A funny and moving story told through the letters of two women nurturing a friendship as they are separated by distance, experience, and time.
Close friends and former college roommates, Hilary Liftin and Kate Montgomery promised to write when Kate's Peace Corps assignment took her to Africa. Over the course of a single year, they exchanged an offbeat and moving series of letters from rural Kenya to New York City and back again.
Kate, an idealistic teacher, meets unexpected realities ranging from poisonous snakes and vengeful cows to more serious hazards: a lack of money for education; a student body in revolt. Hilary, braving the singles scene in Manhattan, confronts her own realities, from unworthy suitors to job anxiety and first apartment woes. Their correspondence tells--with humor, warmth, and vivid personal detail--the story of two young women navigating their twenties in very different ways, and of the very special friendships we are sometimes lucky enough to find.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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|Title of eBook: Dear Exile|
|Release Date: 05-26-2000|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group|
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|Parent title||Dear Exile|
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Chapter OneKwale, May 31
This business of having to write letters to keep up friendships definitely separates the wheat from the chaff. You are the wheat. (That would be the good part?)
Our new neighbor, Mwanamisi, came over last night to show me how to make coconut rice, wali wa nazi. Kate, you say, but you already know how to make coconut rice! Yes, I say, but I don't know how to make friends. So David and I were rushing around trying to make reality match what we had probably said in Kiswahili. (I think we said we'd 'already' cleaned the rice and we 'were doing' laundry.) Mwanamisi arrived midway through the coconut-milk-making process and was chatting with us about how to cook it really well, soft and sweet. As far as I could tell, she was complimenting me on what I had done so far, except there was one little part that I didn't catch, and her tone was less spunky, so I figured I probably didn't put enough salt in or something. But, all in all, I was pretty excited at not being totally incompetent at cooking.
Later, I checked on that verb to figure out what I'd done wrong. Here's what my dictionary said about it. (I mean, I just "haribu"-ed it-how bad could it be, right?) "kuharibu: v. injure, destroy, spoil, damage, ruin, demoralize, spoil work, break up an expedition, devastate a country, cause miscarriage, pervert, corrupt." That's what I did to the rice. Good thing we like potatoes, eh?
New York City, December 19th
I have obeyed my rules and leapt empty-handed into the void. Much as I try to explain to myself that I am in transition and that every...