6 weeks in!

I am six weeks into living in Tanzania, so I thought I would share six photos of my facial expressions that are representative of my experience thus far.


I call this one “I’m drowning but everything’s fine… right?

Here I am at Chemka Hot Spring after jumping into the water. Many things were going through my head, like:

  • “What the heck? This isn’t hot at all. This is actually quite cold.”
  • “Oh my goodness, there is one strong current. I’m not sure I’m a strong enough swimmer to be in here.”
  • “Eep! There are a lot of little fish nibbling at my feet. Should I be afraid of these fish? Is everybody else dealing with this?”
  • “Well, I guess this is pretty beautiful. I sure am lucky to be here.”

I’m sure many other people are feeling a bit like this right now. COVID-19 is terrifying. Our way of life has changed. At the same time, it’s a chance to think about just how precious and beautiful life is. It’s a time to be grateful for each day, each friend and family member, each thing that makes you smile.

So try your best to set aside the worried thoughts as best as you can and focus on the good. And if your face comes out a bit like mine, just know you’re not the only one.

Sometimes, you just gotta laugh at yourself

One day, my friend asked if they could do my hair. I’ve always loved having my hair played with, so I said sure! As soon as they began, I could tell they had something in mind. Fifteen minutes later when they said they were done, I took out my phone to take a look at it, and here was the result. Four tightly wound braids in random places on my head. I loved it and immediately ran to show the kids, who couldn’t help but laugh at me.

I’ve laughed at myself a lot since getting here. Sometimes, laughing at myself is in joyful, playful moments like this. Other times, it’s to laugh something off. I’ve never liked being wrong, but it’s something you just gotta get used to when living in a foreign country, especially when they speak a different language and the social norms are much different than home.

Feeling Accomplished”

I’ve gotten into a pretty consistent workout routine, which is a rare thing for me! The views of Mt. Kilimanjaro have certainly helped keep me motivated. Mandy has been great about holding me accountable, too. We usually do a fast-paced four mile walk. On days when it’s too rainy to go out, we have been working out indoors. We recently tried an ab workout to the song “Cha Cha Slide” – it burned!

I feel accomplished for many others reasons, too! I’ve been working through a four course series about US government and politics on edx.org that I’m 3/4 of the way done with. I’ve read a few books. I’ve been learning to cook some of the local foods. I’ve expanded my Swahili vocabulary. Overall, I’ve been doing a good job of taking care of my physical and mental health!

Cockroach: 2, Brittany: 0

I have become less squeamish with bugs since I first got here, but that’s not saying much, considering I was pretty darn wimpy to begin with. About a week into getting here, I walked into my bathroom to find a cockroach right in front of my sink. I stood there for a few minutes, thinking through all the possible plans of attack, and ultimately, I chickened out. I used Google Translate to figure out how to say “Can you come kill a bug?” in Swahili to my guard. Bryson to the rescue!

Then last week, I had the pleasure of walking in on yet another cockroach going about its day in the corner of my room. Again, I ran through all the options in my head for how to make my room bug-free. This photo was taken after I armed myself with a pot, what I determined was my best option for killing it on impact, though it was also something that would require me to get rather close to the bug. As I went back in to my room, the roach crawled under my cabinet. Suddenly, I lost all confidence. Once again, I called for help. This time, it was Frankie to the rescue!

This face has happened not only during my failed face offs with cockroaches, but my encounters with all other sorts of bugs, like giant ants, flying termites, and Nairobi flies (which, if you kill one when it’s on you, will make your skin feel like it’s being burned by acid). This face also appeared as a reaction to seeing snakes, finding out just how many plants here have giant thorns, and when I found out I had worms.

I like [insert name of alcohol here]

During a time like this, it’s nice to end the day with a drink. And I know I’m not the only one feeling this way, because alcohol sales have been booming since the pandemic began. We’ve had many fun night drinking while playing card games and Rummikub!

I’ve had quite a few people ask me what kinds of alcohol they have here. Pretty much all the big names when it comes to liquor, and mostly local beers. Since arriving in Tanzania, I’ve personally had a bit of wine that was made in Dodoma, both white and red, some Smirnoff, and a few Savanna ciders, but mostly I’ve been drinking Konyagi. It’s known as “the spirit of the nation.” It’s cheap, it’s strong, and it tastes surprisingly good. It goes well with pretty much any mixer and isn’t bad on the rocks, either.

& don’t worry fam, I’m drinking responsibly!

“Overwhelming happiness”

I took this right after I stepped foot off the plane at Kilimanjaro Airport. I couldn’t believe I was back in the place that had such a big impact on my life seven years prior. The place where I find so much joy in the people, the food, the landscape. I was excited to be back and oh so proud of myself for making it happen!

I’ve had many moments of pure joy like this since I got here. I often feel this way when I’m running around with the kids, when I see the snow covered top of Mount Kilimanjaro, or when I’m eating chicken vuruga.

And my face when I first saw the star-filled night sky? Like this, but add some tears streaming down my face.


Life here is going well, all things considered. Tanzania has 46 cases of COVID-19 and has been taking some precautions to prevent that number from rising. I will continue monitoring the situation and keep everyone updated.

My original plan was to head to my next destination on May 27, but I can’t foresee the world being open for country hopping six weeks from now. More than likely, I’ll be extending my stay in Moshi, and I am very happy about that possibility!

One thought on “6 weeks in!

  1. Lol … Cockroach episode Oh no … Worms! Yum … Wine Love … Photos Wonderful … Insights Stay well … You Bye … For now

    On Mon, Apr 13, 2020, 4:28 AM My Purposeful Adventure wrote:

    > Brittany Grosser posted: ” I am six weeks into living in Tanzania, so I > thought I would share six photos of my facial expressions that are > representative of my experience thus far. I call this one “I’m drowning but > everything’s fine… right?” Here I am at Chemka Hot S” >

    Liked by 1 person

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