The Year in Review: Top Ten Lists!

Top Ten Things That People Have Called Me That Aren’t My Name

1. Kodjo [my first village name]

2. Gbati [my second village name]

3. The guy that can’t pronounce Gbati

4. The German [There are a lot of Germans here]

5. The American

6. The white guy

7. The fat guy

8. The fat white guy

9. Give me candy

10. My neighbor Ningberi’s husband
Top Ten Moments that Have Made Me Smile

1. The birth of my host sister


2. Swearing in as a Peace Corps Volunteer


3. Our first reception with our soon-to-be host families

4. My visit with my host family in November

5. When I got sick and my host sister fed me soup while wearing a bunch of baby powder on her face


6. Getting an Advanced Low score on my Language Proficiency Exam!

7. Being a Repas Complet with Aaron and Patty while educating our peers on the dangers of binge drinking!


8. Site Visit Announcement Day

9. Performing in my first ever Togolese choir concert!

10. Losing 26+ pounds and feeling good about my body!

Top Ten Things I’ve Eaten That Have Built Character

1. Sardines

2. Dried Sardines

3. Fried Sardines

4. Sardine Sauce

5. Ground Sardines

6. Cow Skin with Sardines

7. Cow Intestines with Sardines

8. Rice with a Vegetarian Tomato Sauce with Sardines

9. A Plate of Sardine Bones that Was Never Explained to Me

10. Beignets Fried in Sardine Oil

Top Ten Questions I’ve Been Asked That I Haven’t Known How To Answer

1. Do you know the American Whitney Houston, who is dead?

2. Why don’t you have a wife?

3. Can you lift the weights that you bought? You aren’t strong enough!

4. Does your mom know that all you eat here is popcorn?

5. Do you really want to bike 20km? Can you? You sweat so much!

6. Is that picture of you jumping in the air real? Do you know how to

jump off the ground?

7. Is your dad dead? (I get this question a frightening amount)

8. Did Osama bin Laden fly a plane into your home state?

9. What is going on with your country’s presidential elections?

10. Is there something wrong with your sardines? You haven’t eaten them!

Top Ten House Guests that I Wish Would Leave

1. Liz

2. Luann

3. Lisa

4. Luke

5. Larry

6. Liam

7. Lauren

8. Leeann

9. Lindsay

10. Laura*
*These are the names of the lizards that share my bathroom and pantry

Top Ten Fun Surprises!

1. Opening my backpack and finding a scorpion!

2. Finding two cow skulls in my compound!

3. Losing a Who Wore It Best Competition at a Wedding!

4. Carrying a Cup of Urine to My Latrine, Seeing a Cockroach, And Then

Spilling That Cup of Urine on Me!

5. Accidentally Pooping Myself!

6. A Goat Charging at Me!

7. A Huge Lizard Falling out of My French Teacher’s Chalkboard!

8. When a Baby Peed on Me While I Was Holding Him!

9. Accidentally Showing Up 4 Hours Early To My First Choir Concert!

10. Sweating So Much that When I Kneeled Down, I Fell Over!


And the question that only needs one response: Am I in love with this country and am I looking forward to the rest of my service?

1. Yes! 🇹🇬❤️

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