Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Am organizing a recovery training in Uganda and we need a place where we can do field visits and have the training there as well. Four hours away, we have Soroti and it's been recommended, so I am realllllly hoping this works out.
I leave in about an hour and I have yet to pack. Or get anything organized. So I am off to do that.
If anyone else has recommendations for places in Uganda to have trainings, pass them on!
Monday, September 14, 2009
Watch this space!
So, I blogged about the riots we have been having in Kampala and I'm very proud of the post and as soon as they publish it over on the other site, I will put it up here. Yay!
In the meantime, my darling husband returned from a week of working in the UK at his head office and he brought back a Wii!!!! Woohoo! I had been wanting one for the last two years and would forget to mention it to him and out of nowhere, he brings one home. He's so great. I love you, Micky.
My body is in so much pain. I am so utterly unfit, it's sad. The stupid Wii Fitness thingie calculated my fitness age, and though my BMI is PERFECT, I have the fitness age of a 42 year old. It's only because they had this one test, where you have to shift your weight around to fit into these tiny blue boxes, and dude, I can shift my weight around as well as the best of them, it's just that I can't coordinate my eyes with my legs very well so I totally messed up that test. It's not fair, but that's ok.
My knitting, a blog post waiting to happen, with photos (!) has now been put to the side but it's ok, since I am almost done with the great knitting project of Aug-Sept 09. I have never knitted this much in my life and having M away for a week helped with that.
I added something TOTALLY cool to my blog by the way. It's on the right hand side. Scroll down a bit. It's a live traffic feed thingie and it shows me where people are visiting from! I love it. I still love my cluster maps thingie too but this one is more precise. Like Burdett NY...who are you? Tunisia, you came on too. How freakin cool that I can stalk people who stalk me. I can't really stalk you, it just tells me where you have logged on from, but really, that's good enough for me. I am a lame stalker when it comes down to it.
I now need to go and work but i wanted to touch base, say hi and share my joy of being well, alive and soon to be super productive at work!
Thursday, September 03, 2009
Speaking of connecting to people....I made a new friend! Through my blog!! Again!!! You know who you are, new friend. I use the term loosely. A fellow resident in Kampala came and left a comment on my blog...confirming my worst fears about jiggers (they do exist...they are actually called mango flies...I had my facts wrong-Micky did, to be fair and I do believe him...most of the time) and they do lay eggs in your body. Thanks new friend!
Here's the thing: If I see this expat mom in the grocery store...I will have no idea, but she will know it's me and Micky since there are photos of us up. I have over thought this, but still, it's fun and I'm bored in Kampala. I went to the 24 hour Nakumatt the other day and was like, OMG, it could be her, or her or her...and then I realized that was lame and I should be more nonchalant about it...y'know...play it cool and shit. Not be walking around the Nakumatt (with the carts they have to entertain little kids but they fit me and my arm span better...I'm not super short...I do have super long arms though)...where was I? Oh, right, the Nakumatt...right, so I should not be walking around there at 10 pm on a school night gawking at every white woman who passes me by (the only thing I know about my new reader is that she's an expat mom (guessing white) who grocery shops but can't be arsed to go to the post office...ahem).
I have totally over thought the situation but it is awesome to get comments from people and have that connection.
I asked her not to stalk us and now she's definitely not going to. I am not a weirdo, I promise...not like a major one at least. Someone, a chartered accountant in fact, which is a good profession, married me, so I can't be totally insane...though I bet a chartered accountant could be totally creepy when not at work...mine isn't and he doesn't do the whole CPA thing anymore anyways.
On another note, I read a book on tweeting by Tee Morris. Called All a Twitter. I'm not a total newbie at it and I learnt some good stuff. Yay for that. I want to write about it but I want to do it first on the desicritics website since they won't publish previously published stuff. So any reviews etc, I am going to write up there first and then post here after...annoying but I can understand. I have no pretensions of turning into a social media anything...well, a practitioner..a user. I just wanted to know if I was using it right and getting the most out of it. There were things I didn't get when I saw them posted, but now I get it! And can't wait for #followfriday!
