Tuesday, August 31, 2010

H'wwwwwat? yyeeeaaaas

I miss a lot about the US. but the thing that drives me up the wall is the fact that I am missing out on the new season of Mad Men. ugh. Did Betty and Don really separate? did she marry that smarmy politician dude? what of my beloved Joan, is she still running thing? I need to figure out how to get my fix.

other than that Nairobi is wonderfully chilly this week. work is work and my lovely mother in law is visiting so there's even more yummy food and good conversation at home. can't complain at all.

except the belly is expanding a little more rapidly than I remember last time. Nobody knew anything was askew until well into the 4th month. now we are inching on getting to three months and i already see a bump. sigh. there'll be a lot of 'splainin to do at work. or i could just buy flowy tops...yea, i think that's it.

happy tuesday

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Lights out

there are 55 lights out at our house. Isn't that insane? and they are those recessed lights that happen to be a bit pricey. So the cheap ones (that will probably go out in a few months) are 450 shillings a pop ~$5.70 or the LED ones that will supposedly last a lifetime are $15. Now do I spend ~$300 or ~$825....which i find is a bit too much for bulbs either way. sigh. Note to self: choose next house with this in mind. have had a manageable number of lights

Monday, August 16, 2010

Go back to your country!

seriously. Our driver cut off some dude this morning. The dude looks back at our driver who doesn't look kenyan and yells "go back to your country!" I'm not sure if it was directed at just the driver or included me. hmm. I chuckled and let it go. but seriously?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Tuna melt with no tuna

I don't know how or why but I still find myself eating out at lunch. Now my surprise doesn't stem from the fact that I eat lunch, because, seriously, me and food..like ziz. tight. Anyway that surprise is that we have an awesome cook at home and she packs lunches for us. But these days, I open the packed lunch she leaves on the kitchen counter and want to, uhm, how do i say this delicately, well, hurl. Now without getting into too much detail, because it is entirely too early to announce it to the world, yes, all one of you who reads this here blog thingy, I might have , you know, kinda sorta gotten myself a little knocked up. sooooo. since I can't tell the cook that (well, i have no problem telling whoever wonders in here though - yay logic) I just pretend that I forgot the lunch and go out to hunt for grub that is not hurl inducing during lunch time.
I went to grab a sandwich at Java House today (that, is the Nairobi equivalent of, say, if Starbucks and your neighborhood diner had a lovechild) and from the menu the only thing that looked good to me was the tuna melt on a toasted baguette. when my food showed up , dude, i wish i took a picture - it was a baguette lined on both sides with slices of tomato and i could see little slices of avocado underneath and then some sprinkling of melted shredded cheeses on that. so i call the waitress back and say, is this the tuna sandwich? yes madam. where's the tuna? under the avocado madam. so while she's standing there i flip over a tomato slice and the avocado to check. And there, my friends, is where said tuna is painted on. I can see the nooks and crannies (ah, i miss english muffins) sorry, where was I? yes, one can see the bread through the painted on tuna layer. sigh. Is tuna expensive here or something? I was too hungry so I ate it in a huff but now i can add TUNA MELT SANDWICH - with two huge scoops of tuna salad to my list of shit I can't get downtown.

boy, these hormones are really getting out the potty mouth in me. Happy Tuesday.

Monday, August 9, 2010

dude, where's my stuff?

We packed up our stuff in New York a few months ago and handed it to shippers who were going to provide door-to-door service to Nairobi. Now after a lot of delays I demanded they track my things and guess what? Our container is in Haifa, Israel. What? Is there a way that one can spell Mombasa that could in any way be read as Haifa? Anyway, I can't be too mad. I wish I was in Haifa. It's a beautiful place. But my house here is empty really save for some essentials and the whole waiting thing is getting very old. How many times I've put off buying something because I know I've got 3 of them in the container, which is chilling in Israel. Anyway, it is supposedly now on its way on a Chinese ship and will be here on sept 4th. That is barring another detour to, I donno, timbuktu?! And by arriving here i mean the port of Mombasa, and who knows how long it will take to get it past customs and make its way to Nairobi. sigh. I've tried relaxing and thinking positive but I'm grumpy. I want my shit, that's all. sorry. *fans herself* yes, too early in the week to be spouting such salty language. Have a happy week.

