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Saturday, December 12, 2009

It's the Holiday Season and you'd have no clue if you lived here.

     Currently, here in Yola, it's the Harmattan season.  The harmattan is the closest thing we have to snow.  It looks like this haze of dust, which is exactly what it is.  The average low is around 90 F and high around 112 F.  There are no pine trees, no Christmas trees, Christmas lights, no Christmas music and definitely no snow.  The only thing that makes it even remotely feel like something is about to happen is that everyone is leaving.  Little by little as the end of the semesters roll around people slowly disappear.  All the airline tickets get bought up and Yola slowly becomes a ghost town.  However, that is not what you associate with Christmas, Hannukah or Kwanzaa. 
      I've been thinking about this a lot lately because of the lack of these things.  We don't have Christmas cookies being sold in stores, Christmas presents do not line shelves in the market, you don't receive Christmas cards, you don't hear Christmas music on the radio, all those signs of Christmas don't exist here.  I miss all those things.  I miss them something bad. 
      Tonight I am going to make my version of Christmas Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies but instead putting chunks of Snickers candy bar in the middle in lieu of Kisses.  Anyway, we will eat them at Charles' House tonight at 8 Flats where Banji will perform, little to Charles' knowledge that is and drink margarita's and daquiri's.  Sounds like Christmas, right?  Nope.  But this is how we roll around here.  However, I will no doubt play Christmas tunes while baking!

Happy Holidays to you and yous wherever you are!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

holiday stress

I've been having some major holiday stress lately.  Actually, most of it just started this week, as it should really being that the Christmas month just began.  However, Christmas is not the holiday I am referring too.  I'm referring to our vacation holiday.  I need this holiday more than ever.  It's not coming soon enough, yet it still is not all planned and therefore it's going to come too soon as well. 

This week was really rough at work, mostly.  There comes a point in Yola either during the semester or the summer months or whenever you might be closing to getting out, but are for from being there where you just 'break down.'  I'm not stir crazy, just broken.  I need to get out.  Seriously.

So there were many problems at work this week.  One is dealing with friendship(s).  Living as an expat in a community where it's largely expats can be difficult.  So sometimes you make long lasting friendships and find people that are like your friends back 'home.'  However, sometimes you make friends with people out of necessity or for this reason or for that.  Well, this last semester I have realized that one of my best friends here, if not my best friend, or was at least my best friend here is part of the latter group.  Also, I've been realizing this more and more lately that she's not even really a 'friend.'  We'll call these people 'benefriends' because they often benefit from being friends with you more than you do from them.  She knows very little about me, about the real Katya.  She knows almost nothing of my family life, what my interests are, who my favorite authors are, even that I love to write and that I have this blog.  She knows so little not because I am not a sharer, I'm quite the opposite, as those of you who know me know.  Anyway, she just doesn't ask.  She's older than me, which rarely is an issue unless friends make it one.  Besides, most of my friends here are older than me.  I'm older than the students and younger than the faculty.  Man, that's kind of like my own family.  Anyway, she has children and I don't.  Again, never been an issue before.  However, we really have nothing in common other than enjoying baking and cooking.  However, even this we've never done together.  Again, unusual.  Anyway, I'm seriously considering kicking this benefriend to the curb, however, there's one slight problem.  She's my supervisor. 

So begins my week from hell.  People complain and judge here all the time.  It wouldn't be so bad but there's nothing in Yola but AUN.  So it can be very isolating, claustrophobic and sometimes suffocating here.  I came to work and taught one class and then my second period was a prep, so I was prepping.  My benefriend Supervisor called me into the office to tell me she had evaluated us based on our four students and what they thought about us.  For the following thirty minutes I received all complaints except one, I chose good books.  This killed my mood, mojo and this herein lies the downfall and demise of my week.  It killed me.  All the complaints were contrary to one another, not too mention the students should not be evaluating, nor my supervisor considering her child is one of the four.  Already in a bad place during lunch, my benefriend supervisor and the crazy French complainer were having a discussion about how this Mother came and collected her kids from her ex-husband last year and how terrible of her and blah, blah, blah.  Then the crazy French complainer who happens to be from Cameroon was complaining about how there's never any fuel in Cameroon.  I said, "well rthat because it all gets smuggled to your country." And a large fight ensued.  So my bestest benefriend and the crazy French Cameroonian complainer tried fighting me more but I wouldn't let it happen.  However, it definitely affected the mood at our very small suffocating school.  However, by the end of of the day the benefriend had paid me 16,000 naira she owed me and then she was laughing and joking with me.  So I figured okay, we're good.  It's over.  But no, less than an hour later at the club she refused to even look or talk to me.  WTF?!

Labaran returned Monday afternoon from Kano.  He attended the Kilisa with me, the Prof and Dr. Kalifornia.  By the way, Dr. Kalifornia, I call you this because of your namesake and middle name beginning with K.  So anyway, we all went to the Kilisa, later I found out that Labaran's wife has taken the kids and he doesn't know where they are, even still to date of this blog posting.  His kids are his world, they are even a big part of mine, I'm their sponsor at the community school here.  The Kilisa was great by the way.  Monday night ends with having no power at Abti House and having a fight with Titu the Romanian Barbarian who happens to be in charge of works and maintenance.

Anyway, I wake up with no power and only the water we filled the tub with the previous night before.  It's been cold here lately, 70 Degrees Fahrenheit, yes, I know.  I sound like a nut case saying that's cold, but for real it is.  So I took a frigid bath and waited for Labaran to arrive.   He arrived 40 minutes late.  I was to be to work by 7:50 and he arrived at 7:50.  It takes minimum, literally minimum 20 minutes to get work.  I drove like a mad lady and got there at 8:10 am.  I was late.  This was not good. 

So that day and the next I tried to get there on time and 'behave' myself.  However, she was still cold, frigid and at some points mean to me, and almost everyday I arrived either at 8:00 or 8:02.  No matter how hard we tried we couldn't get our shit together and get there on time.  Ugghh. 

Thursday comes and once again wahalla strikes.  After school this crazy biatch leaves a bag of stolen clothes under my car.  I run it over not once but twice.  Anyway, too make this very long story short, she calls me a million times over the next day, visits my office/classroom repeatedly and we have a nasty scene in my school.  Couldn't get much worse, could it?  Well, for once there's a saving grace.  My father-in-law, who happens to think I'm doing a good job is my boss and her boss and he's up for the presidency at AUN.  So ultimately, I know she's trying to get me fired, but she can't.  Anyway, so just writing this down is making me feel better.  I have the upper hand and I need to use it and go with it.  The bag story is a long road and I don't think I ever want to go there again.

Yet, Egypt is coming up soon.  We don't have our tickets, no hotels booked, no cruise booked, seriously.  Still haven't received our home leave money.  However, we might leave a few days early before this lady called 'Krakatoa' aka me erupts.  Egypt will come together because if there's one thing I am that is a planner.  So no worries crazy Katya, right?  Things will get better. 

However, my 'oga' benefriend supervisor did come to my house early this morning to speak with Labaran and arranged a 'private' meeting with him at her house tonight about me and he's not supposed to tell me.  Well, he's my real best friend here and obviously he told me. 

Anyway, I gotta go bathe, go to the market, go to Dr. K's and to founder's day.  By the way, I've been listening to Christmas music even though we are in the tropics and we won't have a tree. 