There is a post about facebook and twitter that need to happen. Everyone writes about it now. I mean, they have been, but all of a sudden, when there is no news (no news of strategic interest to America), they come out with a FB or twitter article. Each contradicting the other.
I might just write the post, so I should stop. My hand hurts anyhow from writing too many thank you cards and playing computer games. Still have not finished writing the damn cards.
I wanted to blog, and I did. Well done me.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
I felt like I needed to announce that on my blog. Do we feel any different? Not really. We deiced to move to NYC and stop the hobo nomad life and have nice kitchen appliances. I guess that counts.
I think the change is more for Micky than me. Maybe I am in denial about the changes.
I think the changes are more subtle. Like, for instance, I feel like doing more things for him…like cooking and getting him a glass of water when he wakes up. Subtle and TOTALLY LAME changes. What the hell am I turning into??? I shouldn’t be mean to myself. It’s cool that I love Micky that much.
I might be turning a molehill into a mountain and attributing normal love patterns into marriage changes. I don’t really have a way to know, though, do I? It’s not like parallel universe me, living in sin with Micky is sending me messages or anything. Biatch.
Am going to add a tag to my blog called married life and just attribute anything and everything to it. That should be fun.
My active life on facebook means, by the way, that I live facebooked my wedding, instead of live blogging it. Facebook sucks and I am addicted to it.
Some photos for your viewing pleasure. It was a blast.
View from the Bride cam!
The wedding ceremony...and elephanta.
Chillin with Elephanta..before I make my entrance.
Normally, in my profession, when you move to a new country, you get a security briefing, which is not just about the conflict etc in the area but also on health issues. Since I have moved without actually being assigned to a delegation and as a consultant, I am on my own (my line managers back in Geneva and London are kick ass so I’m not really alone)…
Lucky for me, Micky actually got a briefing etc from his agency and when I arrived, he sat me down and gave me the low down. He did this since he knows now from experience how seriously I take security briefings…he was my boss in our last job. He talked about the north of the country (it’s pretty much fine now and we aren’t really going there anyhow), the situation in Kampala (so safe and so nice), atms and credit cards (not as bad as it could be), health (malaria in the country, but not so much in Kampala, yellow fever but we are both vaccinated against that and oh, there are these things called jiggers…they lay eggs in your body and get into your clothes and it can cause an infection and…WHAT??????) My jigger paranoia, like a female jigger attaching itself to your body, took root.
It’s the only thing I have been terrified of in Uganda. The dreaded jigger. You can get malaria, bilharzias and other nasties but the one that has captured and wrecked havoc with my imagination is the jigger. There is something so totally gross about the idea of something getting into your body (and it’s miniscule), laying its eggs and multiplying. I know Micky and I are perfect for each other since so many things point to it (and I just KNOW), but he laughed when he saw my face when he first told me about jiggers and said he had the same reaction when getting his briefing. We bond on our mutual jigger fascination (ok, mine is a way more heightened fascination).
It must have been high school, and this is probably an urban legend, but I heard this story about this girl who got a spider ‘bite’ but really, it was a spider laying it’s eggs in her face. What started out as a pimple, grew and grew and one day, shit loads of baby spiders emitted from the girl’s face. I have carried that story with me for so long and the story about the woman who stuck a lobster up herself and the lobster, I guess, ejaculated inside her and the next day, she started having lil baby lobsters (which when she saw that, she freaked out, hit her head on the bathroom floor and died).
Neither of these stories is probably true but they make excellent daymare material.
I walk around Kampala and our house citing any issues on jiggers.