Friday, August 6, 2010

you don't see this everyday

I was having a late lunch at the Thorn Tree cafe and this Somali couple walk in and are waiting to be seated. They caught my attention because the guy is dressed in a suit and the woman is covered from head to toe in black but for a small slit that shows her eyes. I know it is not very tolerant of me but every time I see a woman dressed like that, it annoys the hell out of me. Especially in Africa. Because it has *nothing* to do with African culture or Islam which has been practiced here for ages. This drenching ones' self in black fabric is another symptom of new import from Arabian tradition that has been the cause of so much strife...ohh..let me stop. I think I'll need another post for that some other time

anyway, so I am looking at them and the waitress seats them right next to me. As soon as girlfriend sits down she puts her bag down and start taking her face covering off. Then the headscarf. Then she shakes out cascading long hair. She's wearing full makeup and beautiful chandelier earrings. She looked around the room and caught me looking with my mouth open. She giggled. It was so freakin awesome. I don't know why but it totally made my day.

Monday, July 26, 2010

and now for our weekly update

seriously, who knew keeping a damn simple blog would be such a responsibility? :) it's a good thing only one person reads this (hi!) and can call to remind me to update it. all well. Nairobi is rainy and freakin cold! I baked this awesome braided bread that the hubster thought was store bought. seriously, he wouldn't believe I made it. thanks? I think? anyway, ate half of it after dinner. oh self control, where are thou?

nothin' interestin'. work is really really heating up. I'm looking forward to august. and this promise that a lot of things slow down during that time...ok. bye.

Monday, July 19, 2010

uhm...what's going on?

So I am tired, acting a bit like a space cadet, zero concentration, total mistress of procrastination and hungry like a hippo (or a horse, or a...whatever, whoever animal eats the most) It is now 10am and I want lunch. oh I'm sometimes nauseous too. uh oh. I won't say it if you don't. sigh. Breath and remember the peace of the beach.

Monday, July 12, 2010

oh sowwy.

I've been really negligent here. Will be back soon. Work has been rather demanding and inspiration a bit low. Anyways, went to Malindi last weekend and it was *lovely* except for the flying a tiny plane bit. But I did enjoy the small terminal where me, hubz and the little man were the only ones in the waiting area. oh and our little bag, if that counts. peaceful airport. oxymoron?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Unauthorized Formula 1 pit crew

So last night I was going home on Uhuru Highway and the traffic started slowing down a bit. Two guys run into traffic, get in front of my car and start bumping and shaking it. I didn't even know what to think, I thought I was being carjacked or something so just blasted the horn. I am surrounded by cars and people but these guys were stealing my indicator lights! just like that! with me *in* the car! how brazen. anyway, they get it in only a few seconds and they jump over the highway divider and almost get run over by several cars. so there are two gaping holes where my indicators were. sigh.

Monday, June 28, 2010

be careful what you wish for

I was complaining about casual mondays last week...an voila, meetings scheduled today so I am back to my suited ways. And it's not too comfortable.

but sleep deprivation and a wonderful weekend make it hard to summon up the energy to do basic things...say remembering the memory card from the camera so i could show you the joys partaken during said wonderful weekend.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Friday blues and pink checkbooks

Feeling a little tired and cranky today, TGIF issues notwithstanding. that's all. oh made this lovely mocha dessert thing from the Tasty kitchen last night. lo-ve-ly.

so I went to open up a bank account and the lady immediately started selling me on a 'diva' account. I said, ok, what benefits does a DIVA account have. Bank lady: well it has many benefits but I think you'd be happy to know that, you get a pink ATM card, a pink checkbook, a pink key chain...

I signed up since I was indeed wearing the one item of pink clothing that I owned and she was smiling so sweetly thinking she got me for her diva club from the moment I walked into the bank.

oh, I called later to change the pink card/checkbook to the standard blue. didn't have the heart to do it with her face to face.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

filed away

I spent my morning at Nyayo House to drop off and process an application for a national ID card. I followed signs for "Aliens" and got myself registered, finger printed (with real ink!) and was given a receipt to pick up my card in one month. The most interesting part though is that once you get fingerprinted you go to the shelf by the door to pick up a piece of cotton and then right outside the door there is an old bottle of water that is filled with benzene. You wet your cotton ball with the fuel and wipe the ink away. I was so happy to be able to clean the ink from my fingers that it didn't occur to me that I'd be smelling like bezene all day. Brilliant. Especially since I scheduled back to back meetings this afternoon. Yay me.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

