Not everything at ALA is unfamiliar; some things remind me of home a lot. On my first day here, I was delighted to discover that the American faculty members had imported the magnificent sport of ultimate frisbee. About a week later, Boubacar came back from volleyball wearing an orange shirt with black tiger stripes on it. For a brief moment, I thought that my second roommate in a row supported the Cincinnati Bengals. But alas, Boubacar is no Neil Herman; he knows nothing of the mighty Carson Palmer and, amazingly, his shirt is actually from the Sandy City (State of Utah!) Recreational Soccer Team. He says he 'just found it', but I don't believe him.
But when it comes to making me reminisce about the US of A, nothing comes even close to our head of residential life, Mr. Gavin Peter. His personality operates in three modes:
This is Mr. Peter’s default, autopilot setting, and it brings and unprecedented amount of joy and happiness to all of the domestic and mundane activities that he supervises. It is in this mode that Mr. Peter conducts most of his day-to-day activities, which include: telling students about rules, telling students about soap, and telling students not to eat each other’s food. He goes about all of those in his own special way, bringing in phrases that you would have thought were unrelated to the topic at hand. For instance, when he was extolling the virtues of personal hygiene, he managed to include life partners, college applications, and a real life demonstration in which Julia was forced to sniff the necks of five different boys. Good stuff.
Happy Mall Mode
Imagine the most happy-go-lucky tour guide possible. When Mr. Peter is in Happy Mall Mode, he is that and more. He wears colorful African clothing with pride, beams at everything, and dances everywhere. We love Mr. Peter when he’s like this.
Angry Mall Mode
Mr. Peter has one duty which places a lot of stress on him, and that is the safekeeping of all student passports. He’s fine with keeping them in his invincible suitcase, but there are problems when we need them back for mall trips. (In South Africa you need a passport for everything: bank accounts, SIM cards, a Fanta, Debonair’s pizza). Students fail to follow instructions and Mr. Peter loses it. His eyes erupt into flames, his ears smoke with furious impatience, and his powerful hands itch towards you neck. Then he roars, “WHY DID YOU NOT COME UP WITH THE REST OF YOUR HALL WHEN I CALLED FOR YOU!!” I have, on at least one occasion, forsaken my passport retrieval in order to preserve my life.
So what exactly does Mr. Peter have to do with home? Well, the gap year students have noticed that he is a perfect, carbon copy, real-life Peter Griffin. One time, while he was explaining evacuation procedures to us, he sat on the stage and went “FireFireFire!!” with his mouth wide open and his hands and feet flailing. We almost died laughing.
As you can see from the microscopically accurate cartoons that I have provided, Mr. Peter also bears a striking physical resemblance to Mr. Griffin.
Disclaimer: Nobody actually looks like Peter Griffin; I used a great deal of artistic license.