I got a suspicious looking bite on my inner thigh which kept growing. I was not a happy camper. The only person who took me seriously that this could be a jigger bite was my mom, a bonified doctor who knows her tropical diseases. Bless her. It wasn’t diagnosed as a jigger bite in the end, and some antibiotics cleared up whatever it was (sort of), but that’s not the point. I just finally googled jiggers and wikipedia says that (thankfully), the eggs actually fall out so there will be no baby jiggers growing in me, HOWEVER, I could still have a jigger bite and other nasty consequences (which wikipedia doesn’t get into and my internet is too slow and I am too scared (and a hypochondriac to boot which really, doesn’t need ANY more encouragement) to look up other sites), could still occur.
What a totally horrible sentence. It’s because I add things after writing one complete sentence. I have a parentheses problem.
Maybe it was a jigger bite, and this means that there are now baby jiggers growing into adult jiggers at my parent’s place in NJ. Whoops.
I am putting myself on a medical alert and am shouting out to Micky as I type this to monitor me for jigger reactions.
He just looked at me and said, that’s nice and smiled and went back to his computer. Hmph! You wait till I start frothing at the mouth in a jigger reaction, buddy.
Wikipedia also says that jigger is an ethnic slur. That’s not nice. It means lots of things actually.
It’s a small town in Louisiana.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Sad-o is a great word. Mick used it on me (I was whining about being away from him..because I am a sad-o) but then I heard my British boss use it too! I was going to credit Mick with creating a cool word but I think it's a part of the Brit lingo, (something I am still figuring out). Lucky for me, my boss didn't use it in conjunction with me. Whew. I would have had to quit my job. I do and seek constructive criticism but when I get it, I get really gutted about it. Gutted is another good Brit word. I think I have heard it used in the States as well, but not in the same way and with the same feeling that the Brits do. I have started picking up Brit words...not a surprise though, is it? That's pretty good though, innit? By the way...when Micky calls me a sad-o, he says it in the sweetest way ever. That's yet another sad-o remark from me. I'm going to tape him and put the audio on here and then you guys will see what I mean (and agree with me).
I was speaking about tennis. It's great. I have immense issues in moving my whole body around, not using my wrists but my elbows and whole body instead and I can't do a proper follow through. I had a one hour lesson and it was very funny to hear the guy shouting at me...in a good way. He was like, WHY are you scared of the ball? Stop crouching down! Direction, please, direction! Follow through, don't use your wrists only!
All in all a good lesson and i am thrilled to be playing a sport and learning how to play one. I am trying to recall and I think this might be true...: I have never really learned how to play a sport before. Not swimming (jump in the pool and don't drown), not badminton (hit the birdie), not soccer (my first broken bone, my wrist, in gym class when I was 14, so that put an end to that), not baseball, not basketball, not cricket (swing; jump and shoot for the hoop; if you can do baseball, cricket is easy). So, actually taking lessons to learn how to properly hold a racket is really great (and there is a proper way to hold the racket...I let go of the my way or the highway and I'm special and rules don't apply to me attitude pretty fast once I figured out that just placing my thumb closer to my fingers and not in a wayward way which I wanted to, made a huge difference).
Lessons will have to take a three week break while I go off and get married but am realllly looking forward to the next one...which is where I will re-learn everything since I will have forgotten it by that point. Oh well. Maybe I will just take a racket and swing it around and get practice. And do push ups to get some arm strength going. Micky is going to have real competition.
Next things to learn: Cello and Golf. I wonder if they have lessons for that here. Or the piano. Or violin. Any musical instrument that doesn't require me to blow into it. My lungs would never cope. Also need to learn Luganda...though most people speak English out here but I have a real issue with not being able to speak or at least follow along with context if I live someplace. Really annoys me. Feels like you are half under water most of the time. It's amazing how much ambient noise and sound are actually conversations and the amount we can pick up about where we live and how we live through that.
I was going to hit publish for this post right there, but realized that there is little finesse to my writing actually. I could do better. End with a flourish or something. Or at least some coherence?
