If you heard a faint, high-pitched shrieking sound last week, it was probably an echo from West Africa. Just some American girl scared of the dark and her countless nocturnal enemies. Since my arrival in Cameroon: spiders have darted up my leg as I shower, ants have tried to get frisky with me in bed, and mosquitos have considered me to be a rare delicacy. I have been trying to keep a positive attitude about these things, but when I found giant spider in the middle of my bed, it actually made my skin crawl. It’s my bed! I sleep there. What if I wake up and it’s on my face?
The first time I saw an oversized bug in my room, I curled up in the middle of my mattress wondering what on earth possessed me to move here. The other night, however, I took a deep breath, turned on some Toby Keith, and crushed him with my shoe. I’d like to think of this as some sort of personal growth. Though killing a spider isn’t something people typically write home about, it’s just one example of how I’m trying to look at each problem I encounter here as an opportunity (whether it be to help someone else or to step outside of my comfort zone). And it’s always a great feeling to find you still have the ability to surprise yourself.