Tuesday, March 30, 2010


tact (noun):  a keen sense of what to say or do to avoid giving offense; skill in dealing with difficult or delicate situations.

This is something I need to work on.  Maybe one day I will succeed in having more of it.  


So I haven't blogged in a long while.  There are many reasons for this.  However, I am not going to get into any of them at this point.

I have some news for the blogger world to know.  I resigned from my job last Friday.  It was a long time coming and I was kind of backed into a corner, but I do not regret resigning for a minute.  I only wish I had done it sooner and on my terms, but that's neither here nor there now. 

So now I am free.  I am free to do what I want, when I want.  I have so much work to be doing but at this point I am so overwhelmed with work I should be doing, feelings, emotions, and thoughts, I am taking some time just to chill.  To relax and unwind and figure out my next steps. 

It was no secret, I hated my job situation.  I loved my students and still do.  I don't mind teaching, but it's not where my passion lies by any means.  I'm a doer.  Now is the time to start doing and living life.  So I am  happy that this happened and feel blessed that I now have the time to take action and make things happen.

Just thought you should know.  Expect many blogs to come!  Been missing you. 

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Salamander Cafe Pics

Here's a picture of Steph on her last day in Nigeria at Salamander Cafe in Abuja.  This is my favorite place in Abuja, or at least one them. 

And here's me awkwardly closing my wallet at Salamander.  You can see the Salamander written in music notes behind me. 

SGA Bonfire 2010 in photos continued

Tony in front of the fire.  Again, camera is not so great.  But it's kinda cool anyway. 

Again, Tony in front of the bonfire. 

Arthur at the bonfire.  I don't know why Blogger messes with some pics like this.  I thought it was only of pics of me.  Errrr.

Tj sleeping off his night in the car.  It wasn't even over yet.  Poor baby. 

SGA Bonfire 2010

These pictures are from the SGA Bonfire last week on campus by the Cafeteria.  The pics are not the best because my camera is really quite awful at night.  The last picture is of me and Arthur looking at a grill empty with no Suya on it as promised.  By the way, later we did succeed in getting suya. 

There will be more photos to come from this night.  The music was loud, but good music was played, which is hit or miss in these parts.  I think a good time was had by all.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Amazing Race: Burning Coyotes, Winners for 2010

All of these photos are courtesy of Jamal Sullivan.  These pictures are of the winning team for Saturday's Amazing Race.  I will write more about this later.  

Thursday, March 11, 2010

I think I'm slowly falling in love with Nigeria...

This is a picture taken of the sun setting from the club parking lot.  It's not the best sunset picture ever, but one of my bests.  I know, kinda pathetic.  I am longing to take the best African sunset photo ever.  I might have to be here a long time.

So the title probably surprises many of you.  It kind of surprises me.  I have realized that this place, this country has been growing on me ever so slowly.  Everytime it's time to leave I get scared and I don't to go.  Even though all I do is dream of Paris, Cairo, DC, Boston, Kuala Lumpur, etc.  For example, I have to go to LA in a few weeks to have a medical visit.  I am getting so excited about LA, the sunsets, the sand, the city, the nightlife, the shopping, palm trees, etc.  But as it approaches I am starting to freak out, as always.  I will miss the comforts of the club, my house, Yakubu, my new found friends, my classroom, etc.  I know, I wrote the 'comforts' I cannot even believe it myself. 

I'm really fond of Yola and even of AUN.  Now, am I 100% happy with AUN, no, but do I love some of the things I am involved in, yes, so much.  I love the research I am doing.  I love the earth day plans we are involved in.  I love being able to do things like the Amazing Race or Adamawa Hold 'em.  These things brighten my days, nights and weeks.  I love the amazing people I meet.  Sometimes I am so excited about what next week will bring and what surprises are in store for me.  Every semester I make new friends and meet new people.  Some good and some bad, but none the less, new people.  Every new person gives me the chance to expand my horizons and possibly collaborate with a project on. 

Even recently, I am even considering that I might want to live somewhere else here someday.  This surprises me very much.  But we do all know that I do love change.  I love the possibilities and the idea that change can happen here.  I can help and encourage that change.  For I love this country that is now part of me and I am part of it. 

