seriously. best. husband. ever.

So cabin fever has really set it.  Today is officially our 120th day here, and we both desperately need a vacation.  Just a little break to sit back, not worry about work, eat well and see something new.  Back in February we planned a trip to visit this darling little place near the Nigeria/Cameroon border over Easter.  Well for one reason or another that trip got pushed back to this weekend.  And then yesterday for one reason or another it got pushed back again.  Needless to say, I wasn't really so happy about it.  And may or may not have vocalized my need to get out of Abuja for a few days to my husband. 

So instead of doing what I imagine a sane person would do - telling me to suck it up and hopefully things will work out next weekend - he booked us a trip to Stockholm.


Next weekend.

Oh. My. God.  Europe!  The food!  The culture!  Next weekend!

And then Mallory gets here and then R&R is almost here and life is starting to look pretty good again.

Seriously, I am married to the most amazing man on the planet.  Who needs Prince William and tiaras and carriages when you have Joey Cordaro? 


bug pose

Well, yoga by the pool with the sun setting in the background seemed like a great idea.  I'm not really sure how considering most nights I'm willing to forgo comfort in the heat with long pants and long-sleeve shirts to avoid the mosquitos I didn't think they'd be just waiting for me by the pool.  So I spent the last hour down-dog swatting and smack- ing and now I will spend the next several days itching and scratching.  Ugh.

I also couldn't help but notice the infestation of dead flies in the pool.  My sister is coming to visit in the next few weeks (I am so excited!) - after seeing this lovely picture she is going to be excited too.

Then I noticed the giant pile of dead flies (are they even flies?) over by the drain - seriously, what in the world?  Our friends told us about one bug that if you smack while it's biting you, it causes a chemical burn and your skin blisters and peels.  Apparently around this time last year several people here experienced that first-hand.  I'm really hoping these flies/bugs/whatever are not the same.  Otherwise I guess I'll have some great pictures for my blog.


a fun discovery

We found a bowling alley - complete with bowling shoes, bowling balls, full-length lanes, and NEON!  Sure, the power went out every twenty minutes or so, but the automatic scoring system didn't miss a beat.  Believe it or not, we managed to bowl three games, eat pizza and drink beer. 



You may recall from some of my earlier posts my husband's dumb luck.  If not, here's a quick rundown: Joey is the type of guy who finds $20 bills lying on the street.  So often that his mother lovingly calls him "Stupid F***ing Joey," or "S.F Joey" for short.  So I thought I'd share our most recent S.F. Joey moment.

Since we live in a place where it is exceptionally hard and/or expensive to buy certain foods, we are allotted consumable shipments.  Obviously we bought a ton of food before we got here, but we decided to go ahead and order some more food from ELSO, a huge military (I think?) commissary in Germany.  Since you have to order by the case, the cost grew very quickly and $1000 later, we had a ton of food on the way.

Well two weeks ago we received word that our shipment was due to arrive, and Joey and I anxiously awaited the truck like little kids on Christmas morning.  As they opened the huge wooden crate our anticipation turned to confusion - it wasn't our food.  The delivery drivers didn't believe us, so after a lot of hemming and hawing they finally took the delivery back to the warehouse in Abuja.  Just to make sure, the next day we took our order list to the warehouse to double-check that it really wasn't our order.  Nothing on our order list matched anything in the truck. 

So after a lot of back and forth between ELSO and Abuja, ELSO decided it would cost more to ship the goods back to Germany than they were worth, so we got to keep it!  The whole delivery - probably $1000 worth of food!  Not to mention that the people whose order we got (they got to keep ours) have good taste in food!  They had ordered a ton of tortilla chips, black beans, salsa verde, chilis in adobo sauce, canned tuna, canned salmon, olive oil...Ghiradelli Brownie Mix.  Seriously, SF Joey strikes again. 

The best part was that since there was so much food and we just really don't have room for it all, especially considering the order that we actually paid for should be here in a few weeks, we decided to give over half of the food to our steward. 

