jen comment, my favorite dish is actually ceebu yapp and I truly think it ought to be our national dish. I have never met anyone who's eaten it and not liked it. I love it and could it every day. It's most certainly what I miss the most here. Kon lekkalma ceebu yapp :)
I wanted to comment on the issue of how caucasian women are viewed in senegalese society. You were spot on in your analysis, sadly enough. But that's what 200 years of french colonialism coupled with poverty does to one's mind. That's why we've had two caucasian women as first ladies, including the current one. I don't have anything against it, but I just think mixed relations have to be based on love, not material interests/inferiority complex. Inshallah when the country gets more developped, people will get rid of this pathetic mentality. But I am truly amazed that you don't let it get to you and develop a complex, as tempting as it is. As for Theo, he seems like an exception and a great guy. Good luck with him. Ba beneen

10:23 PM  
Blogger Scooter said...

You're happy, that's what matters.

6:37 AM  

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