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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

new technology, new day

So today went significantly better than yesterday.  Today technology was on my side.  I am attached to this new little orange ipod nano I got that the hubby brought back from the states for me.  It has a pedometer on it and it's fun.  So I've been tracking myself on it and it has all sorts of goals like climb everest or climb the stairs of the Empire State Building.  So I wear it all day long around school and watch my steps as I go to the bathroom for the sixth time.  Plus, I get to jam to my tunes and listen to my podcasts. 

This week's song list is:

1.  "little lion man" by Mumford and Sons--The Current Song of the Day by Minnesota Public Radio
2.  "heart of steel" by Galactic featuring Irma Thompson--The Current Song of the Day by Minnesota Public Radio
3.  "the only one" Kevin Devine--The Current Song of the Day by Minnesota Public Radio
4.  "up" by Miracle/Man--NPR Second Stage Podcast
5.  "4 chords of the apocalypse" by Julian Casablancas--KCRW's Today's Top Tune Podcast

All of these songs are free on iTunes and it's great because all my credit cards are Nigerian so they don't work on iTunes, which is probably a very good thing because I'd be spending too much money on music that I don't have time to listen too!  Anyway, so those are my jams of the week. 

Also, I got a cheap fix for the volume problem with the projector/laptop/dvd problem.  I bought a headphone to headphone cord and it works!!!  So today was a good technology day.  Also, two other good things happened too.  One, Yakubu had my Pantene Conditioner!  Two, Yakubu had Lucky Charms!  Yep, you read that right.  Lucky Charms, the real ones, in the land of Naija.  It made my day.  Anyway, so now I am writing up tomorrow's lecture and creating my slideshow on Chinese New Year for Grade 8 and 9 Social Studies, well I should be, I took a break to write this and to listen to the Gourd's version of "Gin and Juice."   Tomorrow Grade 7 has an exam that I wrote earlier today, yep getting a bit ahead.  Grade 7 begins the Hobbit and Grades 8 and 9 will continue watching the 195 minute long Anne Frank film that they are loving!  This week Ms. Kate rocks, I must say.  I am looking forward to having Friday off.  However, I'm not totally ahead because I have to go to the doctor tomorrow to have an x-ray and some blood work done.  Errrr.   I keep coughing all day long, dry cough with phlegm, ick.  It's been going on since seriously and shamefully mid-December!  I know, I know.  Living here it's so easy to pretent like you are fine when you are not since we don't have access, which is lie too, because I have two great friends who can take care of most of our needs.  Dr. Sumit Kar is a public health doc and his wifey extraordinaire Dr. Tulika Kar is an amazing opthalmalogist.  So eyes and innards are taken care of.  Anyway, so Sumit said I need bloodwork and an x-ray so he can properly diagnose me.  I'm also having serious issues with number two.  Mostly I can't.  I've tried bananas, water, hot drinks, many laxatives, and still to no avail, little or no success.  He's thinking, this is shameful and scary, seriously, like my nightmare, worms.  Yes, worms.  You read that right.  You are freaking, I know.  Cuz I was and am too.  Since I've been having the two problems for some time now I am thinking he's right.  Scary.  So tomorrow I'm going to head to the clinic mid-day to take care of my medical issues. 

I'm not hooked up to electricity right now because I am enjoying the no cord-ness that's new to my life since I finally got a new battery for this SIX year old mac that is still ticking.  Man, that puts my relationship in perspective!  Seriously.  We got this when we were living in MPLS and going to the U of MN.  Anyway, it's still ticking as I said and I had the Prof buy me a new battery because the old one was lasting only 30 seconds, literally.  Also, I bought a spare power cord just in case as well.  They burn out easily here.  The voltage isn't the same and the mac cords seem to have more problems.  I have burned through like six in the last year which totally sucks. 

I started reading the latest Rebecca Walker book yesterday.  One big happy family edited by Rebecca Walker.  I read her intro story and I read Dan Savage's as well.  I enjoyed both immensely.  This book is not what I expected it would be about, but totally is hitting the spot.  I am obsessed with the idea of family, what is it, what I want it to be, what I want from it, and how I never seem to get what I want out of it, so much that I shut my own out last year, it's been over a year now and it's been great.  My hubby and friends are my new family, but I still long for that family of my own.  Meaning children of some sort.  I think I've mastered a good family of friends, and certainly of animals, but I think my family, meaning my siblings is a long-lost cause, one that I seriously have given up for my own sanity.  Although, I miss my mother dearly and if she were still alive I might be continue to please my big brother and big sisters incessantly and failing miserably or getting very terrible results.  So I am happy with my new version of family, but I know when I have one my own, it will be different, not perfect, but our little version of perfect.  I might blog what that might be like someday, or might not.