Shalom.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Where I like to shop

Since I live in Nigeria, shopping is very different than what it used to be in Alaska and very different than what shopping used to be in Minnesota.  However, one thing remains the same throughout them all, I still love online shopping.  Granted now I do not have it delivered to my home because it's either impossible or way too expensive.  However, I'm going to begin with my favorite stores online.

Old Navy
I love Old Navy for their prices and because I can get all the essentials for my couture.
www.oldnavy.com

Patagonia
I love shopping in Patagonia stores and online.  I love their dresses, their capilene products, their swimming trunks, and the Prof loves their t-shirts.  We own a lot of Patagonia couture.  I think people in Nigeria must think it's a common place to shop, however, we are part of the Patagoniac clan.
www.patagonia.com

Anthropologie
I love love Anthropologie for all their one of a kind dresses and tops.  This is one store I love going into as well, it's beauty is terrific and invigorating. 
www.anthropologie.com

Keen Shoes
The Prof and I own nine pairs of Keen's collectively.  We just love them.  They are amazing shoes to have in warm climates.  We've been wearing them for years now, our friend Adam turned us onto them.  Thanks, Adam!
www.keenfootwear.com

Amazon
I love Amazon.com so much.  I buy most of my books, dvd's, kindle, sporting stuff, games, etc here.  Amazon is a great friend of mine. 

Target
Who doesn't love Target?  They even have an Amazon log in now.  You can buy everything but a kitchen sink at Target Boutique!
www.target.com

At some point I will list all my favorite places to shop here in Yola.  But I think I should get photos first!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

my other boyfriend

So lately things have been a little crazy.  I think I start off saying that a lot on this, but it's true.  However, today's story is the icing on the cake.  Today the Prof went to lunch with some other Prof's and a Doctor friend of our's at the university's cafeteria.  So the Doctor (happens to be the school's psychologist) was talking about how one of the student's went to the local hospital's psych ward because he was running around naked on campus throwing stones at people.  Anyway, when he told me this I just couldn't believe it.  Anyway, so when we were discussing this another Professor friend, Dr. Kalifornia said, "hey, I had a student who was taking a bath in a mud puddle today!"  So we put one and one together and got two and realized it was the same student because her mud puddle boy got taken to the psych ward too!  Seriously.  What are the odds, really?  We have 1000 students here at AUN.  So I guess 1 in 1000 are the odds.  Anyway, so we start talking  more about this 'kid' and his behavior in Dr. Kalifornia's class.  Anyway, at some point she's says his first name and I say, "crazy kid last name same as mine, from Offa, went to AU in the states, has a drug problem, crazy kid same last name as me crazy kid?"  We both burst out laughing realizing I know this crazy naked boy running around campus taking mud baths and throwing stones at people.  This is the one and very same crazy kid who happened to hit on me not once, but twice in one month forgetting he had met me and hit on me once before because he was so high outta his mind the first time.  The second time he 'introduced' himself to me we realized he's related to my hubby the Prof.  Craziness.  Since then, Labaran and I have referred to him as my 'other' boyfriend as a joke.  Just three days ago I saw him walking past me and the Prof and pointed him out for the first time to him and he laughed and smiled and said "hmmm, interesting."  Anyway, so that's how we roll around here.  Never a dull moment.  Never. 

Monday, November 23, 2009

talking turkey

So I've been sick lately.  I am so sick and tired of being sick and tired.  So I'm declaring myself better.  A changing of state of mind can assist, right?  I'm hoping so.  So once again, we have a kinda sorta busy week ahead.  So the plans for Thanksgiving and Sallah (Eid al Adha), yes another double holiday week, again, just like little eid and Yom Kippur, anyway, the plans are as follows:

Tuesday:  Teach and Shop for food for the weekend
Wednesday:  Teach and have Labaran prep food for Thanksgiving and my petit Beat Poet night at Kim's
Thursday:  Day off, Thanksgiving, prep food for Saturday Thanksgiving and attend Eastern European version of Thanksgiving which ruined our Thanksgiving Day (uggh, tell you more in a minute).
Friday:  Rajes' Birthday, he turns 13, also petit beat poet night with Kim
Saturday:  Thanksgiving Dinner at 6pm at Rani's (I'm making a ton of food, yum!)
Sunday:  Quiz Night at Martha's 3pm, I'm the moderator

So Rani and I have been planning Thanksgiving at her house for some time now.  However, as of last Friday we received an e-mail inviting us all to a Thanksgiving party at the same time at the neighbor's yard.  Seriously, so his parties are ragers that are loud and go on till the wee hours of the morning.  We were planning a nice family type gathering for Thanksgiving.  Now we have to change the date because his stupid party because we are inviting all the same people but chose not to invite them yet due to we didn't want word to spread because we wanted to keep it to about 25 people.  Uggh and we cannot have it Friday because it is both Rajes' bday and it's Sallah.  Also, we have a conflict on Saturday due to Sesugh's comedy show at 7pm but we are still doing the party. 

Anyway, that's enough turkey talk for one day.  Oh, by the way, it looks like we got our Egypt visas!  Hooray!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Latitude 9

Life in latitude 9 has been up and down lately.  The party came and went.  It was a blast for the attendees.  Unfortunately for me, I had to run the show so I wouldn't say I had a 'great' time but it did go rather well.  There's many things I will do different next time.  A list on another post will be just for that.  What not to do at a party in Yola!

Last week Typhoid took me down.  I had a fever for two days of 104 F.  My body was killing me to the point that I was wailing and crying.  I've never really been concerned about my health here before this last bout.  It definitely had me freaked a bit.

This week, I'm back to work and I got good news today.  My parent from H E double Hockey sticks pulled his kids out so I'm down two classes!  Woohoo!  Seriously good news.  Seriously.  Anyway, just trying to get this winter break put together so I don't have to worry about that.  Hopefully by tonight or tommorrow we'll know if we can go to Egypt or if we have to do a immigration thang in DC.  I'm not really leaning towards either one.  All I care is that I get a good time away from Yola with my hubby that is fun, relaxing and romantic.  Any opinions?  I know there are some out there.  I know if we go to Egypt we'll disappoint some and if we go to the states we'll disappoint others.  C'est la vie.

Anyway, the Prof is grading on Moodle tonight at his office, since we don't have internet.  I have to bring him some food so he can continue.  Then I'm driving home to run and get a few things at Luka and Yakubu, then it's ONE TREE HILL on the tv!  Sesugh will kill me if he reads this.  I am up to Season 4 now.  Yes, I have a problem.  That problem is that I cannot finish the show fast enough.  I'm really trying to get my hands on Mad Men. 

Anyway, good night.  Until next time.  That's the news from Latitude 9.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

all that jazz

Written at 11:14am
106 Degrees Fahrernheit
(Yep, that hot!)

Today is day two of midterms here in Yola for the AUN Charter School.  All tests have been written in both ways.  I have written and delivered them all to the students now.  We have one more day left, however, I have no more remaining!  Yay!  Now I just have to grade them and other assignments.  Boo!

