Monday in a Picture – A Made Bed

This is my bed. There are probably several around Swaziland and southern Africa that look like it. But, this one is mine. This is not a post about the impeccable fashion sense of my blanket or the sound sleep experienced in said bed. This is about a morning ritual that started just over a year ago and continues to this day. 

It was September or October 2016. I was new to my community and still finding my groove in Peace Corps Swaziland. While perusing Reddit one day, I came across a thread with many folks offering life advice. A person affiliated with US military offered the seemingly simple advice: “make your bed everyday”. The person went on to explain that making your bed is a relatively easy way to start off your day with an accomplishment. The post reasoned that beginning the day with a success made it more likely to have a day marked with successes. It continued that even if the day wasn’t successful, you would return to a nicely made bed that evening. I figured I’d try it. In case you’re wondering, this was not a part of my morning routine prior to Swaziland. 

Now, it’s been more than a year of making my bed everyday. It’s one of the first things I do every morning. My bed gets made before my morning trip to the latrine and breakfast. I’ve found that the Reddit commenter was correct. It is nice to start the day off with a success. One of the unanticipated benefits is that I’m forced to actually start my day, as opposed to climbing back in bed. This has been huge for me. Not wanting to reverse the work I’ve done, I don’t jump back into bed for additional slumber. Instead I’m up. It’s the renewing of that social contract between the world and me that I’ll at least attempt productivity today. Making my bed signifies to the world (and me) that I’m officially joining the day that has started. Some days are more successful than others. But at the very least, I get to come back to a made bed at the day’s end. 

Be kind to yourself. 


Monday in a Picture – But first, we dance! 

As I was coming into a backpacker lodge one evening in December, another PCV was headed out. We had briefly exchanged hellos when she told me that she was heading to a salsa dance social. She invited me to join. My interest was piqued. Where is this social? When does it happen? How much does it cost? I was in luck because the social was walking distance from the lodge and it was free. I decided that I must be in attendance. 

The social was magical. The people were warm and welcoming. Everyone danced with such grace and poise. I tried to imitate and do what little I remembered from salsa lessons in DC. There was also salsa’s sexy cousin, bachata, and the sensual sensation known as kizomba. I told other PCVs about this majestic biweekly outing, and suggested that they come out. 

The young lady who initially invited me has since organized private group lessons for PCVs who want to learn the various dances, but can’t attend weekly classes. These classes and socials have been amazing mental health breaks during my service in Swaziland. It’s as if I’m transformed to another world. I never thought that I’d be refining my salsa skills in southern Africa, but such is life. The above picture was taken during one of our private group lessons. 

Be kind to yourself. 

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