Maybe next time.
Monday, July 27, 2009
Have had this cluster map for a while but they recently archived it..which is a good thing since it was just becoming one big red dot over the world and you can't really see what's going on then. Since I have started writing again, have had about 184 visits. I have more facebook friends than that, but I am pretty sure they are not clicking on my blog..and not from the Middle East. I am pretty sure that I currently do not have friends in the Middle East...or in Ukraine. Or in Israel, Senegal and Argentina (or is it Peru?) to name just a few of the lonely one off clicks to my blog. Who are you people? I know I come on and ask every once in a while...WHO ARE YOU?? but that's only because it is fascinating to know that people are logging on and reading me, but I don't know them and they don't know me. Why would you even want to know me? I'm not that scintillating regardless of what I tell Micky every day about my never ending charms.
Tell me people, who are you? How in the world did you find me?
He seems to be more the cautious one...he certainly gives off that impression but really, it's me who is way more cautious, totally risk averse and he will happily put on a helmet (that's his cautious side) and just jump.
We had planned to go away this weekend but explored Kampala instead. We got into a car and just drove around to places that we had heard about and wanted to check out. Health clubs mostly. We want to play a sport. Badminton is normally what we like to play but with the wind, we need an indoor court. Turns out both of us are going to plan tennis instead. I can't play and never have and M plays badly so we are guessing we might be somewhat matched up. We go tonight and have the first game. Very exciting. I got an instructor for the first session so that I can at least get an idea of how to hold a racket and what I should be doing instead of just pretending that I am Venus Williams and getting really frustrated that I'm actually not.
We also found a great place to dance. I have not danced in ages and I love it and was really very pleased that close by to our place, is a bar called Iguana, which is where most people end up going at night. It's a real party town, Kampala, by the way. People get home at 6 am. We are still lame and get there early and leave early, but I have a plan. It's called a nap. Like I used to in NYC. To get me prepped for the long night ahead, though I discovered much to my joy and possibly Micky's doom, good music will wake me up and I need nothing else...cept for maybe some more stamina. I was getting a good workout dancing around and pushed myself harder than I do when exercising...it's just way more fun to dance than run. Running has it's lovely moments though.
Speaking of running (none of which I am doing right now)...I read the Murakami book. What I think about when I think about running. Or some long winded title like that. I LOVED it. Adored it. I am a long distance, neither quality nor quantity, runner. I love the long runs and don't do fast. I can't even really call myself a runner. It's more like a trot but I still love it. Micky does fast and short runs but I am happier going off and just being out there for an hour. And following random thoughts and just letting everything go. It's brilliant and I would love to find a place to run in hilly Kampala, but till I get fitter, that just ain't gonna happen.
We got some more things for the house, we made some better meals, things are looking up. It will most certainly feel like home when we get back from our three week wedding break. I know what to expect, I know where most things that I need are, we have a carpet in the house that I love, and a lamp as well, all my spices that I need and those that I don't have, I now know to bring them from home. It's perfect. So...yay for Kampala, my new home.
Monday, July 20, 2009
Anyhow, we went both days but not as early as everyone else but we had an excuse for the second day we went...we made lunch. A huge biryani for the carnivores and some pasta for the vegetarians. Very fun, met good people and life in Kampala settles down some more (just as we up and leave for three weeks for our wedding). I am supposed to be blogging for work and will start doing that soon and even though I work for the Red Cross, I think there will be a combination post on VSO and the Red Cross. Red Cross is all about volunteers afterall and since M started working for VSO, there's been lots of thoughts I have been having about volunteers and what it all really means...for now...photos for your viewing pleasure...
Actually, the internet is being bad and won't upload my photos....(I am blaming the internet and not my own IBm deficiencies...)..photos later, post now.
Friday, July 17, 2009
ROZEE.PK is Pakistan's most powerful recruiting platform used by over 1,000,000 professionals and 20,000 employers. Even Zehra uses it. She would be an asset to any organization that does not have a drug screening policy.