So I have been busy today making papier mache pumpkins for the party.  It's not going as well as I'd like.  I, of course, should have been doing this a week ago.  Got lots to do.  I have to make a ton of caramel corn, literally, I have got to do a ton of shopping still.  We still have not gotten paid which makes me incredibly nervous because I have to buy the two lambs for Saturday and pay a ton of people.  Errgh!  My life is filled with little errands like going to the bank, changing money, searching for faro water, buying fabric, meeting the tailor, buying chicken, getting gas for the car, etc, etc.  Does the monotony of running errands ever end?  I don't think so.  Or at least not for me.  I am in serious need of having to have a heart to heart with myself to learn the art of saying "NO" or "enough is enough."  I am terrible at doing it for myself or others.  But I must because I am always running, running, running, somewhere, full steam ahead but I never actually achieve that big goal ahead of me.  It's like I'm running full steam ahead but going sideways.  This has got to change.  So this is my party which will be the catalyst to change.  I'm learning to delegate and to expect less.  Less is okay.  It's what happens when life gets in the way anyway.  I am not perfect and every moment of my day and life will certainly never be.  For example, today when the parent came barging into our office and instead of enjoying doing papier mache with my students we had to listen to a bitchfest, aka bitch slap to our faces, by said Parent.  It sucked.  But it's life and I need to learn to except that life is always flowing and changing and that I must expect and accept less than perfect.

Anyway, I will take photos tomorrow of paper mache making when I get the camera back from the Prof.

I am thinking of going on a Spring break from Nigeria trip.  Any advice as to where to go?  Should I go to the Juneau folk fest?  Should I go somewhere else?  London?  Paris?  Prague?  San Francisco for a workshop?  What do you think?  Advice...

Monday, October 26, 2009

too pooped to party

 10:40pm Nigerian Time
77 Degrees Fahrenheit


Just finished writing my last of SEVEN midterm exams.  I am watching One Tree Hill to relax, it's my latest television obsession.  The Prof bought me seasons one through three this weekend with a new dvd player.  Our other dvd players stopped working, probably from the electricity fluctuating up and down all the time.  Surprisingly the dvd player was cheap in my opinion, 5000 naira.  I think that's pretty good.

I had the Prof put some Ben Gay on my neck tonight because it's just killing me.  It must be something physical because I am not stressed right now.  I've been reading a lot lately and my list of books just keeps getting longer and longer.

The Part Time Indian book by Sherman Alexie.  Not sure what the title really is.  Reading to see if it's appropriate for a class.  So far I think so, with one exception of a page where they mention masturbation.


The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night.  Forgot who it's by.  Finished it and loved it.


Of Mice and Men by Steinbeck, currently reading for a class with my student Bryan.

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd.  Re-reading for class so I can assignments.

The Crucible by Arthur Miller.  Again, a re-read for class. 


Shadows in the Sun by Ryzard Kupinscki (spelling) for a class as well. 

So that's what's going on for now.  Time to hit the hay, or hard foam!

Salamu Alaikun!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Another Friday Night and I'm in bed early! :-)

9:25pm Nigerian time
85 Degrees Fahrenheit

So it's another Friday night, other wise known as Pizza night here and I'm lying in bed already before 10pm and I am loving it!  I am listening to this week's Savage Love podcast and just perusing through some literature anthologies to get ideas.  Just looked at the current temperatures around places I care about and saw that it is snowing in Minneapolis!!  Snowing!  What I wouldn't give to see a little snow right about now.  I miss it.

Anyway, another busy weekend.  Gotta get up early to do some baking.  Then off to drop off the Professor at his Saturday class, collect Professor Carmencita, Professor Kim and Registrar Ron to go do Saturday things like shopping at the market.  After that I must get ready and head over to Ron's place in the Luxury Dorms where quiz night is taking place.  After that I will head over to the club for Mr. Sesugh's comedy routine.  Sunday will be filled with writing the seven exams I am giving on Monday and Tuesday for the midterms for the kids, yep, seven!  I also have yola yoga on Sunday as well.  That's the weekend.  I plan on taking lots of pictures tomorrow and Sunday, so I'll post when I can.  There'll be no internet most of the day tomorrow.  Apparently they are adding bandwidth!  I'll believe it when I feel the speed on my fingertips.  Come on Victor, get your act together!!!

So one week to the party.  The countdown is beginning!  Ahhhh!  Wish me luck!  8 days and counting down.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Some scenery from Nigeria



This tree is in Yankari National Park. We took this photo while on a safari and were attempting to find a 'shea' tree. I still don't know what one looks like, if we have them around here or not as well. Do you know? Send me an e-mail.


The view in Adamawa on your way to Gombe or pretty much anywhere out of Adamawa. It's so empty and beautiful. The road is horrendous but the views are spectacular.


This is the river Benue in Jimeta and this photo was taken by Nicole while she was here in April. She wanted a snap of the bundles. I love the photo. You can see some of the boats behind.


A Nigerian path in Sukur. This photo was taken by the Prof in July at Sukur UNESCO World Heritage site. I love how it makes you wonder where it leads...

oldies but goodies


This is an old picture from mid February when I went to Malam Hassan's marriage. I am holding Fadimatu, Labaran's little girl. She did not want to leave Mommy Kate's side that night. Ironically, I did not go to this wedding wearing this outfit, my skirt tore and Amina lent me something else to wear.


This is a photo of a 'kuka' tree, otherwise known as a baobab tree. This photo was taken at Sukur World Heritage site north of Yola by the Prof this past July. Kuka are my favorite trees here for many reasons. One, they are great trees to prevent erosion, some of the strongest water retainers of all trees, they don't have rings to tell age, which I find awesome. This tree could easily be over one thousand years old. The fruit have the highest amount of vitamin C and vitamin and A and D out of all fruit!

christmas comes early for kate in Yola

So I got home after an exhausting day today. Why I am not so sure however. Anyway, I said to the Prof and Labaran that I would run next door and check out what Yakubu had. Yakubu is the Yola version of Walmart except with Macy's prices. Anyway, so I went over and I hitr the motherload! I got two different types of mixed nuts! Mixed nuts in Yola?? Almonds and pistachios in Yola? Then I got like five different types of cadbury candy bars! Chupa Chups suckers! Anyway, I am so excited. I snacked on some already. Then I got home and it only got better. Wednesday is my favorite night. It's TV night for because I get to watch a double feature of NCIS, my favorite tv show as of late. But it was even better because the show just before it tonight was NUMBERS! My other favorite show! So I get a triple threat with chocolate. Come on. How lucky can a girl get in Yola? I am seriously thanking my lucky stars. Oh yeah, and the internet has come back and I'm almost finished downloading this weeks "This American Life" episode and "Savage Love" and the Bob Edwards interview with Nick Hornby. I'm so psyched. I know it was my birthday yesterday, but this is like Christmas!

cheers all!

The day after

83 Degrees Fahrenheit
2:25pm Nigerian Time
Written to the cricket in my window of my classroom, wait make that two cricket's songs

So a lot has been going on, as usual. I am now 29 and one day as Labaran reminded me this morning. It hasn't sunk in yet, maybe it never will since age is gradual. School is super busy. We are about to have the end of the quarter exams! Holy cow! We had country presentations yesterday! We've been preparing for the big party in 10 days! Making costumes, table cloths, etc. I think I'm going to do some paper mache decorations for the tables of some sort, I think. Today I even got conned into being a caterer this weekend.

Anyway, Carmencita threw me a lovely little birthday party dinner last night. Friday we are going out dancing. Saturday I have a comedy show to go to. Not to mention quiz night and yoga and belly dancing. ughhh. Does it ever settle down?

Anyway, the point of this post is things are moving forward, quickly as always, I don't feel any older, nor settled, nor like I have to worry about turning 30. What is thirty other than a social construct of expectations? What do you think?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

29

I am now officially 29 years old. Only 12 more months till 30. Still don't know if that's a good or bad thing, but this is for certain, it is inevitable.

