Life forms within the map


At first I was unsure of what to expect of her, but soon that became clear. She opened her mouth and the stories poured forth in an enthralling, exuberant, and unstoppable stream. She barely needed prompting, from topic to topic she would continue to gush with vivid description, speaking as a true local. Her stories were mostly of Africa – Uganda, Kenya, and Ethiopia. She was dramatic, driving each point home before moving on to the next. I found it easy to visualize her stories and descriptions. She spoke with knowledge, of politics, personal stories, and culture.

Quickly Addis Ababa came to life in my mind and I was visualizing what it would be like in the urban African city of 4 – 7 million. The roads, the prices, the scenes, the cultural divide between men and women, the absence of adequate water and electricity, the huge juicy mangoes, all of a suddenly it was bustling with life in my mind. I could see the complete culture shock that I would experience. Girls just don’t talk? Guys and girls don’t date? Married people stay at home? I could see myself being very unusual and standing out – talking to girls? Will they talk back?

The map has come to life, and I begin to see where the next year of my life will unfold.