What a nice guy. He's the CEO of Naseeb networks (some of you might know Naseeb.com..it's like Match.com but for Muslims). I got onto Naseeb at its inception and was pretty quickly banned for writing down my hobbies of coke and sex. I think I also lost my password and did only get onto it since my younger sister wanted me to be on it. We just wanted to check it out since we are bitches and wanted to laugh at people but as you can see when you visit the website, there have been great sucess stories about people meeting and hooking up and finding real love. In a place like Pakistan where dating is still mostly frowned upon, what a great way to find someone rather than being set up by your extended family and parents.
I think it's very cool that Pakistan has all these things now. Very much needed. Rozee.Pk has a accompanying blog that has posts on how to write a good CV, what the hottest jobs and trends are, making decisions about your career and info on physical and virtual jobs fairs (Rozee is the first to host such events).
My fave article, from which even I learned something was the one on writing a good CV. My fave quote from that article is:
Create a professional email address, preferably with your own name e.g. “firstname.lastname@example.org”. Don’t use a humorous or inappropriate email address such as “email@example.com”. This may make a recruiter smile but won’t fetch you an interview.
So, go check it and let Monis know what you think. Tell him Zehra sent you.
And no, coke and sex are not my hobbies. They are necessities.
Update: For all you concerned citizens out there, I don't do coke. And I am not a sex addict. Thank you for all your emailed concerns though. Much appreciated. It was artistic license. And a dig at Monis.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
We thought it would be a dumb show but Jesus H Christ. The questions they ask can be answered in so many ways but it's a yes or no show. What I love about Indian TV is how they can take a show and make it so Indian. Unapologetically. India's Got Talent is another favorite and will get a post on it's own. Getting back to this show...
The questions being asked got more and more personal. And horrible. The woman who was up didn't win in the end and she was like, ummm, it's not true and the host was just like, umm, sorry, the polygraph is the only one who can make that decision. The question she lost on (spoiler alert) was: Would you sleep with another man if your husband would never find out. She said no, but the polygraph in the sky said she was lying.
The whole time she was answering terrile questions about her mom, kids, and husband and I kept thinking, it's ok, they'll forgive her since she'll win lots of money and everyone will be happy. Now, she has no money, and her whole family hates her AND, the worst thing in an Indian society, EVERYONE FREAKIN KNOWS!
The show ended and I was thinking if I could go on a show like that and decided immediately that there was no way and turned to Micky and told him to go onto the show since he is such a good clean boy and he looked at me in panic and was like, HELL NO. I then started asking him the horrible kinds of questions from the show and he stuck his fingers in his ears and started humming.
Once M resurfaced as a human again, we got to talking about the show and that it's not fair that you can ask questions that are about thinking or feeling. Like in a parallel universe where your actions have no consequences, would you sleep with another man if your husband would never find out? have you ever thought about cheating on your husband? (Micky said he would answer yes to that since his brain works in a way where even if he thinks another girl is hot and that he would do her, that constitutes cheating...how sweet. But really, you can't control if you think someone else is hot...and that you would do them...that's human nature! It doesn't constitute cheating in my book). It's about your brain getting the question down to an essence really and concentrating on what you think the answer is. But only super spy brains work like that. The rest of us are screwed. It's the thought police coming to get you.
Anyone seen the American version of the show? Is it really horrible too?
Have stolen episode one from youtube for your viewing pleasure. You can follow along even though it's in Hindi. The questions flash up in English as do the answers.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
I grew up washing my hands at the kitchen sink. The only thing my mom didn't want us to do was spit in the sink since I guess that's where our dishes were. Though, if they are in the sink, they are dirty and it's not like my spits going to make it any more dirtier.