We started reading "of mice and men' today. Today is Country Presentation day. So we'll be seeing presentations on Nigeria, Sierra Leone, two on Egypt and one on Cameroon. Also, we are watching "Pirates of the Caribbean" since it's adapted from "Treasure Island" which we finally finished. Woohoo!

Today during lunch we are going to celebrate my birthday. The prof, Labaran and I made pumpkin pie (from the pumpkin we baked this weekend), pumpkin carrrot cake, mango strawberry crisp, and guacamole and my one bag of tostitos scoops! Also, we are even going to have coffee! Yay!

Anyway, that's all for now. I am happy my birthday is finally here. Now I just gotta get through this party on the 31st. We are in the process of making costumes.

Happy Birthday to me!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Champions!

82 Degrees Fahrenheit
9:33pm Nigerian time

Tonight I had my first Yola Yoga class with Dr. Korie. It went pretty well actually. This surprised me. After that we had to rush to pick up the Artichoke dip I made and change our clothes and run back to Yola for Quiz night at Korie's as well. We made it there eventually and I was on Bill's, Ron's and Rohana's team. Well, tonight we were finally champions. Woohoo! It feels good to be back on top again.
Tonight, we made a big decision, well for us anyway. We've decided to we want to move to another compound, for many reasons though. We want to move to 10 flats, I never thought I'd say that, but it's true. We want to move. I'll list the reasons another time, but it's time to get back to this Treasure Island quiz.

Sunday Bloody Sunday

89 Degrees Fahrenheit
31 Degrees Celsius
9:06am Nigerian Time

It's Sunday morning here in Yola. I am in bed listening to music in bed and blogging, but I really should be typing up a Treasure Island exam, but before I can do that I have to read it! hahhaha. Yeah, really. This teaching thing is harder than I expected. I have three times the load than the Prof and in more ways than one. I teach more classes, more hours to those classes and they have to be more interactive. Yesterday, he had his first extremely interactive Computer Science class and was exhausted after an hour. I was like, what??? That's a sixth of my day everyday, not including it starts at 7:45ish and goes even longer when I hear, "Ms. Kate will you do PE with us today?" "Ms. Kate will you play tennis with us?" "Ms. Kate will you play water polo with us?" etc.
Anyway, today is another busy day for us. For school tomorrow at minimum I have read chapters 22-34 of Treasure Island and write the final. Ideally, I'd read some of the chapters we'll be doing tomorrow in class. Uggh. Also, we have yola yoga with Korie at 2pm and at 4pm at Korie's we have quiz night. I also have beans soaking for chili which I really need to make at some point. Man, the reason I understand most of my students is because I am just as good of a procrastinator as they are. Not too mention that I try and do to much. Maybe someday I'll learn to take on less, but for now, it's full steam ahead.
Did I mention that the cats broke a glass bottle last night in the middle of the night? Did I mention that our bathroom tub faucet will not turn off (water is a precious commodity around here) and we cannot find the shut off valve or get ahold of Titu the works and maintenance director. It's always a zoo around here no matter what!
I have to decide what I am making as a snack for quiz night tonight. Will I do artichoke dip or will I do brownies or both? What do you suggerst I make? The Prof is the moderator this week which means that he is not on my team again. The first time we played we won. We were team Mr. and Mrs. Palindrome. They split us up because everyone thought that we had an unfair advantage. Well, we were two against teams of four or six. The teams of four or six had at least two people per team minimum with PhDs totally outranking mine and the Profs, so we were like what? It's not the Profs fault he's walking encyclopedia or my fault that I chose to marry said encyclopedia. Seriously. So last week I was with Prof Charles and my oga Rani. We took last place. I am competitive and not happy about this at all. Today, the Prof is the moderator so we'll see what happens. Don't know who I'll have on my team today.
Yesterday was a crazy day as all Saturdays seem to be for me. Roasted 5 lbs of garlic, baked the pumpkin to puree it, made homemade pasta sauce and ate it, also roasted the pumpkin seeds. It was a yummy morning followed by a crazy busy afternoon. Checked out the children's lit workshop, hung out with Melba, went to the wine shop, followed by two hours of exhausting belly dancing where some folks were watching us that made me extremely uncomfortable, followed by 15 minutes in a very hot jacuzzi, then french fries with mayonaisse eating and baileys a drinking, a little dancing to the dj and then home to bed. This is our life in Yola.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

book list anyone?

Hey All,

So as m0st of you know I teach both middle and high school literature. I'm taking suggestions for any genre of literature. Give me your favorite books you read in high school, that you checked out from the library or some thing that's age appropriate. If it's not appropriate for all ages, mention which it is for... Please comment.

Some upcoming books we might read:

The Secret Life of Bees
Holes
The Hobbit (although cannot get a copy yet)
The House on Mango Street
The Crucible
Of Mice and Men
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part time Indian
A Raisin in the Sun
The Tell Tale Heart (read that one today)
Treasure Island (just finishing)
Purple Hibiscus
Mission to Kala

Suggestions please?

Na gode (thank you).

Either post a comment or send an e-mail. katherine.lawal@aun.edu.ng

take five


So I have said it before and will say it again. I need a new camera. it doesn't like taking photos at twilight, it doesn't really like to always take pictures during the daylight and it's never liked to take pictures at night. Anyway, this photo is of a new painting the Prof just bought me for my upcoming birthday on Tuesday. Yikes, Tuesday is soon and I turn 29!!!


Rama, my boss's hubby and one of my hubby's bestest buds here, who happened to even live in St. Cloud when we did gave me this pumpkin last Saturday. A fellow Indian chap here in Yola, well, actually in Numan, but that's neither here nor there grew it and gave it to him. So it's homemade pumpkin pie for my bday on Tuesday made by me. Anyone got a good recipe? So here's my current cornucopia, it was just Canadian Thanksgiving but not quite American Turkey Day! Soon though.


This is the not so little Lucky on the left and Einstein. They are looking kind of hardcore.

And of course, my bebe, the Beowulf. It's not the best picture, but he has not been up here in a while. So I figured why not throw one up!

the cat was calling me

Last night at around 2:13am I woke up. Not because we had no power, but because I heard what I thought was Lucky making a screeching yowl. So I searched for my cell phone and turned on the flashlight part, hence no electricity at our house from 2-4am. Then I went searching for the kitties. So first I found Lucky but then the screeching continued so I started to freak out but I had to go to the bathroom so I made a beeline for the bathroom. After that I went to tell the Prof and go to where I could really hear the yowling and realized that Einstein was dead asleep with the Prof. Anyway, so both cats were found and still no luck on figuring out where the hollering was coming from. I am pretty sure a kitty got onto the roof, crawled into a hole and is not stuck between our ceiling and the roof. In all likelihood it's one of Lucky's siblings since he came from outside of our house. So now we have the possibility of a cat dying in our ceiling. This is how we ended up with Lucky. He was dying under our trash can outside. Now, I have a cat that has crawled into the ceiling. This piebald cat orphanage has to quit, seriously. Thank god Basil wants a kitty. He might just get this one if we find it alive!

I'd post pics of the animals from last night but cannot find the adapter anywhere in my office.

Cheers!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Polo match


This is a photo of Mohammed Baba, a friend of ours who works for the chair of AUN's Board of Trustees, Mr. Ahmed Joda. Mohammed is the AUN Captain for the AUN Titans Polo team.


