Sunday, December 30, 2012

The end...

...of 2012

Just a quick update - I'm at a bit of a standstill in my personal and professional life.

Rather than a top 10 of 2012 post (or top 12) I'll just stick with the top 10 things that I've been doing since I blogged last.

1) Over the holidays I ate an average of 5 cookies per day. I completely rediscovered my mom's corn flake wreaths.
2) I moved out of Oakwood and found the one and only hotel in DC that is available for half per-diem, within walking distance of main state, and offers a kitchenette.
3) Last night the police raided the hotel room next to mine. This may or may not explain the amazing deal I got on the room...
4) I ate oysters for the first time yesterday. Thanks to my friends who pointed out that my life wasn't complete without slurping down a few oysters at the raw bar. (You were right, they're delicious.)
5) I finally got to see my cousin - he's recently back from Afghanistan. The last time we saw each other he was in middle school. I guess that shows how often we all get together, doesn't it?
6) We had a Christmas that was almost entirely devoid of 'presents' in the traditional sense, but totally filled with blessings and generosity. I think I could get used to this no presents thing.
7) I spent an entire day doing distance learning at main state. Ugh.
8) I bought my dog a Santa suit and he wore it on Christmas. I am the world's best pet owner.
9) I got to hang out with all the grandparents, my folks, and my brother - the Paraguayan. I appreciated this opportunity even more knowing that I'll be so far from home for the next two years.
10) I realized this morning that when I wake up a week from now I'll be in Lagos.


Okay,and with that, I'll leave you.  Happy (almost) New Year!

Friday, December 21, 2012

The frozen north

That's right, I'm home for the holidays! Thanks home for being snowy this Christmas and thanks parents for making the never-ending trek to retrieve me from the airport.

Safe travels and happy holidays everybody!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

ConGen - check!

Unbelievably, the list that was stressing me out a month and a half ago is pretty much complete. Since A-100 ended I've gotten a diplomatic passport and Nigerian visa, I purchased a car (and learned about the 1001 ways that a car will cost you more money than you thought it would), I bought a small mountain of consumables, I got all my TMs (travel orders basically), booked flights, wrote my introduction letters, received vaccinations for every disease known to man, and filled out lots and lots of paperwork. And today I finished ConGen with a slice of purple cake (thanks for that A!).

Suddenly things seem to be moving fast. I pack out next week, spend the holidays with family, do some quick online trainings, then I'm out of here!

I realize that my posts must be getting a bit repetitive. Unfortunately, I just don't have much to write about. Work is off-limits, obviously, but so much of my social life revolves around work now that it's hard to draw the line.

So in an effort to entertain my very demanding audience, here are some random pictures that are more interesting than me writing about how I have nothing to write.

#1 Mangosteens!!!!!
True, these are canned and thus not nearly as good as they could be, but still they made my day. In case you've never been to Asia, mangosteen is believed by many - including me - to be the tastiest fruit in the world. Also, I love that my Thai is still stuck somewhere back in the basement of my brain. I saw Aroy-D and immediately smiled. This is how you say 'tasty' in Thai and is an important phrase if you're going to Thailand because basically everything there is aroy-dee. (Just FYI you eat the white part of the mangosteen shown below. It's creamy and sweet and just melts in your mouth.)
#2 Takesi coffee!!!
Remember a million years ago when I was interning in Bolivia and posted about my trip to a coffee plantation? Well, to my delight it turns out that you can buy the coffee grown there - at the highest coffee plantation in the world - right at your neighborhood Whole Foods. It's actually very good, and I'm not just saying that because I got all teary-eyed from nostalgia.
 
#3 Sadly no picture for this one, but I had to give a shout-out to Cosmopolitan Grill in the middle of nowhere Alexandria off Route 1. It is one of two restaurants in the area serving food from the Balkans and after a year in the former Yugoslavia I can attest to its authenticity. They will even speak Serbian to you if you are so inclined. I recommend you try cevapcici or pljeskavica, ajvar and kajmak, and if you have any room left - burek. Thanks to the good friend who found this place so we could keep up the monthly exotic dinner tradition. ;)

Monday, December 3, 2012

Kicking and screaming

What a day.

I've been an ogre lately (or is it ogress?) and it finally got to the point where even I didn't want to be around me. This fact occurred to me sometime after a conversation I had today with the one millionth person that had something negative to say about Lagos (I'm also including those who say it all with just a look and a 'Wow, Nigeria, yeah...' in this group). Usually I love to toss out how excited I am or talk about all the things I'm looking forward to, but I was just done today and let the other person's attitude rub off on me.

But it was more than just a case of contagious bad attitude. I finally realized what I should have known was inevitable from the start. I don't want to go to Lagos. Now hang on a second and let me explain. This is nothing against Lagos. It was a top choice for me and remains a top choice. But moving to Lagos necessarily requires moving away from the States and I have a very love-hate relationship with moving and change generally. The side of me that craves change is reflected in my god-given ability to sign up for things without over-thinking them and my other god-given ability to do a pretty good job adjusting to whatever I face when I get there. It's just that I have a total skills gap when it comes to that awkward waiting period in between.

You know the time I mean.

It's when you know change is coming and you can't stop it. But you can't hurry it along either. You just have to sit there and wait for it to hit you. (Well, and buy consumables. You can do that I guess.)

I'm really bad at that phase. It turns me into the little kid I picture at the dentist's, clinging to the chair in the waiting room yelling "Noooo!!!!!" But instead of being able to vent my feeling of anxiety/anticipation in such a healthy and mature manner I'm left binge eating Mexican food and whining to the travel office about how I don't want X flight and omg why can't I have a window seat and just generally being a pain in the neck. Now I have time for all the over-thinking I didn't do before and nothing good can come from that.

So to everyone who has heard me whine in the past week, I apologize. It's just that I don't want to go to Lagos. I want to BE in Lagos.

Just take comfort (as I do) in the fact that this phase ends the moment I get on the plane - at which point I will be back to normal, ready for adventure and a lot more sane.

One month left!