What an ingrate

So one of the joys of moving here was the ability to have help at home. It's just me, B (the hubby) and little dude (the little dude). But at this point our help situation is out of control as we have 4 people looking after us, if I remember my calculus right, that is more than 1 per person. There's Emme, the Nanny. Khadijah the Housekeeper. Maar the Cook and Ephrem the Driver. And I still feel frazzled and think I have too much to do, funny huh? I've totally forgotten the days when I just felt like I couldn't even catch my breath. Waking up at night to feed little man, waking up again to feed little man, fixing his breakfast, changing his nappy and getting showered/dressed for work while waiting for his baby sitter. Trying to achieve a miracle by walking out without any spit-up or food on any of my clothing. Spending the day trying to be totally a 100% there at work with only a few hours of sleep while also periodically sneaking out to another floor to feed the machine (pump breast milk) in a tiny room. oh lord, taking so many conference calls in that little room and smiling as people complained, what is that scraping sound? then the deep disappointment as I would rush home to find out that little dude is already asleep and I still have a hours of work to do from home. pumping milk while checking LBO models while I wait for him to wake up at midnight or so anyway. sigh. I don't even want to remember the traveling and pumping thing - face with the choice; 1) dump the milk (ughh, after all that pain, no way) 2)fedex the milk (did it once but it is a little stupid) 3)try to check in a tiny bag for a day trip back from Chicago (good luck with that and being mocked by everyone on your team who have no clue what you are checking in ) 4) ignore it and have milk stains all down your shirt and the pain oooh the pain. wait a minute, why did i forget all this?

ok. I am such an ingrate. life is good now. but you know what I miss? cooking. Not the prep for cooking or the cleanup...but just the joy of putting it all together and tasting it. I keep going to smitten kitchen and hitting the 'surprise me' button and dreaming what I can cook.... dammit....today is the day. I'm such a whiner, no? It's a good thing nobody reads this crap.
anyway, here's little dude jumping...trying to jump...

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

two roads diverged

My brother came to town for a conference last night. I wanted to see him before he got caught up in his meetings so I decided to drive to his hotel after work. For some reason, I didn't google the address before I hit the road at 8:30pm. Now anybody with half a brain will tell you one shouldn't do that in this town. Actually, what I was told was to not go somewhere you don't know at night if you absolutely don't have to. But I've got this cocky last child immortality complex so I wanted to see my big bro and hell, I was not going to wait until tomorrow. I asked my husband to call me with the directions. He's great at many things, but map reading and navigating ain't one of them. So he told me to make a left when I should have taken a right . After driving for 15 min a little voice inside my head started whispering something about not being in KS anymore (I've never even been). The road kept getting worse and worse, the bonfires by the road were more frequent, there was a noticeable spike in the number of people around and it was all corrugated iron shack as far as my eyes could see through the darkness. Finally it occurred to me that I had driven into one of the biggest slum areas in Nairobi. I made a U turn when the narrow roads would allow and eventually met and enjoyed my brother's company for a few hours.

But I can't get that image out of my head. That 15 mins away from the uber modern malls selling frapuccinos at $4.0 a cup and designer jeans (+$400) exists such squalor. I knew the reality here but I had subconsciously decided to ignore it and been floating through life here . I need to do a little inventory of my conscience. anyway, I'm feeling like i grabbed this branch that I saw last week.

Monday, June 21, 2010

monday monday

The beauty of casual Fridays, though I've never had the joy of experiencing it, is that it is a not too subtle nod to the coming weekend. A working stiff who had to wear formal gear all week can slip into standard issue khaki pants and other bland business casual gear and know that freedom is near - TGIF.
In Nairobi, ok, donno if it is all o' Nairobi, but at my new job here, there is a thing called casual Monday, where you can relax the super formal wear that is required every other day of the week. (No joke on the super formal thing, even the lady that makes the coffee wears a shirt that is starched to within an inch of its life.) Anywhoo- where was I? oh yes, casual Monday, I suppose it is to ease you back to the formal week from the weekend but it is totally lost on me. I would much rather tighten my belt, put on something standard from a closet full of dark suits, starched shirts and head out to face the week. Every single freakin' Monday I am sitting in front of my closet at 6:30am agonizing whether my old strechy maternity top is 'business casual' (don't judge, it still feels lovely 2 yrs later) , if ballet slippers are too, well, too ballet-y. So I end up with a non suit look that is still formal, cardigan much?, but that I can't wear any more because I've branded it casual by wearing it on a Monday. Bloody 'ell! anyway, happy Monday! I had a lovely weekend with my little dude.