This was mine, the Prof's and Professor Charles first match ever.


At one point some goats and sheep and one dog were on the field. Only in Nigeria.


Notice the mountains in the back. Man, I need to get a new camera. Soon, it will happen.


I love Yola horses. Hmmm, maybe we'll go riding again this weekend!

photos of me


A photo from me at the club after the polo match. I look kinda frumpy I know....

karatu

The students have been busy-busy this week. Book reports due, short stories due for the children's literature workshop on Friday, country reports due on Friday as well, plus those good old Ms. Kate exams, one of which had a 100 questions this week.
Anyway, I wanted to post a little note about how you can help the students I work with or the Karatu foundation here in Yola as well. Karatu in Hausa means "learn" or "read." Both my middle and high school students have little to no books here to read. We need books. I have been printing off books from Project Gutenberg which I love and is great, but they are all so old. Please help! If you have any books that you wish to donate, books that you've read and will never use again that are appropriate, or see something cheap at a yard sale or garage sale or used bookstore, please please please donate it to us or to Karatu.
Karatu is a library that was started by Ms. Martha Speirs, the AUN Librarian. Karatu has set up small libraries in local village schools to get kids reading in Nigeria. There is no such thing as a library here other than at Universities. There are two ways to send them to us.

One. Mail them directly to me in Nigeria.

American University of Nigeria
care of Kate Hallet
Lamido Zubairu Way
Yola Township by-pass
PMB 2250, Yola
Adamawa State
Nigeria

Two. Mail them to Jasmine at our DC office and they will ship it to us.

American University of Nigeria, Washington Office
care of Kate Hallet
3201 New Mexico Avenue NW, Suite 258
Washington, D.C. 20016

Time to go eat lunch, print out that killer exam and teach more classes! By the way, these are amazing kids who love to read. It will be appreciated. We'll even send you a thank you card.

Love,

Kate

Sunday, October 11, 2009

goals?

Usually I am a goal driven person. I constantly have goals in my life that drive me forward. But I recently realized that currently I don't really have any goals at this moment. I could say things that wouldn't be true at all. My goals lately are extremely short term. Like getting through the semester as a good teacher. Or like yesterday doing all the things on my to do list like, market, polo game, cook food, go to belly dance class and quiz night. I am extremely surprised at this revelation because it is extremely unusual for me. Right now, I am not all that into school. I'm not even all that into having a family. Some other goals I could think of would be having a good next vacation, but come on, that's not really a goal, right? Heck, getting in shape isn't even a current goal of mine. However, I do plan on working out again starting tomorrow, but once again, I have no goal of working very hard at it or to look a certain way. Or maybe I'm still just disillusioned. Either way, it is what is I guess.
It's Sunday morning right now and the guys building a second floor on a shop next to my house are banging away, the church next door is going at it full force, and I am laying in bed typing away. It's been an okay weekend but extremely busy. Today isn't going to be much better but hopefully I will post some pictures later on.

Friday, October 9, 2009

TGIF, or maybe not?!?

So it's Friday. Usually I love Fridays, they typically mean the weekend is here or near. But not this Friday. It's another busy weekend and there's going to be lots of work in it.

Today, Friday, I am currently teaching five classes today. I had tenth grade Language Arts already, where we are currently reading "Treasure Island" and working on short stories that they will present at a conference next week. I am making them write a short story that is either related to Halloween, horror or has an element of mysticism in it. Then, I had seventh grade Language Arts where we discussed the same things but also went into details about the elements of a short story. After that I had the same seventh grader in World Cultures class where I gave an exam, but the fifty questions only took him fifteen minutes. So I luckily had a worksheet on Lake Baikal as a back up to keep him busy for another forty-five minutes.

Currently, I'm teaching eight and ninth grade Language Arts and they are journaling, so I decided why not blog now? We are listening to good old Miles and Rajes is trying to avoid writing and is continuously asking questions. Which is not too good of an idea considering their journals are to be handed in today. After this I have lunch and then African History with the tenth and Eleventh Graders.

So after my classes my hubby (the Prof) and I are off to a couple Polo Matches at the Yola Polo field and then off to pizza night at the club. After which we will likely head to the local bar next to our house with friends and chat at Fire Service for a while.

On Saturday, I have to drop the Prof off at his Saturday class, yep, you read that right. After that I pick up Taraba (one of our house helpers) and pick up my co-worker Rani and off to the market (kasuwa) we go. The new Modern Market in Jimeta just opened and I have not been yet. I need to get a few things to make Chicken curry for quiz night later that night, eggs for deviled eggs, again for later that night, pick up some goodies for the birthday bags for one of my adopted kids, Fadimatu's birthday for school and some fabric for some new clothes. After the market, it's off to another polo match. I just cannot get enough of local activities, I go to as many is possible for me to attend. Anyway after the match I have to run home and change, pick up Dr. Melba and head of to Carmencita aka Violetta's belly dancing class. After this I have to run home again pick up the curry and the eggs and head to quiz night!

Sunday Sunday. I plan on swimming and jacuzzing. I know it's not a word but whatever. I also have to read Treasue Island in order to write a quiz for Monday, take notes for a lecture on World History on the Hebrews, write an exam for African History, and work on more short story preparations. Also, I possibly have a party to go to in the evening. However, I am not quite sure that I was actually invited. I was invited by the husband of the party thrower and I was invited by and invitee, but I don't know if I/we were actually invited. So I may or may not be attending a Canadian Thanksgiving dinner.

However, it is a weekend and I do love weekends and going on outings and dressing up. So I think it will be good anyway. But I am a tad stressed about all that is packed into it and the lack of free time yet again!

Au revoir.

more pics of my house among other things


Yom Kippur Lamb dinner at our flat in Jimeta. Basil is in the green, Prof Charles in the gray and the Prof dancing around in the orange.


Our two youngest kitties, Lucky and Einstein. This was shortly after Lucky was in the fire.

Sukur Unesco World Heritage Site

Thursday, October 8, 2009

a little bit of this and a little bit of that


So my camera is crazy. It's not all that old but it sure does not want to take photos at night or in darker settings. errrrrr. this is of our house in Jimeta.


The Prof at the chess boards in Dupont Circle in Washington DC


The Prof at the Library of Congress in DC


Me and the Prof at the Library of Congress



Amin and Banji at Sukur UNESCO World Heritage Site
Near Maiduguri, Nigeria

delusional or disillusioned?


the waterfall


the waterfall from the village




again, the waterfall


the gang almost to the top.



Am I delusional or just disillusioned?




So I've been rather flaky all week. It could be the typhoid or this weird shot I had for the typhoid this week making me flaking and making me extremely forgetful or am I just out of touch with myself? Usually I have an amazing memory, so good to the point that it makes people freaked out. However, lately it is not there at all. So is my memory shut off or is it the fact that I'm under the weather. An example, tonight I was too call a friend in Alaska at six pm, first I lost her number and had to run back to my office to get it, then when it was time, just an hour later, I totally flaked! This was just after the day before when I wasn't thinking straight and had e-mailed her that I was going to call her at 9am her time tomorrow, which for her was tomorrow but for me, today. I didn't even realize what I was saying. It wasn't until she e-mailed me to ask what was up. Seriously, I'm a mess. I don't know what's up with me.

I'm even flaking on some of the things in my classes. It could also be that I'm teaching eight preps which is so outta control.

