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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.