Sunday, October 26, 2014

Nothing to report

Well... 22 months in to my stay in Nigeria and I just can't think of anything exciting to report. I haven't done much in the week since I got back from the States and what I have done mostly centered around leaving Nigeria (making progress on my EER - employee evaluation in case you aren't in the know, trying to get someone to approve my TMTWO - basically my travel schedule, and trying to wrap up a few side projects I've been working on).

I don't have any big plans coming up - no trips, no awesome Field Society outings - I just want to finish strong and get home safely. On that note - it's a bit disconcerting to hear friends and family talking about a travel ban from West Africa. I do, after all, live in West Africa.

And now for some miscellanea...
The view from my apartment.
 
It's been just a little  bit rainy for the past few (6) months. We're kind of hoping this will be the end of the rainy season. Ironically I cancelled my plans due to weather but then it turned out to be a beautiful day later on.  
 
Lagos from the third mainland bridge
 
Doesn't quite do justice to the scale of the place does it?
 
Ok. That's all I got. Someday - hopefully before I leave for good - I will come up with something else new or interesting to tell all my faithful readers about Nigeria but until then, have a good one!
 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Fall pictures

Just some random pictures from R&R which has sadly come to an end...

Apple orchard

Pumpkin patch

And pumpkins....

lots...

and lots...

and lots...

of pumpkins.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Still in America...it's still good

Other than experiencing some mild culture clash, I've also been enjoying my R&R back in the midwest a lot. Maybe I've just been away too long - or maybe it's because I haven't been home in the fall for ages, but I am totally in love with fall in the midwest. The trees are changing and it's just gorgeous. We've done just about every fall thing I can think of. We went to the pumpkin patch and the apple orchard and took plenty of long walks in the park. The only sad thing is that I missed seeing one of our home team football games. maybe next time...

I've been keeping fairly busy too. I took an ill-fated trip to California for my best friend from college's wedding. The wedding was perfect and fun and so sweet and it was great to see my friend after so much time. Friendships with people who don't live in the same place as my parents have been one of the casualties of my many moves overseas.  Everything else about California... well, let's just say it made me appreciate the midwest. It may have been LA rush hour traffic, it may have been the food poisoning, or having my wallet stolen or it may just be that I'm not a big city girl deep down. It's hard to say.

I promise to upload some pictures of all my wholesome midwestern fall adventures once I get them uploaded. Actually,  no promises. I might be too busy relaxing. We'll see.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Reentry

Every time I come back to the United States it feels a little more foreign. I guess this is typical for a perennial expat. I'm sure to an extent this is intensified because I seem to gravitate toward developing countries for my travels. Now, just coming back even the airport seems fancy. There's a Starbucks! I can use a card to buy things! Bookstores, toilet paper in public restrooms, more food options than there seem to be people, climate control, signs with correct information on them, artwork for no reason... it's really a bit overwhelming. Of course it doesn't stop at the airport. Everything seems SO nice back in the US - effortlessly fancy and huge and just a bit unnecessary. Just as an example - we went to the rural midwestern town where my father grew up yesterday. Their grocery store is twice the size of the largest grocery store I've seen in Lagos and even in such an out of the way corner of America is chock full of things you just can't buy in Lagos because they're too exotic. All for a little farming community of 9,000 people who also have access to Amazon Prime I might add!

All this excess inevitably leaves me feeling a bit overwhelmed. Why do people need 500 options for sunglasses? How often do they really eat cupcakes anyway? And what happens to all that new stuff everyone is always buying? Everywhere I look things seem to be new already. What are people replacing?

I was telling a friend that I don't always feel like I fit in back home. It isn't so much that I think America is materialistic (it is, but so are a lot of places) or that I'm living life on some higher plane back in Nigeria. Life can be petty anywhere and I haven't made any special effort to have a 'meaningful' tour there. It's just that there's something about America that doesn't seem quite... real. Do you know what I mean? There's an ebola epidemic in West Africa and yet here we are exploring a new coffee shop. ISIS is on TV and yet we have 5 different movies opening at the theater. The streets are unbelievably clean, there are decorations in public places 'just because' and it all feels a bit surreal. I've said it upon reentry the last few times - America is like Disney World. Not that I think life shouldn't go on - I'm glad we don't have to stress out about every single problem facing the world - but I feel disconnected and maybe a bit sheltered in a way here that I just don't overseas.

Anyway, enough of that. I'm actually having a great time with family and thinking relatively few deep thoughts I promise.

Friday, October 3, 2014

R&R

It's that time again! Time to get the heck out of dodge and back to 'murica for a reminder of where all those American citizens go in their off-time (when they aren't calling and emailing and visiting our section).

I am more than a little ready for this visit. It's been 10 months since I was last in the US - in that time I've been to Togo and Namibia, South Africa and Ethiopia (and of course an awful lot of Nigeria) and while those vacations were great I'm very ready for an easy vacation this time and nothing is easier than crashing on your parents' couch, right? I have big plans for eating, shopping and visiting and spending time with all my favorite people.

The only thing standing between me and home is 25 hours of travel time including my 'love-to-hate-it' favorite, Muhammed Murtala International Airport right here in Lagos. In truth it isn't that bad. There's running water and electricity. It's relatively clean. You can buy snacks. It's just kind of depressing. Added to that is the fact that all the flights leave around 10-11 pm yet you have to have checked in by 7 or 8 at the latest so most people spend a very long time on all those sad, non air-conditioned benches watching the ceiling drip.

Still, it could be a lot worse. I could be traveling with toddlers. I could be carting along a pet. Or even worse, I could be a private citizen having to navigate the whole system without an expediter. (Shudder) I'd say 'what's the worst that could happen', but I'm not sure I'd like to know. So I'll just count my blessings and keep my head down.

And to my faithful readers - I'll see most of you on the other side. I can't wait!