Good night, Mu kwana lafiya. Oh, make that nine preps, also teaching hausa class. ugghhh.

lightning strikes


Nigerian Independence Day Durbar


Did not get good pictures because my camera hates sunset, I know, seriously, come on! Also, the guys and their horses bowed down to Madame Kate and therefore I bowed to them and then did not get to take good pics!

This is a picture of Prof Charles and Victor, my student on their way up to the falls in Yadin, Adamawa, Nigeria.


Tonight there's a lot of lightning. I'm sitting in my bed listening to "the moth" podcast and watching the lightning which just might be the last of it of the year, which is sad. Here in Nigeria, in particular in Yola we have two seasons. One, the rainy stormy season which goes from late April to early October. Two, the dry hot harmattan season which goes from mid October till mid April. So we are approaching the dry hot harmattan season again, our first full one to be exact. We were here in Yola during most of the summer, which is unusual, but I loved the storms, although I was so bored, restless, and extremely stir crazy. Anyway, needless to say I will miss the storms, the rain, and the excitement and drama that tv and books just do not provide.

Life is okay right now, even though I have typhoid. School and I are finding a delicate balance which is nice. I'm starting belly dance classes that are taught by my friend. I'm going more for support than for the dancing, which I already know how to do, but don't really enjoy. This is going to be the beginning of my new workout regime that I am going to begin. My previous one got blown to bits after we didn't go on our UK trip and the biking along Hadrian's wall. So, I'm going to do it again so I can get into shape and prepare for whatever we happened to do in Egypt.

Egypt. I have never looked forward so much to a vacation before. Man, I cannot wait. Also, one for sure and possibly two girlfriends might visit in Spring, aka Januaryish. I cannot wait for this either. I miss having friends my age and who I have things in common with.

Been kinda addicted to Miles Davis and David 'Dave' Brubeck lately and am so sad that I am missing David Brubeck perform in Mpls, ugghhh... Anyway, I actually had my perfect Yola party a week after Sallah. Been having lots of dinner parties, lots of lamb, that I slaughtered myself, yeppers, been going to night clubs and dancing a lot and learning to know how to play new card games. Also got myself some new friends and some are above.

That's all for now.

nearing the falls

The Professor nearing the falls.

This title is very appropriate because this weekend the Prof was being pushed to the brink of what turned out to be a burn out. So this trip definitely helped him out, but I think Egypt, a trip to Abuja and Kano, some national parks in spring will be what he really needs!

If you look closely you can see how sweat stained his shirt is. It was at least 100 degrees Fahrenheit that day...

the waterfall

This last weekend the Professor and some friends went up to the waterfall not far from us in Yadin, Adamawa state. It's a difficult hike and not all made it to the top. I knew this and therefore did not go. I am not in shape for such an excursion. Here are some photos:
This last weekend the Professor and some friends went up to the waterfall not far from us in Yadin, Adamawa state. It's a difficult hike and not all made it to the top. I knew this and therefore did not go. I am not in shape for such an excursion. Here are some photos:


This is Labaran my assistant looking all western wearing Banji's sox hat, my marmot back pack and patagonia shirt.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Not my most typical fall

Sannu! I know it's been forever since I last blogged. I wasn't able to log in for over a month because I couldn't get into gmail and therefore, not accessible to blogger. Ughh! I thought I might have to start a new blog, but no, gmail finally began to work again.

I'm back in good old Nigeria and have started working again. I'm teaching secondary school at the American University Charter School. I am teaching 7-11 Language Arts, which includes: grammar, journaling, writing, literature, reading skills and more, also 7-11 social studies which breaks down like this: 7th grade World Cultures, 8/9th grade World History, 10/11 African History. Overall, I really love my job. I love teaching the kids and learning or re-learning things. I'm reading books I've never read before like Treasure Island. Can you believe it? Anyway, dealing with a new job, parents who are all professors, and working with my father-in-law as my boss have all but a bit challenging, but I am still here.

Currently, I'm going through round two of typhoid. It's not so pleasant. I don't know if it's worse this time or if it was worse in February. But typhoid is typhoid and again, I'm still here.

There are lots of new professors around now and they are a great new crew. It makes me really happy to be in Yola because I met them. I've been taking them on little trips here and there and it's forced me to go and see new places. We've now been to two new 'bush' bars called "Aisha" and the other "Silver." I prefer Aisha for two reasons, one it's way closer to the house and two, no AUN students!

I've been swimming more recently, but other than that tennis has been my only form of exercise. I've totally fallen of the exercise wagon and until this typhoid is gone can't really get back on. Which I am not totally happy about.

We are planning our Egypt trip for winter break. We'll be gone for about three and a half weeks! woohoo!

Anyway, I am in the middle of planning my big birthday bash which will be on Halloween. I'm going to have a live band, a dj, we're going to roast two lambs on the spit, there will be a fortune teller and two acrobats! Plus, it's a costume party!

More updates to come.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

trip from hell

So, I failed to update the blog for a while. I know, I know, not unusual. Well, there are many, many reasons why. First, a power line on top of our flat in Yola came tumbling down (damn nepa) and hit the mast for the internet signal which burnt all the ethernet jacks and anything attached to them, most importantly the server I was using, worth many thousands of dollars. ughhh. Second, the Prof got denied his UK visa. Yep, I know, I know. Can't believe it either. So we came to the only place left, the states. At first, it started out to be a wonderful vacay. We started off in Cambridge, Mass staying at the lovely Sheraton Commander and now are in DC.

Anyway, back to Boston and Cambridge. The weather was hot, even after living in Yola. We both have fallen in love with Cambridge and are both wondering if we totally misjudged Boston last time we were there. Anyway, we are thinking of maybe spending next summer there. On Sunday we took the train down to DC for the Prof's Monday morning visa appointment for the Netherlands. Eight long hours later we arrived at good old Union Station and ran to the Chromy's to an even hotter DC/Silver Spring.

Anyway, I have been very sore lately, sore joints and bones, it's been happening for a while now, six months or so. So our long walk to the Netherlands Embassy was a long hot one for me. We got there to find out that since our vacay is more than three months out, he can't apply. So all the work for nothing, plus, we came to DC just for this. Ughhh.

From there we headed to lunch at an okay Thai place in Tenleytown called "Neisha." After that we hailed a cab and headed to AUN's DC office to pick up my new kindle among other goodies from Patagonia and visit with Jasmine. After a long good talk, we headed back to Silver Spring. Anyway, it's a few days later and lot has happened. We are staying at a pretty decent hotel in Dupont Circle, Carlyle Suites. But yesterday the atm ate my credit card that took me like 7 months to get, the one that we were going to have upped the limit since the Prof's hasn't shown up yet, and PNC destroyed it, which ultimately has destroyed our travel plans. No credit card, no car rental, hotel rental, etc. Now my prepaid card isn't working either. The good news is we are able to get in touch with our bank finally, first time all week, but it's sporadic. I tried changing our flight to earlier, but that isn't possible either, not even for a fee. I don't know if we just aren't supposed to travel to DC or if we aren't supposed to come to the states, or travel at all.

This whole summer has just devastated me.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

spider bite

So yesterday I got a spider bite. It really itches and the colour of it bothers me a bit. But for now I will just watch it and see what happens.

