Friday, December 28, 2007

3 things

i am not ready to leave. and that is all i have to say about that.

also not thrilled with the preliminary results of the kenyan presidential election. and that is all i will say about that.

i am disgusted with the assassination of Benazir Bhutto and i am afraid for pakistan.

Monday, December 24, 2007

happy birthday jesus!

at this time last year, i was sitting on a beach in mombasa, enjoying the sun and the company, but feeling rather lonely as christmas just doesn't match with the indian ocean, spf 15, or margaritas for me.

in the last few weeks, i have been exceptionally busy and today i have no plans. (apart from that red cup date i just made, which is less like plans and more like a calm visit) between trips to kananaskis, fernie, the saddledome, dinner parties, heritage park, the mall, the other mall, the other big box store, and seasonal parties, i am pooped. showing someone around your home is so much fun but exhasuting. and having a sinus cold is not really helping my stamina or ability to go through any one event without consuming something that makes me a bit loopy and/or drowsy and stopping the fun to constantly blow my nose and sneeze.

but i am ready for christmas simply because i don't want to have to do anything for an entire day except eat, play games, open gifts, eat some more, and relax (and it helps that i have been done my shopping for a few days). but i would still rather be here, pooped and sneezing, than in a tropical destination. and for that, i am happy.

merry christmas!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

conscious stream

i have been sneezing pretty much constantly since i arrived in yyc. not sure if it is allergies or a cold, but either way it is gross.

i have watched some hockey, i have eaten some beef, and i have christmas shopped in the past week. the usual. it has been packed and busy, but great. my sleeping schedule is still a bit whacky and i cannot seem to stay up past 10 or sleep past 9, but i suppose there is really nothing wrong with that as i am on vacation.

i am off to a cabin where i intend on visiting, drinking wine, hot springing, dining, lake skating, and observing ice fishing in action. i am looking forward to it all.

on the other hand, i am also a little bit worried that time is passing so quickly and that soon i will have to get back on a plane. i wish this visit could be stretched out this time. i feel at home and that this is where i need to be at the moment.

seems to be one of the few things i am sure of lately.

Monday, December 17, 2007

7 things you might not have known about me

Here are the The Rules:
Each player starts with 7 random facts/habits about themselves. People who are tagged need to then report this on their own blog with their 7 things as well as these rules. They then need to tag others and list their names on their blog. They are also asked to leave a comment for each of the tagged, to let them know that they have been tagged and to read the blog.

1. I love Q Tips and no other brand will suffice

2. I am really quite shy

3. I am now the shortest of my 3 (all younger) siblings in the fam

4. I have a one-eyed dog

5. I contemplate doing a phd at least every other day

6. I love to organise but leave my stuff everywhere and never have a tidy room (until I had a housekeeper!)

7. I rarely wear heels

As the game goes, I now tag inspired by dooce, yarn is my metier, and portrait of a girl dressed in blue!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

suspension of judgement

(december 12, 2007)

if i can say one thing about minneapolis is that people are friendly. like the kind of friendly that makes a solo traveller feel at ease. well, apart from the immigration police officer who started raising his voice for all in the hall to hear as he told a woman, ‘this is my house and here we do things my way, maybe you do things different in your house but you are in the us now’ and ‘i am not afraid to put you under arrest.’ and all this fuss because she was ill and didn’t want to wait for the medic to arrive after he had called her. i try to suspend judgement, but a situation like that how can you not roll your eyes and feel embarrassed for americans. and if you know me, you know that i defend americans from the bad rap that they get so often and that too often people make the most negative stereotypes about them. but then after that episode, how i can i blame them?

other lovely things about today:
  • i have been travelling for nearly 2 days and am dirtay (ok that one is not so lovely)
  • i did not freeze my buns off although it is snowy and cold in Minneapolis
  • i went to the Mall of America and there is no way that it is bigger than West Edmonton Mall, nicer though
  • i treated myself to a solo lunch (i love going out for meals alone, especially when in foreign places) of canadian salmon and a glass of red wine – delicious!
  • water fountains! i had forgotten about those. i love drinkable tap water
  • telling people what i do generally impresses people. the customs guy (not the ass i mentioned above) told me it sounded interesting, the starbucks guy was fascinated, my server at the restaurant said i was on the ‘good guys’ side,’ and the t shirt lady gave me a discount as i chatted with her about where i am from, where i live, and whether or not i am married (a strange stranger question, but not at all offensive because she was just so friendly)
  • i did a lot of shopping. but i got a lot of gifts, which is a good thing as i was beginning to worry about being able to get it all done. i would say which gifts i am most happy about but i must keep it a secret
  • the most enormous ukranian lady sat beside from amsterdam to minneapolis and it made eating difficult as she really took up my space. i have never known what i think about making obese people buy two seats, but i think i paid for more space that i actually got today
  • who knew there were so many asian people in minneapolis?
  • i stood in line for one of my flights in from of two professional bmx riders and i am sure they were much smarter than they sounded. geez. i have tried to work the word ‘like’ out of excessive use and i would suggest they do too if they ever decide to be grow ups (not that being a professional bmx rider is not grown up, but talking like a teenager is not grown up and kind of obnoxious in a line up when i cannot get away from it)
  • i stood behind this most miserable mother and her three children in the same line up and was convinced the entire time that with her louis handbag, designer jeans, botoxed lips, and nasal accent that she was merican, but was mildly disappointed when i realised that she was canadian. and i bet they were headed back to calgary... (so much for suspending judgement)
  • i had my first egg nog latte in a red cup of the season! (and my tongue is still burnt as a reminder)
  • mass consumerism – wow
  • christmas tunes everywhere, i love it
  • things that work! like bathrooms (with hot water AND soap, what luxury) and public transport that won’t unnecessarily risk your life
  • an observation – while waiting for my flight in amsterdam, there were many empty seats in a section of the gate and the only people sitting there were a muslim woman entirely covered and african men and women and everyone else was all crammed into the other sections. strangely (or not?), i immediately went to sit near them as i felt less threatened and more comfortable
  • i will be home in 5 hours!
  • i bought a shirt today that says ‘i only date republicans’ – oh, the irony.
  • i have been sneezing up a storm (also not so lovely) and am afraid that i have contracted plane germs
  • the american woman behind me and the enormous ukranian woman (who was very sweet and ordered everything that i did because she did not speak much english, i hope she likes tomato juice!) seemed to be calling her most very best girlfriends in the whole world (and she was about 45) to tell them about her upcoming wedding to a knight in england and how she has been divorced since she last saw these most very best girlfriends but they are such most important special people to her that she wanted them to come to her most fantastic and beautiful wedding. i wanted to tell her to shut up and take her phone calls of such a personal nature off the plane, besides she kept apologising for waking every one of them up as if she didn’t know. flake. (ok, so much for suspending judgement, but travelling for so long in one stretch gives you lots of people watching and listening time)
  • did i mention christmas tunes?! and home in 5 hours?!
  • yay

