Monday, January 26, 2015


Friday, January 23, 2015

In the news

There's an article in the New York Times today about Nigeria's upcoming elections. If you're interested I urge you to check it out.

I have intentionally avoided talking about Nigeria's politics on the blog for the most part since I don't want there to be any confusion between my personal feelings and the official policies of the US government. I have definitely been tempted to break that rule in the past though, especially when it comes to issues like the kidnapping of the Chibok girls or some of the recent attacks in Nigeria's north.

Now, as the article states, an important and rather tense election is coming up and once again, there is a lot I'd like to discuss, but not on the blog. Instead let me just say to my friends in Nigeria - both local and expat - I'll be thinking of you over the coming weeks. Please stay safe!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Home leave 3

I'm starting to understand why so many blogs go silent once their owners PCS (leave post). Catching up on Breaking Bad and renewing my library card just isn't as cool as trekking in Togo or camping in the Kalahari. But if you're still reading I don't think I have to worry about losing you until the tragic day comes when I have to bid on a DC job. (Admit it, you're just in this for stories of me eating giant rats, aren't you?)

In lieu of my typical international travels I've been having adventures of a more domestic sort - mostly in the realm of mortgage financing. While not exactly exciting it has certainly been good for me. I guess being able to talk ARM's and amortization might come in handy down the line - as will, you know, property ownership. I can't claim that this is the mark of true adulthood - I already crossed that threshold when I bought my first set of Tupperware - but it does make me feel like a slightly more successful adult.

With the purchase well under way and construction still several months away I don't actually have much to do these days and I'm starting to get anxious to just get to DC and begin language training. Vacation was nice but it might also be nice to have an actual purpose to my day... you know, eventually.

Hope to see at least a few of my faithful readers back in DC. Just a week or so now!

Home leave part 2

Well, where were we?

The last time I wrote I had two weeks of home leave already under my belt. I spent those first two weeks with family in the midwest having a picture-perfect Christmas. It was truly amazing to see almost all of my extended family - especially all the new additions we've had this year!

Since then I have been on a whirlwind tour of the Sunshine State. My family came along too which was a huge blessing. It was good timing too.  We still experienced the 'arctic blast' but it wasn't nearly as painful as it would have been back home. (On a side note, what were my ancestors thinking when they settled here? Did they fall off the wagon train? Get lost and mistakenly think they had arrived in California already? Were they just gluttons for punishment? It really is a mystery for the ages.)

Anyway, the main purpose of the trip was to purchase a house, and unlike last year's almost identical trip, this time I was successful.  Well, not 100% successful - I actually bought land rather than a house which will slow things down a bit - but I think you'll agree that the trade off was worth it...


Now of course comes the part where I have to pay for the privilege. Not to mention the potentially fun but likely overwhelming part where I have to build a house (or rather, where someone else will build a house with my money with exactly zero supervision from me) while living a million miles away.

Still, I'm excited about this new step and the prospect of having my very own home to stay in the next time I'm on home leave. 

*Incidentally, I've heard some very mixed reviews of home ownership as an expat from my foreign service friends. What do you say, internet? Good idea? Bad idea? What are your experiences?