Anyway, so long.  For tonight that is.   Gotta plug in now! 

Monday, February 22, 2010

bad monday

I had a really bad day today.  Nothing like when the Prof was gone or the bad fuel situation to Yankari, but a bad day nonetheless.  I actually really had a technological day.  For example, I gave Labaran my camera with my memory card inside of it.  I had deleted some photos and left only what I needed printed on it to make it easier.  However, some how when I did this it seriously messed it up.  So it is no longer showing up on my camera or on my laptop.  Also, it's very expensive for a new one here and they could not find a new one for me!  Err!  The second thing that has occurred is that I bought all these DVD's of the book's we read in class and we started to watch them this morning in class.  We watched Anne Frank and Call of the Wild but we could not hear at all on these crappy $1200 US Dollar Dell laptops that are a complete rip off.  Anyway, so I sent Labaran out to buy speakers to hook up.  He bought the speakers and they weren't much better.  Also, I gave him money to buy another new DVD player now that ours is broken, the new one Banji bought me in just November!!! 

Anyway, I have been reading a new book, One Big Happy Family edited by Rebecca Walker and loving it.  I'm watching the boy in striped pajamas right now.  I am previewing it for class.  I watched most of it a few weeks ago but never finished it and want to make sure it's not inappropriate. 

The heat is a bit intense these days.  I'm not happy how much money I have been spending lately.  Anyway, life must go on.  I'm off to bed soon.  The Prof and Steph are out getting Banji's hairs buzzed off.  I sent her with him to experience Yola barbershops.  I think we are going to try another Shawarma place tomorrow.  Maybe Downtown, the new restaurant, which also claims to have Kentucky Chicken (I think it's Nigerians call fried chicken) as well.  Anyway, I'm going to go grab a pudding and hit the hay.  Night all.  I'll report more on how the shawarma goes tomorrow.

Oh and by the way, poor Lucky is sick.  Not a good story with that one either. 

Sunday, February 21, 2010

my lazy weekend

This was one of the laziest weekends I've had in a long time.  I have enjoyed it thoroughly.  It was filled with television watching on the laptop in bed, movie watching on the laptop in bed, listening to podcasts in bed, hmm, is there a theme here???

It's Sunday now and I've gotten up at a decent Sunday hour of 8 am and I bathed, made breakfast, and now we are about to head out to go swimming.  Later on it's funnel cake making and going to this trivia thing we do on Sunday afternoons, and tonight the Prof returns home from DC, yay!

Anyway, so the weekend was okay.  I had another bit of stress with Labaran.  I'm beginning to think he's not quite as smart and wise as I once thought.  Was I just convincing myself to see things that were not there or is he just slowly losing his edge, or me mine? Hmmm.  Makes me wonder and think.

 So this is the epilogue.  I made breakfast, we exercised, but funnel cakes are not going to happen.  Both of us are still full from breakfast, the power is up and down, remember our 24 hours of NEPA days are ovver, so we don't wanna be steaming over a hot stove.  Anyway, but we are off to this trivia thing we do on Sunday afternoons.  It was strange.  There were only white folks at the club for over an hour and not just a few of us whiteys.  There were many, many of us.  There was me and Steph, Prof Bill, the South African man, the Namibian woman, the German guy, the two nasty Aussie Abti father daughter couple, and three random whiteys inside, not including Mario.  It was crazy.

Anyway, I am really looking forward to seeing my hubby.  This was the first time I was alone in Nigeria, in his country, when we has in our country.

 This whole expat thing is still strange for me.  I am looking forward to our time in Boston this summer, but then I know I'll be counting down they days that I am back in Yola, while I am in Yola, I will counting down the days till I am back stateside.  It's kind of strange world.  However, am I really an expat if this my husband's country and therefore my adopted country?  I am not sure.  It's been over a year and I don't really consider myself and expat and not sure if I could be an expat for my whole life.  I honestly feel like our next move should be back to our country and that's the states.  I often get really pissed when Americans who are American passport holders do not appreciate how lucky they are and say bad things about the country that's brought them so much.  When people here would literally kill to go the states and make minimum wage.  But most Nigerians will never have that luxury, especially not after "Farouk's" incident in December.  My own husband was denied a UK visa last summer and he lived in the UK for three years while growing up and has been a US greencard holder for over 15 years!  So I do think our next move after this might be stateside or Canada.  Which is like the US but not quite.  But an American in Canada is not an expat in my opinion.  Have you ever been an expat?  How did it make you feel? 