"Really?" she asked incredulously as she stared at the room full of food worth probably three months pay.  "Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you!"  She hugged me, hugged Joey, hugged me again - jumped up and down and clapped her hands.  Then one-by-one she put the boxes on her head and carried them home.  Cool.



As one may imagine when living in a new climate, he or she will encounter many new flora and fauna.  As such, I have detailed my fauna discoveries (check out this little F***er I found stuck in a cobweb in my bathroom.  I left him there for three days (he was stuck) before I made Joey throw him away - HE WAS STILL ALIVE) and so I feel I should also pay homage to some of the flora around here.

This is called a soursop.  Nigerians pro- nounce it "show (like cow) - ah - shop."  We found it rather tasteless and slimy.  Apparently it has amazing medical benefits.  Maybe we'll juice it.

Did you know that cashews grow on apples and you can eat the apple?  We got really excited when we cut into the apple and it smelled like starfruit.  Then we ate the fruit which soaked up every last bit of moisture our mouths.  So we now know why those delicious little nuts are so expensive.  First you have to remove the apple from the cashew, roast the cashew to get it out of its shell (because the oil between the shell and the nut is poisonous), and then roast the nut.  Thank God for Planters.

For photos of a more interesting subject matter, click here.


bwari pottery village

What’s worse than turning on the shower faucet and having brown water rush out?  Being in the shower, looking down at the bath water (I hate bathtubs) and seeing it’s brown.  And knowing that you aren’t that dirty.  In fact, you have just been in the swimming pool.  Yes.  Much worse to know that brown water is all over you.  So I’m going to my happy place.  And since there is no Coldstone in Abuja, I thought I’d conjure up a memory of a happier time here.

About a month and a half ago (I had to dig deep), Joey and I visited Bwari Pottery Village.  It’s a short drive outside Abuja, about 40 minutes or so.  We got directions from motorpool before we left:

“Drive on this road about xxx minutes.  Then, when you see a bird on the mountain, turn left.  You drive approx- imately xx kilometers before you turn right.  Then at this building turn right.  The road will curve this way and that way (as he waves his hand back and forth) and then you will turn right again.”

Very helpful.  So after calling the proprietor several times to clarify directions, and assuring my husband even more times that I not only understood what the proprietor said but that we were going the right way down the dirt road, we actually found the place.  And what a treat!  The proprietor took us all over the operation, detailing how they got started, how they make the clay, how they make the glaze, how everything used in the production of the pottery is sourced locally – it really was fascinating.  We even got to see a guy making some pottery. 

Our tour cul- minated in the shop, where we were amazed by the variety of items available, from pitchers and vases to casserole dishes, teapots and decorative lanterns.  We bought a pitcher for ourselves and a few other items to send home for gifts.  Hopefully they arrive in tact!

After buying our pottery we walked across the field to a little hut where we had our lunch  - leftover homemade pizza.  Yum!  We wandered a little farther to check out the giant termite hill and then back to our car.  All in all it was well worth the hassle to find it.  Almost makes me forget about brown showers.  Almost.

You can see the rest of my Bwari photos here.


my husband is an accidental comedian

I'll start with today.  Joey had to go to the dentist.  This is what his pants looked like when he was done.

Joey also baked me a cake for my birthday.  He is a wonderful husband.  Not so much a wonderful baker.  Actually the cake tasted delicious.  It just didn't look so pretty.

You may recall my birthday post complaint about the lizard in my bathroom.  You may also recall one of my first posts here about the lizard in my bedroom.  A. The first lizard was significantly bigger than the lizard in this photo.  B. Joey laughed me out of the bedroom when I appeared with a cup, water bottle and piece of paper.  Note the large mixing bowl and pot lid he brought up to catch lizard #85.

Don't forget the file folder.  Makes all the difference in the world when catching lizards.  Also, don't mind my swimsuits.  They were drying.
My steward is hilarious as well.  The other day I came home and she had braided Moe's hair.  Moe, our so-ugly-he's-cute dog with a mohawk, now had a corn-row instead.  I don't know why I didn't take a picture.  I'm really hoping she'll do it again.  I still don't know how she got him to sit.

