My mom emailed me and asked my why I haven't been keeping up on my blog...I guess its one of those scenarios where if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all. I'm just really homesick. Its not really that I miss Des Moines or Washington, DC in particular, and I feel like I've been doing an okay job at keeping in touch with family - its just that I miss all those things that we had in Des Moines and DC. I miss our family and great friends, I miss the great restaurants and stuff to do. I miss being able to go for a run by the monuments instead of the mountains of trash. I mean really, this morning, there was giant pile of trash in the middle of the sidewalk. Oh, and Dear all drivers in Nigeria, please kindly stop parking your car on the sidewalk. It is for walking. The street is for driving. Thank you.
I'm hoping Thursday night was the low point. I finally broke down and bawled. Then Joey and I ate peanut butter and honey toast (my solution to dessert) and drank a bottle of wine. Alcohol and food seem to make everything better, at least for the meantime. I mean, no, last week I didn’t eat four quarts of Ben & Jerry’s in three days. Joey helped. We went to the Commissary last Thursday night and even though it was still ridiculously expensive (over $6 a quart), I bought four quarts of Ben & Jerry's and as soon as we got home sat down and ate a Chunky Monkey. Then last Friday after I got home from work decided that I needed some Strawberry Cheesecake and then later after dinner somehow the second Chunky Monkey may have been eaten as well. Then I made it as far as Sunday before eating the last quart - Pistachio Pistachio. FAT. I’m an emotional eater, what can I say? I mean, you mix PMSing with homesickness and you get a Chunky Melissa.
Anyway, the last Saturday of every month in Nigeria is called “Sanitation Day.” No one in Abuja is allowed outside their house – no one is really sure why, but apparently if you get caught on the street – running, walking to the market, whatever – is no bueno. I’ve heard its because once a month they want you to clean your house? Not really sure, but last Saturday we hung out in our compound until we got the all clear. Then we had a party - all the people in our compound put some money together and got a cover band and a guy to come out and make shawarmas (Greek/Lebanese-ish wraps with tahini and beef and lettuce and tomato - quite good). It actually turned out to be a fairly fun time and it was something to do.
Sunday we made our way to the Arts and Crafts Village outside the Sheraton. There are all these little huts, and inside each is an assortment of beads, masks, wood carvings - random slave shackles - I mean, they are collector's items, right? Uhhh... We didn't buy anything yet but are thinking about commissioning an ebony chest with a bunch of African carvings. My only problem is that they carve all these cool giraffes and elephants and antelope into these beautiful pieces, and while I get that those are representative of Africa and we are, in fact, in Africa - I have yet to see a giraffe. Or elephant. Or antelope. I saw a monkey in a cage on the side of the road on our way home from Gurara Falls and I just don't think that counts as wildlife. So as much as I love the wood carvings of these fabulous African animals, I just don't feel that they are representative of our experience here. We did find some cool little statuesques of African women with bowls on their heads that I think are more appropriate but I guess we have two years to see an elephant so it is what it is.
|The guys making shawarma at the party.|
|The "best, better-than-average cover band" by the pool at our party.|
Also in the realm of arts and crafts, I had a dress made. I picked out some fabric a few weeks ago and I met with a tailor. After going through the tailor's magazines together, he sketched a design and took my measurements. I picked up the finished product last week. The tailor had to make a few adjustments so he had me follow him to his "shop." My friend Linda and I wandered through a maze of random brick alleyways in the market to what looked like a storage garage full of antique sewing machines. So while the tailor adjusted my dress, Linda and I just sat on the bench outside his "shop" in the middle of the brick alley of garages. Seeing as there was no fitting room available and I wanted to make sure the dress fit before I paid the tailor and left, I tried it on - over my other outfit - right in the little alleyway. I think, even though I was wearing a full skirt and tank top, the action of me putting on and taking off the dress - even over my other clothes - had the other tailors wondering wtf I was doing. I was already fully clothed so its not like I was revealing anything. Anyway, the dress wasn't exactly what I had pictured but Joey likes it and I might warm up to it eventually. With the fabric and the custom tailoring it was $45 total, which is a steal for a custom made dress - but I just bought one through Victoria's Secret online for $19.99 that I'm positive I'll wear more. So while I'm not sure if I'll commission any more dresses here, I am glad I got one - if nothing else its a cool souvenir.