So Banji leaves for the day tomorrow to fly to Abuja and pick up his passport at the outsourced British visa processing centre, hopefully with a bright and shiny UK visa in it. If this happens he'll be back later in the evening on the plane and we'll buy tickets to London on Emirates airline. I'm getting excited as the date approaches but oh so nervous at the same time. Nothing ever seems to go the way it's supposed to here. So I'm just waiting for the other shoe to drop. I'm not normally so pessimistic but lately nothing seems to go as planned or right. Anyway, got a place to stay while we are there as well, so things are definitely looking up.

The Prof is happy to be finished with a grueling summer schedule of four classes in 10 weeks and is relieved to be able to leave Nigeria. His summer holiday plans are to sleep and download PDF's. Yep, that sounds like the Prof alright.

As for the issues with Boko Haram around here, we aren't seeing anything happen. However, there is a slight military presence about, which I find comforting. Anyway, there are crazies everywhere I just hope they don't come here.

Farewell and good night. Mu kwana lafiya.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

jammed my foot

this is oliver and einstein.


beowulf doing his thing.


oliver and einstein about to start a fight.


rams aka lambs on the road.


the view of yola from fufore.

So I just jammed my foot trying to walk to the server I call my computer. It really hurts. Anyway, today was an okay day here. Nothing really exciting just running errands as usual.

So this is how my day went. Woke up, made Peace Coffee, fed Beowulf, Lucky, Einstein and Oliver, took a bath, got monkey food ready, drove to school with Amin, fed the monkeys, picked up the Prof and went to the club, ate lunch at the club, drove the Finance VP's office, spoke with her for a bit, canceled the Prof's missing sim card, dropped him off at his office, went home, picked out exercise clothes, picked up Beowulf to go swimming with Labaran, showed Labaran the labs so he knows what rooms to open and close, then off to the club so the Prof and Amin could swim and I worked out in a gym with no AC, so I cut it short, then ate dinner, came home met with Ibrahim the good/bad tailor, fed the animals, jammed my foot and now typing this.

So, kinda stressin about the UK trip. The UK is so expensive compared to Nigeria or the US. Sometimes I wish I had millions so I could stop worry and no, not naira, dollars.

The pics I added are some pics from the last month.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

life in yola

I'm adding some photos here, they were taken a while back, but at least you can some of what life is like here.



This photo is a village on the way to Fufore from Yola. Fufore is the local government (county) on my license plate. They had no Yola ones left when we bought our car. This gives you an idea of the terrain, houses, and scenery around us.



This is a sunset from the club. The sunrises at 6 and sets at 6 everyday. Yes, the cars are very similar and could have even come from the states.


A local eyore 'donkey' here. I'm in ove with these guys. I want one!



Einstein is on the left and Oliver is on the right. Two out of the three piebald cat orphans we have!



So life here has its ups and downs. Banji's pay is decent and there are major perks. No rent, no taxes, vacation time, no paying for electric and stuff like that. But there are some major downfalls too. No internet, no electricity, major heat, politicking, etc. Recently, my main struggles are: waiting for confirmation of a job/contract, a houseguest who's very different than me, getting our holiday trip put together.

Today, the Prof, Labaran and Amin went off to Sukur, without me. I have a bad backache and I think it's for the best that I stay here. It gives me a day to just chill. We had some stress yesterday. Labaran hit someone else's car with ours at Oasis Bakery. Labaran cut his finger really bad while making chicken for Beowulf and the cats. When he lit the crazy oven of ours, Lucky was underneath and was not so lucky and his little whiskers and hair got singed. I'm most worried about his ears which got burnt as well. I put fresh aloe vera on him and gave him crushed panadol in milk. I know, I know, it sounds a little crazy. But the shit this poor cat has gone through is unbelievable! I'm trying to arrange this UK trip. It's kind of stressing me out. The UK is so expensive! Anyway, so I am home relaxing, canceling our hotel reservations from Italy and watching Whale Wars and In Treatment on DVD.

Cheers.

Friday, July 17, 2009

training

A lot has been happening here lately, even though I am not working. Currently, Banji's friend Amin is visiting from Minnesota. The cat count is up to three. We have Beep Beep, Cous Cous, Einstein, No leg that we've had since April when Nicole was here. We have Oliver since May, who's originally Janette's cat. Then now, we have Lucky Rago, for a couple of weeks. Three pie bald kittens from the streets of Yola and Jimeta. The monkeys are up to three. Audrey and Jack had a baby girl. Soon I hope to post pics. Beowulf is still the only dog in our life, thank god. So a lot is going on in our tiny household. We've painted the walls, built shelves and other things, and put all the art up.

Our trip to Italy has been canceled. :-( Banji's Italian visa appointment was slated for September 18th, when we were hoping to arrive somewhere around the 6th of August. So that didn't work out. So now, UK it is. Which has led to me scramble to plan a trip beyond London and Brighton. So my friend Jill, who's blog is posted here, who happens to have a book about her story of her life which leads to her current obsession of endurance biking. Anyway, I just happened to finish Jill's book and now we have decided to do a little more than a century tour from coast to coast in England along Hadrian's wall. It's about 117 miles, it's not the type of century you do typically in a day, we are doin g over many days, taking our time and relaxing and staying in B&B's along the way. So I've begun training in the gym. Not getting too far. This bike tour is going to kick my ass, but c'est la vie. I'll be in shape by the end! lol.

Life at AUN is stressing me out, making me down, having a houseguest who's very different from me is doing the same. I'm in dire need of a holiday and some good friends, martinis and chocolate.

Sai an jima.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

baby monkey was born




So we have these monkeys on campus. There names are Aud(b)rey and Jack. I am not quite sure what kind they are. But Aud(b)rey was preggers until this morning when she had the baby!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

sick and tired

I am sick and tired of this place. It could be because I am sick. It could be because I need a job and there's so much wahalla going on right now that I can't get one. I just want to be away from here. But then I still worry. I worry about the money I am not earning. I hate it, I hate it, I hate. I'm so unhappy right now. One little thing could make it all go away. But I don't think that's going to happen anytime soon. Plus, I hate Oliver. I want him to go away too...

Thursday, June 11, 2009

what i'm reading...

I have almost finished a new great read I picked up at Salamander Cafe in Abuja. 'Black Gold of the Sun' by Ekow Eshun. I highly recommend it. Ekow is a Ghanaian Brit, or maybe he doesn't think so. Anyway, I recommend the book. Not feeling the greatest these days. Either a storm is brewing inside of me or all the stress in my mind has gotten me into something.

Monday, June 8, 2009

abuja

Last weekend Banji and I went to Abuja for the weekend to celebrate his belated bday. Banji freaked out about the costs of everything as he usual does, even though back in the states he'd drop $200 a day on biking gear with no thought.  Just swipe the card, hop back on his bike and off he went.  Regardless of the dollars/naira we dropped, we ate, we slept, and most importantly we enjoyed.  We stayed at the Sheraton, at immense amounts of those large prawns I've only seen in Nigeria, although, sidestriped shrimp from Alaska are still my faves, we ate steaks from South Africa, we drank chapmans by the pool while I complained about the Germans and their speedos and prostitutes, we shopped, and I ate hazelnut gelato.  Yep, hazelnut gelato.  