Friday, February 19, 2010

weekend

This picture is from Yankari while we are hiking along the caves.  I feel like I'm on a path to nowhere which was how I felt on this hike.  


It's the weekend and man, it really feels like it for me, seriously.  The funny thing is I don't really even have an serious weekend plans.  I don't know if we are going to chill and drink at the club tonight, or go the Aisha, or the Fire Service.  Or just chill and watch the olympic highlights at the house.  Yeah, we seriously only get the highlights.  It sucks, but it's better than when I was in Alaska and got nothing besides the occasional five minutes on tv at the bar.  Anyway, no real plans, but I really feel like whooping it up, or at least this morning I do.  I've been jamming to tunes all morning in my room and now at my desk.  So I am totally in the Friday mood. 

So for lent, I'm not a practicing Catholic, Jew or Muslim at all.  Raised Catholic, dad's side was Jewish but converted before I came along and I worked at many Jewish orgs and I consider myself a Jew, and married a Muslim who is no longer practicing.  Anyway, but I am currently teaching a huge unit about world religions to my students and on Tuesday we studied fat tuesday, so I have decided to go 40 days and 40 nights completely gluten free and soda and caffeine free!   Eeek!  Wow!  Kai!  That's what Labaran said to me.  That's longer than Ramadan.  My Christian students, 2 outta the 3 boys that is, have also given things up.  Anyway, so I gave up coffee which is affecting my mornings, but not my nights!  I can drink, drink, drink away as much as my body can handle. 

Sunday is another 'Quiz night.'  Yep, it's still during the day and not at night and we still don't have a better name.  Triviathon maybe?  Could work, I suppose.  Anyway, shall be interesting.  The Crazy Nutter Prof who had a freak out last time asked if we were having another this Sunday!  Yikes!

Yesterday, on a whim, I applied for a couple of jobs at MIT.  Yeah, I probably won't even get interviews, but yes, I did it.  I don't know really what it means or not.  I don't hate Yola, or even the chaos here at AUN, but I do feel like I am moving nowhere quickly.  Even if I do get another job with more responsibilities and a higher pay, I still don't know what that means.  I feel like when I am stateside and in school seriously, than maybe I'll feel closer to coming into a goal.  Which is really what I want.  But then I have this stupid lingering need every now and againg to start a fam and I don't want to be a student and mom.  Not now that is.  So...  Anyway, I guess I need to ponder some more. 

It's 9am and I have my first class of the day now.  So I am going to jam to 'Miracle' by Man one more time before giving out a journal topic of the day.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Orks




These are pictures of trees in Yankari that I loved.  I am not sure what kind they are, but considering I am doing some research on trees here, I will figure it out and then post it. 






So I am at work blogging, which is not unusual.  I often blog here during my free time.  Which I rarely have much of at work, but I try and make time.  Anyway, I am taking an easy day.  For social studies I am teaching about Southeast Asia and Angkor Wat and the Incan Religion and Macchu Pichu.  So I have a video from National Geographic on each, so I am taking a break today.  So while they watch I will be prepping for their lectures on it tomorrow!  So I am taking the easy road, but I need to because I have to run errands for the Prof and his Dean for some other Profs so they can get laptops from the US.  Ok, so I ran the errands and nothing really was resolved and I realized in the middle of trying to sort it all out, that I was unnecessary in the entire equation.  I was totally not needed.  The only reason I am needed is to follow up and through on matters and keep people on task to get the job done.  But in the end that is not my job anyway.  I often take it on, but it often stresses me out, forces me to get angry and people and makes me miserable.  So I am not going to do that when I notice I am, anymore.  I met with Hassan and he seems to care and will take care of the hubby Prof's hotel and so at least I can check that off the list.  My students are watching their video about "Macchu Pichu" as I should be working on their lecture's for tomorrow, but no, I am checking my mail, wandering through my amazon cart to find out 'where my stuff is' and chatting to Prof Charles in person.  Yep, I'm a bad employee today. 

