This is a guide for my family and friends about my life as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Cape Verde, Africa. I teach English as foreign language to high school students in Boa Vista, Cape Verde. Also as a disclaimer, the comments expressed here are solely of the author and do not represent the United States Peace Corps, the American Government, or any other governing body.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

So let's be honest here. I am nearly 25 years old and I have developed a large zit on the right side of my chin, just below my mouth. And it's large. One of the largest I've had in a while. Having surpassed puberty a while ago, I don't generally get many outbreaks, or random huge zits; but the combination of hormones in my body, oil on my face, and stress in my life combined to form a nice little red lump on my chin. Now, you're probably asking yourself why on earth I would go through all the trouble of describing something so ugly and repulsive. The answer is this: every time I see someone I know, the zit is the first thing that's pointed out to me. Friends, students, boyfriend, even people I have just met feel it their place in life to inform me at that moment that I have a huge zit on my chin and make a face. Of course there is nothing I can do to get rid of it any faster, I just have to wait for the thing to simply go away. But that doesn't stop my boyfriend from looking at me every day and asking, "How's the zit today?" It's fine, thank you; a little cranky, but otherwise in a fairly good mood, I'm glad you asked. I have daily reminders that this thing is there, as if I actually didn't see it this morning when I looked in the mirror.

Although, the idea of a mirror is an interesting thing to talk about. Cape Verdians on the whole tend to be fairly conceited. They love taking pictures of themselves (by themselves in the photo), putting this solitary photos as backgrounds on their computers, on their Hi5 pages, and having entire photo shoots with just them, one person, in the photo. I tend to shy away from pictures, especially ones where it's just me in them, and they can't understand this. But there is a remarkably surprising lack of mirrors anywhere. In public restrooms, houses, purses, etc. Anywhere you would expect there to be a mirror, there isn't. In America, houses and public restrooms are filled with mirrors; they're even simply used as a decoration. Here there are hardly any, and none in public restrooms. Maybe that's why my zit was pointed out to me so many times: people really didn't know if I'd seen myself yet today.

So back to the zit. Last night, I went out to dinner with my friend Paolo (who I believe I've mentioned before), and he introduced me to two friends of his, a CEO of a construction company here in Boa Vista named Luis, and a woman, whose name I honestly cannot remember (thanks daddy). The four of us sat in a dark lounge for a little while and when dinner was up we moved to our dinner table over which had slightly more light. Luis looks at me and exclaims (translated) "Oh my look at that zit there. Is that because you're in love?" Um, what? There are two major things wrong with that entire statement: 1. I met you about 20 minutes ago. I'm glad you feel comfortable enough with me to not only comment on the condition of my pores, but also my love life. And 2. You're right. Love, like chocolate, causes zits. Since then three other people have made the comment about zit/love connection, and I just cannot figure that out. Anyway, so until luck blesses me (although, ironically, I just broke the mirror that was in my house last week), I have to endure the ridiculous scrutinizing of my zit, and of course in correlation, my love life.


Blogger Melanie said...

oh honey!! i was laughing hysterically in class while reading this. once you discover the link between zit and love, let me know cause i'm not in love but occassionally get a large zit! luckily people don't point it out to me though :) miss you! muah

23 October, 2007 17:48


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