I do the same with guests at my place. Direct them to a place to wash their hands outside of my kitchen when the kitchen sink is about 2 feet away. Is there a reason we do this other than pretensions of humility that the dirt on someone's hands are is far superior to my dirty dishes? I am doing them a favour by letting them use soap and water in my house and practice good public health. I have started washing my hands obsessively, by the way. All the hygiene promotion sourse work I did rings in my ears all the time, especially since I seem perpetually covered in dust. I got some Dettol soap, especially for the kitchen sink.
Speaking of kitchen sinks...ours got blocked last night. Actually, last night, all in all, was a bad night. We cooked our first (and I sincerely hope our last) worst ever meal of our shared life. Neither of us ate much of the steak and mushrooms we made.
The steak was freaking me out and the mushrooms were freaking Micky out. As M put it:
It all tastes too real. As if the cow and the mushrooms were just walking around two minutes ago and we just cooked it.
Perhaps we are too used to processed foods (I tend to buy organic when I have the chance, so not sure how much that argument holds water but it sounded good last night when nothing else came to mind as to why we hated our meal so much).
We ate chocolate and beer instead. Thank god for small miracles.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
An Afghan woman wearing a burka and platform shoes squeezes past a donkey on a suspension bridge over a river in Kashem district of Afghanistan's Badakhshan province.
Why am I annoyed? Not only because the photo when you click on it is named burkadonkey but also because for some reason people seem to think that capturing a woman wearing a burka, with gasp, platform shoes is newsworthy or photo worthy. As if women who cover up have no sense of style and that it's incongrous in some way. It's not.
Check out the blog, hijabstyle where it's all about hijab and style. The article the link takes you to is about top designers who are trying to break into the hijab market. As a former hijab wearer, I can tell you that my sense and desire for style remained intact and it would have been ridiculous to assume otherwise. It's a whole different matter that the regime people live under will stone you for having a sense of style and that is not what this post is about. It's about me taking umbrage at the way in which the photo is showcased and captioned.
So, please people, stop with the stupid photos of women in burkas who show some style and thinking that it's some new discovery. It's not.
Monday, July 13, 2009
Have already moved into and had first weekend of home rehab on the new two bedroom flat. Flat makes it sound like an apt building. It is and it's not. It's part of a complex of five apts, basically. Not free stnading but not stacked on each other either. I didn't want to have to do that anymore. I was despairing of it when I moved in but I thin it's because I did it by myself and once micky came back, it was OK and we did have a good weekend giving it some loving touches. Photos soon. Have switched computers yet again but have not moved everything over as yet. Will get on it, soon enough.
Am hoping to be blogging more regularily..and in fact, will be blogging for work (once they sort out my contract issues)...Will let you all know where that is...
Yay for Kampala...it is lovely and I do need to write about it and I will but i am starting off slow...an teaser, an intro if you like, just to let everyone know tha I have moved.
Thursday, April 30, 2009
Some of you will get why what Mahinda has said below has me peeing in my pants from laughing so hard.
I can kiss a job in Sri Lanka good bye after posting this and I don't care. It's outrageous. Maybe I can work for someone other than the Red Cross (sacrilege!)
COLOMBO, April 30 (Reuters) - Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa said on Thursday his government had no intention of a ceasefire with Tamil Tiger rebels, telling international critics the military's actions constituted a "humanitarian operation".
Full article courtesy of Alert Net can be read here.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
I just had to get up and move away from my computer but I am determined to get one post out atleast. Have been reading some graet blogs of late and will update mine with the links to those accordingly. Am in London and working at the head office at the British Red Cross as a recovery officer (Knowledge sharing) and it's a joint position with IFRC. Liking the job very much so. Am also getting married in the near future (August) so the blog might starting talking about that aspect of life as well....how exciting.
For now, will post two youtube thingies that I saw over this Easter Break at the home of the inlaws on Britian's got talent. We all know how much I love this shit.
Not allowed to embed it so go see it here
And this next one, not as fave as the first one but still pretty cool.