I have so much going on for me here.  I have stuff with AUN, research, friends, radioshows, writing, etc, that I cannot even think of leaving at this time.  This love affair could not have happened at a better time, especially since last week and for the past few months I have been wanting to be anywhere but here.  I just hope this country that I am falling for will send some love my way too.

There has been some more problems in Jos recently.  I have avoided reading, listening, or getting involved in anyway.  I am going to ride this spiral wave I am on as much as possible.  Things are not perfect here, but they aren't anywhere in the world.  My little world in Yola is safe, safe as can be of course.  However, we have our own little feuds.  We are always fighting battles within our workplace and within University life.  But those things will likely never change. 

So for now I hope to fall more in love with this country that I am proud to live in and hope someday it begins to love me back. 

Friday, March 5, 2010

Happy Birthday to my Mom!

My mom would be 64 today.  Happy Birthday to you.  She passed away several years back now.  I miss her dearly. 

Thursday, March 4, 2010

the law of gravity

The law of gravity says that what goes up must come down.  Certainly something to think about. 

illegitimi non carborundum

There's a lot of havoc in my life these days.  A lot.  So this is my new motto for the time being 'illegitimi non carborundum."  enough said. 

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Cultural Juxtapositions

These photos are taken by me at the opening ceremony durbar.  A durbar is basically a parade of the ceremonious horses and their riders.  This was taken at the NPUGA games.  I love Durbars and these horses.  I love these pics because most of them are wearing jeans and sunglasses.  I love the cultural juxtaposition.  It's like me with my keens, my sunglasses, my skin, but wearing a traditional outfit or a traditional top with jeans.  It's who I am.  I like that they are representing themselves.  Just love it. 

My University in Photos

Here's Rohana at the Nigerian Private University Games

TJ and Anthony about to dive


The Opening Ceremony of the NPUGA games.  Here's AUN representing.


 Again, AUN. 


Again, AUN.

This is a photo taken outside of Peter Okocha hall in October.  These are students after they read their stories outloud at the Children's Literature workshop, along with Sesugh, my colleague.

These are all things that make me proud and make me smile.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Mountains and Harmattan

This is a photo of the Mandara Mountains from the AUN campus.  I just want to remind you of all the good things we have here.  When there's no harmattan, we have fresh air, we have sunshine, we have mountains, rivers and land...

This is a shot outside of Dorm DD, where I work.  This day there was such a harmattan haze that I was able to get the iska itself in the picture.  iska is the word for harmattan dust in both Hausa and Yoruba.  Ya learned something new today, didn't you?  I like these cranes that always seem to be hanging around. 

Just giving you a glimpse into my small world here in Yola.  When I look at these I begin to appreciate all the beauty I have around me and the talent I have inside.  I forget that I am a good photographer and that school was not a waste.  lol.

AUN Swim Team

Here's Rohana swimming against the scary girl from some other Uni here in NG that I don't remember the name of.

I am fairly proud of some of these pics.  I really love the reflections. 

Here's Arthur and Anthony doing the backstroke.  I was really proud of all the team and their hardwork.  They really impressed me.  This is when AUN really turned around for me.  I am so happy I got to cheer them on. 

This is not my best sports photo, but I never really excelled at sports photography when I was student.  But with my little ole olympus point and shoot that's now quite old, I think I am pretty good.  This is TJ.


Yola Shawarma Review

This is my Yola Shawarma Review.  It will be updated as we try more Shawarma places.
Disclaimer:  I came up with idea from the Abuja expats Yahoo Group.  Someone reviewed all of the Shawarma places in Abuja.  I am doing the same for Yola and Jimeta.

What is a Shawarma?  Shawarma is a sandwich made of flatbread, mayo, meat, and spices.  Some places add more fixings than others, more spices than others, and some have a different type of flat bread.  When the internet is better and the camera is fixed I will add a photo.  