So this week is looking up.  The Prof will be back before we know it, tomorrow is Friday and Pizza night.  Saturday is the weekend.  So this weekend I hope to do what I hope to do everyweekend and that is prep, read, relax and cook.  What I normally get done on a weekend is cook, shop, dance, eat, visit many people, but never relax, read, or prep, almost ever!!!  I am so bad.  Oh, well.  Life will go on even if I don't relax, read or prep on my weekends. 

So enjoy the trees, although I am not sure what kind they are.  The power is going downhill at Abti House again.  Ho-Hum.  Gone are the good days filled with 20 plus hours of NEPA, and now we are back to the days with the gen and gen breaks.  C'est la vie.

Shalom.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A little less talk and a lot more action


Here's a photo of Steph at the Marshall Caves at Yankari National Park in Bauchi State, Nigeria.  We call this cave the bathroom because it stunk like urine.  These caves were man made and supposedly used as hideouts during the slave trade.







Here's Prof Charles, aka Charlie 'Indiana' Jones at the caves as well.  He's looking a bit surprised, although I kept saying "smile."





Here's Labaran and his daughterr Asmau.  She was a brat the entire trip.  Refused to say one darn word to me.  Labaran was not showing his better side either.  But it's a nice picture and show's the place. 

Enjoy.  If you ever get to Naija land I recommend coming to Yankari. 

animism

 


This is a photo of a baboon jumping.  I think it's pretty cool.

 


This is a water buck.  

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Closer to fine


This picture is from about a week and a half ago.


These past few days have been quite hard on me.    The Prof, my hubby has traveled to the US.  He did his usual thing where he holes himself in and forgets that anyone cares that he flew to the US in a blizzard and going through customs and Immigration after flying from Nigeria and forgot about me.  Forgot to inform his person, his wife, that he arrived, that he changed his hotel, that he got a new phone and what the number is.  So obviously, it has been a rough few days because it had been five days since I had heard from him.  The hotel told me he did not check in, the conference told me the same.  So life was rough those days, but today was worse when I did speak to him and he had no reasonable explanation as to why.  So I am not a happy camper today at all.

I fired Labaran yesterday, after he refused to listen to me when we drove over 800 miles with bad fuel or fuel mixed with lots and lots of water.  He does not know that this is temporary, but I don't want him to know that because he needs to learn his lesson.  

It's Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday today depending on where you live.  I'm debating about what I should do about this.  Should I give meat for lent?  Milk and caffeine?  Soda?  I am not sure.  We celebrated in school today.  We did a little race.

I'm doing a bit better now but still not up to fine. 

Monday, February 15, 2010

Lucy the Magnificent Elephant

I named this elephant Lucy.  She is around 50 years old, so says our guide named God, not necessarily a reliable source, but the only one we had.  She was severely injured and it made me quite sad.  I think I may make postcards of some of the Lucy shots when I go to the states.

Enjoy them.

Baboons anyone?


This is a photo of the baby baboons running out from under someone's car.  Before that they were rocking a large plastic water tank around like it was a jungle gym.  lol.


Anyone want their but picked or cleaned?  These baboons are at Yankari National Park in Bauchi State Nigeria.  Bauchi is about five hours away from Yola.

 


This bad assed baboon was walking next to our 'hut' looking for more food.  They had already broken in and eaten a ton of stuff.  



 
 
 
Let's all be friends.  The warthog on the right is chillin in a pile of mud, or the closest thing here, while these were the butt pickers from before.
This is an example of the baboons breaking and entering.  They are holy terrors!
 
There will more pictures over the next few days.  Mostly everyone had a good time.  I had a bit of a stressful time, but that's a long story and one I am choosing not to get into at this point.  sorry!



Thursday, February 11, 2010

AUN snaps

 
 
On the left is Steph with Mikailu.  On the right, it's B looking on all crazy.  He's my 7th grader.  He's off doing his Scavenger Hunt thing.  




This is EE the brand new dorm.  I realize I never usually put AUN photos up.  So it's about time, I suppose, right?

Monday, February 8, 2010

AUN



So I live and work for American University of Nigeria.  Normally if someone said that, I would say, "hey you said that wrong" but no, I didn't.  I do work for AUN and I live in their faculty compounds.  So yes, I do.  Anyway, I was going to post a few pics from the student's scavenger hunt from a few Friday's ago, but couldn't in the end.  Oh well.  Here's a photo that Ro did take though.  The goal of the photo was to get the words Yola on it. 