Friday, June 18, 2010

oh hey, how you doin'

So yea, I have been MIA for a few months now and a lot has changed. I'm back in the rat race and back on the saddle vis-a-vis the working situation. Those lovely months off are such a pretty memory. Still loving Nairobi but a little bit differently than when I used to hang outside my home and drink tea. The rainy season is upon us and it's almost as if I never lived through many a north eastern winter. I shiver at the slightest dip in temperature and complain. I've become a local! Anyway, I am back, with a super fast internet connection and I'll be more diligent about updating this here blog thingy. In the mean time, here's the view from my office window.
Sorry for the bad quality pictures, thought it would be weird to be snapping these at mid day. I should do another one early morning. Anyway, so that shot above is showing what is above the building that is across the road. A hotel. whoa, the Standard in NY had quite a rep but this one has got it beat; that's all I've got to say about that for now. Here's the view that I have to the

A little further is a view of a mosque which breaks my days with the beautiful melody from the muezzin calling the faithful to prayer several times a day. It always makes me smile and reminds me that even though my screen still is loaded with financial models and legal papers, I am sooooo far away from where I was last year.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Lady Driver

I almost got arrested trying to take this picture as we were across the street of the state house and I thought the guards were distracted by a car that had broken down and pulled over close to the wall.(..there is a sign saying no cameras that but i dared not snap that one.) Anyway I wasn't arrested but forgive that it is blurry and not really there but whateves. It is a standard for sale sign except in the middle it says "LADY DRIVER"

Its great when stereotypes are turned upside down. I assume the "Lady Driver" implies the great state that the vehicle is in.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

lobbies and lollipops

I have had so many meetings this week. Some very productive, others..who knows. They listen and milk you for all your ideas then just smile pat you in the back and say they'll call you. It is difficult to read some folks. Anyway, it took me through many lobbies. They are so generic. boring lobbies straight out of a tom hanks 1980s movie. that's all I can share. I'm dropping in my own 'lobby' at the end because i kind of like it and I've been spending quite a bit of time there.
oh and every lobby has a bowl of lollipops. Wtf?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Its always the tomatos, with the candle stick, in the library...

I really don't know why I keep eating tomatoes. Raw tomatoes. The first thing people warn you about when you move to any developing country is to avoid eating raw foods and drinking the tap water. Since, I'm a rebellious last child with a serious immortality complex; I've always ignored the latter but generally stick with the no-salad rule. The one exception is tomatoes. If I see them anywhere, by a roadside shack or the market where they are neatly piled up on the ground... I try to figure out a way to 'sanitize' and eat them. hmm..sanitize you say. yes. very scientific methods. If at home wash it with antibacterial soap, soak it in water for 10 min or less if they look super happy..etc. But here's where the real patent pending technology comes in...if you are out and you see a plate of sumptuous looking mozzarella and tomatoes...you don’t shy away defeated, you ask for , ta da, a jar of vinegar. hmm can whatever is in there survive being drowned in strong vinegar is the logic. Well, without fail, there's always some heathen of a microorganism that survives and gets me sick. Like what happened last night. I am going to try and blame everything else I ate but deep down, I know and you know who it is.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Hello World, can you hear me?

This time last year I was like all other denizens of Wall Street. Lamenting our fate, griping about our bonus (I know I know, entitled bastards), relieved our respective firms survived the turmoil and trying to explain to friends and family the difference between a CDO and a CDS. (no grandma it really has nothing to do with CDs and rap music)

While last year was about grey suits, pink shirts, depression and Bloomberg screens, this year aint. I have been sitting on my balcony wearing a t-shirt, sipping some ketepa tea and drafting my resignation letter all morning. Did I mention it is 80 degrees with loads of sunshine? In January! I made the call to my boss and am following it up with a formal emailed resignation. I’ve got my two guys, one 35 , one 19 months, backing me up and there’s not a doubt in my mind that I’ll enjoy life in Kenya. Really. No, I’m not nervous. Ehm…seriously. I’m just shaking because of…oh whatever.

This here is my journal , not sure if anyone will read it, but hey, if you’ve got a few minutes to waste every day, you can join me as I try to navigate a new life, new town, new continent without any analysts push around and learn how to say diapers in Swahili (stat! that Costco stash of Huggies is running out).