froid: cold. “il fait froid.”
it’s cold in cotonou. yesterday’s high was 86 and today’s high is 85… brrrr! no, seriously! i have actually been wearing a long sleeve shirt the past two days, which is nothing compared to the people wearing wool sweaters and face masks!
fâché: angry. “je suis fâché.”
some of you may know that different cultures view time differently. americans are a “time sensitive” culture, meaning we attach significance to hours and minutes. this is evidenced by sayings such as, “time is money.” on the other hand, africa is an “event sensitive” culture. so if someone says “i’ll be there at 3pm,” that really means, “i’ll be there whenever i finish what i was doing before 3pm.” it’s a cultural difference, it’s not bad, it’s normal, and i know that.
what is NOT normal is to say on sunday, “lets meet monday. i’ll call before i come.” no show, no phone call. monday and tuesday pass, wednesday night phone call: “can i come tomorrow? i’ll be there between 11 and 2.” no show, no phone call. thursday and friday pass. “can we meet next monday?” no show, no phone call. this is ridiculous.
what is even MORE ridiculous is to find your class, that you manage and schedule and teach, has been canceled by someone else without asking permission or even calling to let you know. that is enough to send this girl through the roof, which i realize could seem dramatic from the outside… but when it’s the only predictable thing in my life?!?! ah, vraiment, je suis fâché!!
football: soccer. “j’aime le football!”
soccer is possibly the most international sport ever. when i was salsa dancing sunday night, the africa cup was on, and more than once my partner would strategically lead me in such a way that he could watch the match. churches schedule mass viewings of games with projectors (which, you have to remember, is quite a scene when projectors are so scarce!). at night i fall asleep the the sounds of neighbors cheering or shouting in anguish. it’s a very charged atmosphere.