Below are what we've experienced so far:

In order of Favoritism:

1.  Uptown Shawarma:  Chicken Shawarma is spicy and good.  They have the cheapest Shawarma at N400 each for chicken, N350 for Beef (I think).  Location:  opposite Tasty Menu in Jimeta

2.  Downtown Restaurant:  Chicken Shawarma has a garlicy sauce that they add to it.  This is my favorite for flavor, but it's 100 Naira more than Uptown. N500 for chicken and N400 for beef.  Location:  Jimeta, near police roundabout and the magazine stand

3.  Honey Pet Shawarma:  Very similar to Uptown.  Location:  Next to Luka in Jimeta

4.  Top Ten Restaurant:  Has the best flat bread for the Shawarma, they add cabbage, tomatoes and barbecue sauce.  Plus is more expensive.  I prefer the Shawarma without all the fixings...  Location:  Yola on Lamido Zubairu Way, near Almashkur Foundation and Ahmadu Ribadu College (cross street, Lamido Lauwal Way). 

5.  Tasty Menu:  the Prof reviewed this place himself and has found all the others to be better.  So maybe someday I will review myself.  Location:  Jimeta, near Federal Secretariat

Tell me your thoughts.  Please paste a comment if you disagree with me below.  Do you know of other places that serve Shawarma in Yola or Jimeta?  Let me know and we'll review those as well.
e-mail me your thoughts here if you don't want to comment.

my new love

iPod Nano

I have this new nifty iPod nano.  I am in love with it.  If you had said five years ago that I would be able to manage in Nigeria and live without an iPod for nearly a year, I would have said, 'that's crazy talk.'   But I did.  Last April my iPod that I had since like 2006 died on a day that it was up to 138 degrees outside Fahrenheit.  It died then and I tried to get it fixed in August but I didn't because the lady at the genius bar said that it would be cheaper to just buy a new one.  I stalled for a long time on buying a new one because I just couldn't justify the cost in May or in August when we were home stateside or even in Egypt.  But now, I am so happy I finally coughed up the $125 USD for this new orange 8 gig iPod Nano.  I love it.  Absolutely love it.  It's made my life a lot better.  I cannot even tell you how much better.  I bought it from Amazon which is cheaper than buying it from Apple.  Apple does not accept my Nigerian cards online or in the store, so I had to find an alternative method. So it was.

There are many things I love about this iPod.  I love it's color, the new features, and the fact that it's mine.  I like the games on it, some are different than my old one, I like how light it is, I like the pedometer feature a lot.  It has had me tracking and trekking all around AUN and Yola.  It's quite fun.  Oh and it has the video camera on it.  Another great feature.

This has improved my quality of life as of late.  It was my own personal Valentine's day gift to myself.  I would never have manage living in Alaska without an iPod, so I am surprised I made it this far without one here.


Lately, I've been seeking wisdom from many people.  Wisdom about all sorts of things.  Things like relationships, family, education, careers, work, friendship, exercise, you name it, I've been seeking some wisdom about it.  I've sought out wisdom from friends, new and old, family, my boss, people who are much older and wiser, people that are younger and wiser, and even some people I never thought would be able to help me see more clearly.  The two gentlemen in the picture above are some who give some of the best advice. 

On the left you have the former AUN President, Dr. Conrad Festa.  He's a great wisdom giver for many reasons.  One, he's lived many years and had very influential positions because he's a thinker and can clearly make decisions.  He's not a President who ruled with an iron fist, but more with his head and heart.  He always treats me more like his daughter than as a colleague.  Which is nice to feel as if someone cares.  His opinion means a lot to me and is often taken with great attention to thought and I often take it to heart.

On the right, is my father-in-law, who also happens to be my boss of sorts.  He and I are very similar, sometimes so much that we butt heads.  However, recently he's given me some great advice that I've followed through on. 

This photo was taken at the Nigerian Private University Games in December 2009.  This was a great memory of the year for me.  I met and had the opportunity to get a few students better, see both students and faculty alike cheer and have pride for their University.  It was a great week for me, following it the Prof and I headed off to Egypt for a month.  I never really got the opportunity to talk about that crazy week of the games, but someday soon I will. 

So I've been seeking wisdom from here and there.  I've taking it all in, gathering it, sorting it out and moving forward very slowly.  Life has been hard for me in the past month, but I am really hoping to have a good March. 

So I'm marching into Spring now and have a busy month ahead of me.  It's mine and the Prof's anniversary, the birthday of my mom who's deceased, Steph's departure will be here before we know it, the end of the third quarter for school, Easter, and this weekend, the Great Hut Party.  So the wisdom that I am taking with me today is a mixture of a few rapper's song lyrics, I'm going to keep my head up and keep on smiling.