Monday, December 10, 2007


happy birthday suz!

you remember how i felt about 25, so i hope that she is kinder to you and if not, a swift kick in the junk normally takes care of everything!

miss you, but not long now...

2 days to go

1 day of work in nariobi + 1 overnight flight + short layover in amsterdam + long layover in minneapolis = home in 2 days!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

party animal

(december 8, 2007)

it is 10:30pm on a saturday night and i am at home, with my laptop, a flashdisk full of work, and a report to write before monday. all this talk of outputs, indicators, activities, outcomes, impact, components, methodology, logframes, workplans is making my brain hurt but it needs to be done. i like the thinking part of it but i have no idea if i am even doing this right. it was so much easier to be a student when i knew how to write a good paper.

but here i am, saturday night, sitting in my bathrobe, surrounded by papers, and eating chocolate. i sound just a student at the end of term.

at least i got out and about today – iced coffee with a friend, a long (dusty, speeding car-filled) walk outside, and a christmas fair where i bought no christmas gifts but some handmade mugs and bowls and a handwoven scarf for me. i just cannot turn down weaving. and the piles of fabric in my closet is proof. what do i do with yards of ethiopian cotton? i don’t know, but i had to have it.

back to the inherently confusing development speak.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

changing winds

(december 7, 2007)

i have never thought that international development had the answers to all the world’s problems and i have always been one of its strongest critics, as evidenced in my dissertation title Foreign Aid, Global Governance, and Compromised Sovereignty: The Corruption of Foreign Aid by the Neo-Imperial Agenda. but i still knew that it was what i wanted to do. or what i wanted to try and do.

and now i am here, in sub-saharan africa working with an organisation that does development work and i have a real job where i get to do a specific type of development work with all those buzz words ‘capacity building,’ ‘awareness raising,’ ‘community sensitisation,’ ‘sustainability,’ etc, etc (kenyans insist on repeating etc and actually pronouncing each letter – e.t.c, e.t.c and it drives me mad every time i hear it). and i am no longer sure it is what i want to do.

my belief in ‘development’ has been shaken and although i see a lot of wonderful things happening in this country, i am just not sure it is what i should be doing. what is a western canadian woman with a bunch of letters behind her name doing in east africa where she is frustrated daily with the lack of street lights, awful customer service, and work ethic of others around her? i am just not sure at the moment.

i love parts of my job. i would say that i love most parts of it. but i am not sure that it makes me happy enough to continue doing it. i will stay for now and i am quite proud of my project that i developed and am not implementing and i want to see it through. in doing so, i am gaining experience that will be valued where ever i go next and that i could not get through any other channel. but i am just not convinced of how long i can keep doing it.

i have really enjoyed my time in nairobi and have learnt so much and met so many people. my life is here right now, but i am not sure how happy i am about that. i am looking forward and i know that i need to find a path or a new goal, but i haven’t come up with anything concrete. then i wonder if i shouldn’t stay put because there will be some opportunities that arise very soon that could change how i feel about what i do and where i am. but how long do you wait for such things? i feel like perhaps i should stop living on foundation of the future and instead enjoy exactly where i am.

this has been on mind a lot recently and i have been applying for other jobs. the ironic part of it all was that i went to a cocktail party last night that involved far too many dirty martinis, tequila shots, and vodka sodas (really, a splash of soda with lemons and vodka – why are we allowed to keep mixing our own drinks after we’ve had a few?!) and i thought that i saw death on the horizon this morning but i got up and went to work, where i lasted a total of an hour and a half. and most of that was on facebook. after a nap (more of another night’s sleep than a nap), i decided to complete a job application and had to laugh to myself when i had to demonstrate how i have an ‘excellent record of attendance and punctuality’ whilst writing it at home because i was too hung over to stay at work. such class.

i am so lucky to be going home right now, not only to see my fam, my ladies (and gents), and have a proper canadian christmas, but to gain some perspective and think about life in nairobi outside of nairobi. 4 days!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

the spirit has taken a hit

i have been really busy lately hating the universe and it got in the way of writing about how excited i am to come home. i wasn't hating the whole universe, mostly just the british army part of the universe. but at least some of that hatred has passed. and i have let go of the fact that i cannot win in a fight against the british army.

well, almost let go.

who are we kidding, i will never be able to let it go.

but now i can get back to the excitement. 5 days!