Mostly because I want to retain some semblance of self-respect but I think that they must think I’m an idiot.
We did end up eating dinner from a communal bowl while we sat on a mat on the floor, and everyone did eat with their hands. Except for me, to whom they gave a fork and knife.
I finally understand how 白人 feel in Asian restaurants. It’s actually quite a sucky feeling to be given a fork and a knife.
Later, I found out that laundry is done on Thursdays. Since I have barely any clothes because of my backpacking plans, I had to do laundry tonight otherwise I’d have no clean clothes to wear tomorrow.
I basically ended up hanging it on what could be considered the inside of the house, though the laundry belonged on the roof. I know this sounds like barely a mistake, but when she told me to be sure to clean the bathroom floor when I was done, and repeated it to make sure I understood, I just felt so honteux and stupide.
Finally, there’s a bit of a language barrier. I need everyone to speak in French slowly, and for them to repeat what they say in order for me to understand. I also have trouble saying what I mean without a 5-second pause in the middle of each sentence.
Okay, honestly, I think I just need to relax. Part of the tension comes from the fact that I am Asian American and I wonder if there are any stereotypes in Senegal about “les chinois” about which I don’t even know. If I am any different than previous homestay students, I am afraid that they won’t chalk it up to individual differences but to my ethnicity.
But they probably aren’t observing me as closely as I am observing myself (or maybe they are..) and they’re probably really forgiving of mistakes (but what if I’m making egregious offenses).
I guess this a chance to break out of my comfort zone. Nnnngggg so uncomfortable. Got to accept that I can’t avoid offending and that being as awkward and jumpy as I am being now is SUPER AWKWARD.