Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Artistic Me

My musician friends adore my new look. Byas is like "From now on whenever you perform with me you have to do your hair like that. It's artistic." My choir director asked if I was a jazz fan. It's been in for 5 days now, so I'm starting to wonder how much longer it will last. Getting a little frizzy.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Monkey B the girly social cat

Time for a new pic of my kitten who's all grown up. This is what she does seriously every single time I open this manicure kit. She fits in there a little snugger than she did when I could hold her in one hand!

She's very social and hates it if I put her away when guests are over (many Congolese people are terrified of cats). I have to shut the door with a key, because she knows how to open it! When it's locked it's really pathetic to hear her flailing herself against the handle to no avail :o)

In short, j'adore mon chat!

Le Nouveau Look

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Top 10 highlights of trip to Kenya and Ethiopia (Cont.)

5. LALIBELA: Heather and I flew from Addis to this obscure little mountain town which is home to 12th century rock-hewn churches, an amazing sight for Sub-Saharan Africa. This will need its own blog entry.

4. ANIMALS: We went to Nairobi National Park, the Giraffe Center, and Lake Naivasha. I saw lots of zebras, giraffes, cape buffalo, ostriches, hippos, and various birds and antelope/gazelle-like creatures. Next time I’ll have to find some lions and elephants. It’s very cool to see these animals just doing their thing out in the wild. Many have remarked that my photos finally look like Africa…Well, I guess if east Africa is all you know of the continent then that’s true, but I felt less like I was really in Africa since I was just a tourist. Congo is the real thing for me!

3. ETHNIC FOOD: It was a real treat eating out at a variety of restaurants. We had fantastic American, Korean, and Ethiopian food in Nairobi. We also delighted at the chance to eat Thai, Indian, and Italian in Addis.

2. OLD FRIENDS: It’s really fun that pretty much wherever I go in the world I get to meet up with people I know. Of the 35 people at the conference, I had already met 20 at previous trainings and seminars! I vacationed for a few days in Nairobi with my friend Angi who I met when I went on vacation in Switzerland a year and a half ago. In Addis I got to spend 10 days with my good friends Michael and Colleen who I knew from my summers at ORSIL. No one in my life is really stable—we’re always on the move, coming and going—so it’s always a comfort to cross paths again and see familiar faces. And within the organization I can pretty much count on seeing people again some day.

1. AFRICA AREA LANGUAGE ASSESSMENT CONFERENCE: I guess it’s pretty good, especially considering all the other cool things I got to do, that the coolest thing on the trip was the real reason for the trip. The conference was very interesting and helpful. My team came home with a big list of action items to pursue, new tools to use, and a whole lot of ideas to think about. It was encouraging to consider my professional growth plan and to glean from the experiences of others who have been doing language research much longer than I.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Top 10 highlights of trip to Kenya and Ethiopia

Well, after 5 weeks in Kenya and Ethiopia I've got quite a blogging backlog. I just sent my newsletter, though, so I think most of my readers at least have the synopsis of my trip. How about a top 10 list? OK, here are the 10 best things about my trip...

10. BRACKENHURST, the conference center outside of Nairobi where I stayed for 3 weeks: Three great meals a day, having my room cleaned everyday, abundant flowers, and trails through the nearby tea fields were just a few of the perks.

9. LEISURE TIME: We had great fun in the evenings of the writers’ workshop playing various card games and watching movies. On the weekends we made interesting excursions (more on that later). In Ethiopia Heather and I had plenty of time on our hands for browsing shops, drinking coffee, a day at the poolside, long talks with our friends, a few episodes of Lost Season 4, etc. Leisure time has become a rare commodity for me in Congo between work, choir, orphans, church, etc.

8. NOT SWEATING: I can’t say one of the best things was the “cool climate” because actually I was miserably cold about half the time, but it was really great to not sweat for a few weeks. It was fun actually blow-drying my hair and wearing it down. No frizz! We are grateful to have missed a few of the worst (hottest, humidest) weeks in Brazza.

7. NEW FRIENDS: It was fun to get to know some of the other people doing language research in Africa. At these kinds of events I can’t help but make a few lasting friendships since we have so much in common and there are so many quality people involved.

6. ESPRESSO: Good coffee at cheap prices. Need I say more? There’s a Starbucks-esque place in Addis called Kaldi’s, named for the goat herder who according to legend discovered the coffee bean when he noticed his goats dancing after having eaten some. Fantastic caramel macchiatos for less than $1.

(Top 5 Coming Soon...)