Sunday, January 27, 2013

Oh, Africa...

Where have you been all my life?
 


 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

First impressions

Hello world!

It feels like forever since I last wrote. Things here are going great, even better than I had hoped.

At work I'm settling in on the NIV line. The interviews are no longer the intimidating obstacle that they were on my first few days. I'm still the slowest on the line - by a long shot - but I'm getting the hang of the systems and the applicants and I hope to be up to speed soon.

One thing about NIV work is for sure - doing NIV in Lagos is definitely going to toughen me up. I'm one of those people that doesn't like to say no, but on the visa line there's no way around it. Not everyone gets a visa and every day I have to look people in the eye and tell them no. No apology, no excuse, just no. I guess that makes it that much sweeter when you get to say yes though, right?

At home I've been slowly settling in too. I moved into my permanent housing this weekend and it's gorgeous. I've got the best view in Lagos (at least I think it is) and I love the neighborhood. I'll post some pictures if/when I think of it, when I get them uploaded of course.

Speaking of uploading pictures... and blogging. I just got my internet set up. I'd like to humbly suggest to the department that some sort of basic internet would be really great for people arriving at post until they have a chance to set up something of their own. I'm sure that getting internet as a standardized utility in GSO housing would be difficult, but even having a basic USB-stick modem included in the welcome packet would be a really helpful step.

Lagos itself (at least the part I'm allowed to visit) is great. It seems like the kind of place where you can find everything if you know where to look. There are difficult things of course. It's hot and humid, it's crowded, it's noisy. The power goes out multiple times every day and the traffic is terrible. But there are also plenty of things that I love about it. I love the water and the palm trees. I love the music scene. I love that I can stand outside with my jacket that's missing a button and just wait for the man with the sewing machine on his shoulder to walk by and fix it for under a dollar.

It's a good life. Yes, I'm solidly in the honeymoon stage of culture shock, but I might as well enjoy it while it lasts, right?

Til next time.

j


Thursday, January 10, 2013

Lagos!

Just want to quickly say that I'm here and I'm safe. I don't have internet at home yet and won't for up to two weeks. So I'm afraid it'll be radio silence until then - I feel like it's inappropriate to be blogging more than this from the office. So if you were worried about me you can rest easy.

Thanks for reading, more later!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

NYC

Freezing my backside off here in New York City. There's still confetti on the ground (and the occasional piece still impossibly hanging around in the air) from New Years Eve. I finished one set of consultations and have the second set tomorrow. This city truly is unlike any other. My impression, on the taxi-ride in from La Guardia was of a wall of buildings, like a cliff. (Or like that scene in Inception.) I love how I can see into a hundred (or more) offices and restaurants and hotel rooms from my room. It's kind of chummy, no? Like we're all camping out here together. That said, New York is a little intense. Just judging from the Starbucks, this is a place where you'd better know exactly what you want and be prepared to fight for it.

Anyway, I'm glad that I had the chance to stop here on my way out of the country. What could be more American than the Big Apple?

So.

So far in New York I have...
1) Ogled Times Square like the shameless tourist that I am.
2) Taken the subway 3 times.
3) Gotten lost 0 times.
4) Eaten Cuban food at Havana Central.*
5) Eaten Sri Lankan food at Sigiri.**
6) Seen a show on Broadway.
And...spent a lot of time in my hotel room - sick. Because that's life for you.


*Shoutout to Havana Central - excellent food, right off Times Square, and best of all they made me - a sad single traveler - feel welcome and a part of the action. Not every restaurant knows how to deal with lone travelers and it was much appreciated.
**Sigiri is the only Sri Lankan restaurant I've found in the US, so it's truly a miraculous little place. The string hoppers were great, as was the company.  (The waiter mistook me for a member of another party and seated me with them. Rather than explain the mix-up we decided to eat together and it was lovely. I guess that's the other way to eat as a single traveler!)


Happy New Year everyone!