Some of my favorite parts about our trip to Abuja was the Salamander Cafe in Wuse II.  This place was recommended by our friend Ramesh who no longer works at AUN.  This place is colorful, has couches, great decor, great coffee and food.  It's like a real coffee house.  I love it.  The best part is the bookshop and cd store inside.  I was truly hoping to find DVDs there, but no such luck, but I did get lots of new cds.  But no Nneka, which I was extremely disappointed about.  But someday, I'll get it.  Of course, the Obudu is the other favorite place in Abuja.  However, we did luck out and were at the Sheraton during their Sunday Barbeque.  Which was amazing, I even had grilled red snapper.

Anyway, back in Yola.  I'll be without a computer as of tomorrow.  Which totally sucks.  I'm going to start writing daily in my notebooks that I have.  So I'm going to try something new with that later.  Anyway, still no job.  Oh well.  Busy planning our Europe trip and looking into our winter trip to Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia.  Woowee!  brb.  bathroom break.  Went swimming today.  Going to work harder at getting in some exercise and getting Beowulf to the pond to swim too.  

Still no rainy season.  Random rain, yes it's hard and intense storms, but just not the real deal yet.  

Salaam.  

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency

I just want to make shout out to Jill Scott and her show, the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency. I watched the first season while in DC at my aunt and uncle's house and loved it. It's a true African show where there's NO White People (bature's). I just cannot believe there are no white folks and how enjoyable the show is. I wish I had read the book first, but didn't. I highly recommend it to anyone who's a tv watcher like me!

let me go home

So I've been in the states a while now and haven't written much on this blog about it. I came home to renew my visa and to shop. Unfortunately, many things happened while I was in the states which led me be frustrated and to stay much longer than expected...

They upped the price half way through the visa process, and decided that I would have to start from the beginning, forcing me to pay the expedition fee. The bastards. I hate shopping. I prefer to look online, go to the store, find out what fits and go back home and order online. I did this but I had multiply problems. One, some stores would decline my credit card since it's International a few times, then third try it would work and be shipped late, so then I wouldn't receive it on time. I played this game many times. Or I just couldn't buy it all. So I either was forced to be on the phone for hours taking care of this mess, which I hate the phone almost as much as going to the store. I had to go to the store carrying around all these heavy bags of stuff "kaya" and drag them around MN, ME and DC. I've been lugging around like 200 lbs of luggage since I go here and continue too. Anyway, so I've had non stop back pain.

I just want to go home to Yola. People who live in Nigeria think I'm crazy for loving it there. Well, whatever I just do. My family is there in more than one way. I miss them all like crazy. I miss Banji, I miss Beowulf, I miss Einstein Beep Beep Cous Cous, I miss Labaran and Amina and the kids. I miss my bed. I miss the club. I miss the heat. I miss my car. I just wanna go home. Let me go home. Like the beach boys said, "i feel so broke up, i wanna go home."

Sai an jima.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

missin my peeps

Sendin love from America:

my hubby, Banji, so sorry I'm going to miss your bday. love you.
Beowulf (my chocolate lab) missing you like crazy.
Einstein (kitty) Sannu
Labaran, I'll be back soon, I swear. I'll give you a short holiday.
Asma'u, I want to see how the swimming lessons have paid off.
Faiza, Mommy Kate will return soon. You can come visit then.


If I didn't put you down, it doesn't mean I don't miss you. Just a shout out to those who are worried.

What do I miss most about Nigeria, my people (family) and the people.

jet lag

So I'm in the states. I'm renewing my visa or getting a new one or something like that. Of course, there was a lot of wahalla to get here. Now that I'm here, of course the wahalla follows me around like a tail. But that's okay. Life goes on even when the wahalla continues.

A few examples of wahalla in my life before I left:

My mac started on fire.
My iPod died.
Couldn't get my credit card from the bank and Banji didn't get paid on time.

A few examples of wahalla since I've arrived:
They upped the visa rate in the middle of processing my visa and therefore started over from the beginning which means a new 10-14 business days to wait, meaning I was forced to pay the extra $65, which is like a pair of shoes, three good meals, or many other things.

Everywhere I went I packed for the wrong weather. Cold in Minnesota, was Hot in Maine, what is DC going to be like, don't know yet!

So this is what and where I've been since I've left. I arrived in DC Friday the 8th and took off on the train to Minneapolis, MN on Sunday the 10th. Arrived via train on late Monday night the 11th. Left on Tuesday the 19th for Maine. Got to Chicago later that day, DC on the 20th by train and the next afternoon the 21st Thursday, I arrived by bus in Bangor, Maine. Now I'm returning to DC and shall arrive by tomorrow the 25th, Memorial Day. I anticipate leaving from DC to Yola Thursday the 28th.

Culture shock has occurred repeatedly. Panic attacks have happened and I want to go home, but I can't. My best time so far has been in Maine. I really enjoyed Maine. It reminds me of Alaska. Since I couldn't go to Alaska, it was a close second, plus I got to hang out with Adam and got to check off another National Park off my list, Acadia, check.

I miss the heat and calm of Yola. Seeing everyone cycle here makes me miss riding a bike badly. I really want to go home and ride a bike in the hot hot sun. That sounds fantastic right about now.

More adventure tales later.

Salaam.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

let the rain fall...


I know I haven't written much on this blog since we arrived in mid January. I'd try and fill you in but I'd never succeed. So I am going to move forward and hopefully some of the blanks will be filled in - in time.

We live in Jimeta and work in Yola, in Adamawa State, in Northern Nigeria. Banji is a Professor at American University of Nigeria and currently I am a housewife. I was working in University Relations and technically I guess I still am, but am on a hiatus. More about work later, probably another post. Here's a link to the Universities website:
http://www.abti-american.edu.ng/

Recently, our dog Beowulf joined us, thanks to our great friend Nicole who helped transport him here from Minnesota. We also have a new kitty, who is unnamed, but is referred to as "beep beep" and "cous-cous." Yola is very hot and dry. It's pretty rural for a city.

The heat has been getting to me. I do a lot of errand running and when you are out and about all day long in 100 plus temperatures and sometimes it reaches as far as 130 lately!!!! It can be very taxxing. Lately, I've been spending most of my days preparing to come to the states and getting things ready. Getting all my documents in order, getting presents for folks back home made or prepared, getting the cat and dog ready to be taken care of, and my husband of course as well. I've been preparing a trip for Banji to take while I am away. Banji has a morning class and a night class every day of the week right now. So he spends most of every day in his office from around 7:30am till 9pm at night. Yes, it's insane. It's not too good of a schedule for a marriage, let me tell you.

We are living in Jimeta, in one of the compounds and we have a two bedroom apartment. Life is very different here than from states. We have intermittent power, most of it is from a generator. We sometimes have no water. The internet is always going down, as is the phone network. Life is extremely different. Driving is a trip in itself. There are no road laws here.
The rainy season is coming and I am looking forward to it. Will let you all know more details as time and internet permits.

Salaam.

-KJHL

Saturday, April 25, 2009

more photos from Nigeria


In this photo: Taraba (Labaran's younger brother and Beowulf's dog nanny), three fulani women, Me, Hassan, Asma'u (Labaran's daughter with Taraba) and by me is Kabiru (Labaran's son). This photo was taken by Kiri Dam.



Congestion in Kano. Nicole took this photo in the car.




A man dying fabric in the Kano dye pits. Some of the oldest dye pits in the world.



Me with a stirrer at the dye pits in Kano. Kano is one of the oldest commercial cities in West Africa. It happens to be extremely muslim under Sharia law and is why I am wearing hijab.



Me in hijab at the Kano airport. Saying "farewell" to Nicole.