Her reaction to our new garbage can was also comedy gold.  After cleaning up one too many messes in the kitchen courtesy of our dogs, I ordered an infared garbage can. You wave your hand over it and it automatically opens.  No germs.  Wonderful.  Well our steward was beyond amazed.  "Wooooow!  Oh wow! You oyibos think of everything!"  Then she asked us if she could bring the neighboring steward over to see it.  Um, ok?

Finally, I believe this to be one of the funniest pictures I've taken since arriving in Nigeria.  Apparently, as the token white people at the wedding we attended, one of our roles including holding babies and posing for pictures.  This little guy was only ten months old.  As they shoved him into my arms, Joey exclaimed "He's adorable!" 

He got very concerned looks from the mother and grandmother.  "He's HORRIBLE?  O he said the baby was horrible-oh!"

"No!" said Mr. Comedian.  "I said he's adorable!"

Sighs of relief were breathed by all.  Except me.  Because I was still holding the very adorable, very heavy baby.


a better day

Wow - thank you so much for all the kind comments!  Sometimes I feel like I'm being so negative and then I feel guilty about being negative which just makes me even more negative.

Today I'm trying to be positive. 

Last weekend we upgraded our internet service to wireless.  It's wonderful because 1. I am no longer chained to the desk in our "bonus room" (notice the more frequent blogging?) and 2. it is fast!  Welcome back streaming videos!  And what amazing combination does wireless internet and streaming videos produce?  Yoga on demand by the pool.  Yes, that's right, this afternoon my yoga mat, laptop and I headed out to the pool and sweated through a yoga class from my favorite yoga studio (www.corepoweryoga.com) in the States.  I believe this is going to tremendously improve my mood.  Granted, the computer battery died right in the ending stretches (my favorite part) and I had to switch one of the videos a few minutes in because it wasn't streaming properly, the bugs were rampant, and I could hear Moe yipping from his kennel half the time (thank God I am the only one in our neighborhood who doesn't work full-time and no one else was home), and the Nigerian compound staff kept walking by, staring, wondering what in the world this oyibo was up to today, but all-in-all, I got a hot yoga class and I feel good.


27 and a day

I realize after visiting an orphanage where kids need shoes and band-aids and books that my complaints are exceptionally trivial and frivolous.  I am going to complain nonetheless.

Seriously, is it too much to ask to sit down on my toilet in my bathroom in my house and not have a lizard staring back at me?  Or how about turning on the faucet in the shower and not having brown water rush out.  Is that too much to ask?  Is it too much to ask to come home and not find a cockroach in your bedroom?  Or sit at the computer and be distracted by the gigantic ant that just fell on the mouse?

Is it too much to ask to have a romantic dinner on your birthday with your husband?  Because last night he attended a reception to which I was not invited.  Luckily the woman who I consider to be my closest friend here is also persona non grata (read: not FSO) and so at least I didn’t have to be alone, but I still really think it sucks that I didn’t get to see my husband until at 8:30 pm on my birthday.  Like the person for whom the reception was held a) knows Joey, b) cares to know Joey, or c) would have even noticed if Joey wasn’t there.  But who am I to ask?  I am just Joey’s wife.  And I have a birthday every year.  Not like it was my first birthday out of the US and my first birthday where my family couldn’t call me to wish me happy birthday.  It’s okay, I didn’t want Joey around anyway…

I’m just really feeling negative.  Hence my not blogging much lately because they’d all sound the same way and that’s no fun to read.  I realize that I need to change my attitude and that I’m not going to be happy until I do that and I realize I have so many things to be thankful for, including a husband who I know would have rather hung out with me on my birthday and running water and a generator and my dogs and my health and a supportive family, not to mention an amazing trip to Europe planned, etc., etc.  I did end up having a really enjoyable dinner with my friend at a nice restaurant (even though my risotto cost $30 and my martini $20).  I received many touching birthday emails and lots of Facebook well wishes too.  I have some great stories and pictures from our trip to Lagos for the wedding and the last month.  I just have to stop feeling sorry for myself first.  I'll get there...