No Place Like Home

Perhaps I never should have bothered to leave North Carolina.

I mean, as endearing as chewing tobacco and Rebel Flags are, one truly can find all that the wide world has to offer in my hometown. There are coffee shops with imported fair trade coffee from places in South America (like Uganda*) and thrift stores with such novelties as blouses with shoulder pads (GaGa is going help them make a comeback, let me tell you!). Why, just today in Kampala I felt like I had never left Carolina at all.

Despite the obvious parallels in the brutal heat (though, to be fair, Kampala has a far better breeze than the stifling summers spent in the American South) today I found myself in a coffee shop so akin to Open Eye I might have merely been waking up from one enormous and pervasive slumber. Or high. Take your pick.

The place itself, called 1000 Cups is located near Kampala Road in the center of downtown. The coffee was excellent, the food delicious, and the music totally fitting to our setting in an East African city. I mean, James Taylor was born in Entebbe, right?

Okay, for those of you now either completely lost or wondering why the dry-er-than-usual tone, James Taylor is from my hometown in North Carolina (thus the abundant dogwood references, etc, in his tunes). He went to my alma mater for high school, there’s a bridge named for him quasi-near my house, and one is always guaranteed to find a Taylor song playing on at least one NC radio station. So to walk into a coffee shop that looked surprisingly like a hybrid between Looking Glass and Open Eye to hear James dreaming of Carolina was kind of an out-of-body experience this afternoon.

And, in true Chapel Hillian style, after we ladies finished our coffee, we hit up the local second-hand clothing joint. I procured a dress (with pockets!),  a shirt, and a belt. So now when/if someone compliments the ensemble I can be the triple-hipster in my self-congratulatory reply: “Thanks! You know its second-hand (point one) and I bought it from a locally-owned (point two) thrift store in Kampala, Uganda (point three).”

And in all honesty, I love the mélange of culture. I can’t help but picture my anthropology professor waving his hands enthusiastically, exclaiming, “See! Culture collision and conversation! You can’t escape it!” James Taylor in a Kampalan coffee shop? Love it. Let’s continue to break stereotypes and create a space for dialogue.

Simply put, Ugandan and I are getting along just fine!

current jam: something blaring from the bar across the street. it’s one am, people. can we knock it down a notch or two?

best thing in my life right now: my new second-hand dress with pockets that makes me feel womanly and powerful…and di i mention its ugandan? i’ve officially achieved new heights in the realm of hipster mario.

pages read in war & peace: um, zero. for now!

marriage proposals: none….yet.

*this is a reference to the frequent comment “Uganda…isn’t that in South America?” or, better yet, “Uganda! Well, you best be good at Spanish.” That’s Uruguay friends. Geography 101.

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