Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Time I Wore Sweatpants

Rwandans dress up. So if you come here, don’t think you can walk around looking like American WT, because you can’t. Rwandans dress very nicely – dress pants, collard shirts, not really jeans. Normally I wear nice pants or a skirt (below the knee, of course). But around my house, I’m my relaxed self in sweatpants, short shorts, tanks, whatever I feel like. But again, I’m in the comfort of my own home.

In DC I think this comfort extends to my neighborhood as well, and for those who don’t know, I live near the zoo so it’s quite crowded with tourists. But, I frequently will walk around my block and surrounding area in big gray sweats and a gray t-shirt, sometimes tucked into boots, sometimes a non-hooded overly large sweatshirt - usually pairing this with a jazzy clutch that I used the night before. Since it’s my neighborhood, all you tourists can take a good look.

This does not translate to Rwanda. And I learned the hard way. The one and only time I wore sweatpants in public was last Saturday at 6pm. After having worked all day, I came home to get ready to go out. So I showered and got right into my blue sweatpants and blue t-shirt, my normal monochrome outfit that I wear in the comfort of my own home. I wanted to put on music, but I realized I forgot my power cord at work, so I called my friends to have them drop it off on their way back from work. They said they’d meet me in 10 minutes on the “corner” of my “block”. So out I went in my blue on blue combo, and I waited on the street. Well, they were longer than 10 minutes. And I felt ridiculed. People pointed. Literally pointed at me. Normally, I’m used to people looking, but this was shock and awe at my attire – almost as bad as the time I wore the tank top. And then, of course, I ran into a student (because how could he miss me in this getup). I explained that I don’t normally lay around in sweatpants on a Saturday (lie), and that I was in fact going out…but that I better not see him out since he had exams! That’s right, lecturing in my sweatpants. I was outside in said sweatpants for maybe half an hour or so, but that’s all it took.

I will never wear sweatpants in public here again. Ever.


  1. This is just the comic relief I needed today Nor! I feel like all lessons are learned from big mistakes and yep, I've made quite a few recently that I have learned from... but this one is GREAT!!! Keep the funny stories comin.