Life is okay this week.  Got a little injured coming home from Quiz night on Sunday, fell up the steps, but life goes on.  Just a bit bruised and banged up.  Had no internet most of the day today until now.  Again, life goes on.  We start the Hobbit tomorrow and I'm doing a big no-no because I have never read the book yet.  Oh well, life goes on... 

Will post more pics later when internet flow is better.  All three of us living here are using it now since we did not have it much today.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Yola Slickers

 


          I call this photo "Yola Slickers."   This is Charles and Steph on the horses on the campus of AUN.  We rode a few times last semester and have been continuing this semester.  I think by Fall semester we will consider buying our own.   Who needs children when you have a dog, two cats and horse on the way?  
         
          Have you ever made the decision of animals or children before?  Well, we have continually and the animal count rises and we just aren't ready for that jump into mother/fatherhood yet.  Do you think we are crazy?  Maybe, maybe not.  But it is what it is.  In the meantime, we continue to ride...

So what?

 
      The photo above is of Steph who is visiting and the horsie boys both Mikailu and Nura (M on the left and N on the right in the red).  This is from Monday when we went riding around campus. 


       It has been an eventful few days as usual around here.  Never dull moment in Yola for Katya, that's for sure.  Currently, I am sitting in class while B writes to Al Gore and I write to you and we listen to Miles.  So anyway, like I was saying it has been an eventful week.  Just this morning for example, I had to lecture Labaran about life's decisions and go tell his future fiancee that she won't be Mrs. Labaran Habu.  It's been less than a month after he got rid of his crazy kinda sorta ex-wife that thought I wanted to kill her and he found a new one to marry and wanted me to decide whether or not he should.  Well, if he's leaving it to me I say no.  Hell No in fact.  First off, he needs to spend time with his FOUR kids instead, which he isn't doing, instead is spending time with Ms. Clingy Crazy Ass Mata.  Secondly, he's tired all day everyday because he's doing god knows what all night long with Ms. Mata.  Thirdly, he's choosing to hang out with Ms. Mata instead of picking up his kids at school, which would help the bond that is slowly breaking, but nope, he goes the to the ugly cleaner who has bad taste in weaves instead.  So in the end, I told her no, he would not be marrying her.  Someone has to make sane decisions around here.  He showed me her text messages that she has been sending him.  An example, seriously, from the first day they met "I love you so much.  You are in my heart."    Seriously.  As Steph said she's a pyscho clinger. 

      Moving on, work is okay on one front, another front, sucky sucky poop.  The good side is that my students and are having a good time together.  I think I'm doing some real good teaching these days, I'm enjoying the material and they are too.  On the bad side I'm having issues with my cohorts.   Main probable is I am treated as if I am invisible and that I'm worthless.  Yep, it totally sucks.  I'm doing some of the best teaching of my life and I'm treated as if I'm doing a bad job or even worse, not even here at all. 

       Next week we are headed to Yankari.  It's Labaran's Birthday and the Prof is headed to the good Old US of A.  It shall be another busy weekend as usual.  Hopefully finishing off RISK tonight.  Yep, we still have not finished it.  Pathetic, I know.  Tonight's also pizza night at the club.  We've all become addicts of Uptown Shawarma at our house.  Cooked up a storm last night and will post pics later.

Shalom.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

my dreams and wishes

 


Here is a photo of the Prof on a horse on campus.  
     Today has been a good day.  I taught my classes, we finished the play version of Anne Frank, and searched for summer in the states stuff.  Also, I planned most of Yankari for next weekend.  So overall, today has been a good day like Dre said.  Anyway, trying to figure things out.  As always.  Looking at visiting San Fran and Seattle with a side trip thrown in for good measure to see the Anasazi ruins.  Anyway, figuring out where we will stay in Boston while we are there.  

Anyway, check out this link to Two Sister's Bakery.   Doesn't this look divine. 

the horsie boys


This photo is from a Monday evening.  Steph, Charles and the Prof went riding.  I did not.  I have been teeter totting on the edge of illness and trying to fight it.  So instead I just went on a long walk in front or behind the horses.  In this photo is our horsie boy's Mikailu and Nura.  Lucky Boy is on the right and Dino on the left.