Wednesday, September 18, 2013

What does genuine excitement sound like?

Yesterday I wrote a blog post about the top ten things I miss most about the US. As I was writing out that list there were several things I considered including, but ultimately decided I didn’t REALLY miss them.  For instance, I considered mentioning that I missed having consistent electricity.  I thought about it a bit and realized I actually don’t miss having electricity whenever I want it.  Yes, it is a convenience, but not exactly a necessity.  Now, if I was in a hospital in the middle of having a medical procedure I would probably have a different opinion.  But at this point I have become accustomed to the blackouts and don’t find them overly problematic.

When I went to Victoria Falls for my UNWTO conference (read about that here, here, here, here and here) a few weeks ago I arrived at the Gaborone airport to find there was no electricity, so they were checking everyone in by hand with torches (flashlights).  We’ve lost power in my building on campus twice while I’ve been in my office, but as it was in the middle of the day I simply opened my door and window and kept on working.

When we lose electricity at home that is a little different.  We almost always lose electricity in the evening, typically right around the time you are making dinner.  So whenever I have guests over I always remind them that in the event of a power outage we will have to either move our party to someone else’s house or go to a restaurant.

We have lost electricity in our neighborhood every night this week.  We generally only lose it for a few hours, and it normally comes back on just in time to take a shower and get ready for bed.  But that’s why I’ve learned the importance of keeping my computer and ipad batteries fully charged so I have something to do until the lights are restored.

This evening as I was editing a paper from one of my grad student’s by candlelight I could hear the neighborhood kids playing outside.  I don’t blame their parents.  After all, what do you do with a bunch of little ones inside their hot, dark houses, especially when they haven’t been fed yet?  So all the parents take their kids outside, shine flashlights on them and let them play football (soccer) until the electricity returns.  As I had turned off all the lights in the house the kids outside alerted me when the power returned with a joyful and exuberant shout for joy and cheering.  As I laughed hearing their happy outburst, I shook my head thinking, “Wow, THAT is the sound of genuine excitement.” 

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