Tuesday, October 5, 2010

better late than never....

This blog was started in April…guess I’ll finish it now…soooooo much has happened I might as well put it out there…it’s long, but try to read it!

So I’m in Singapore. Ahh.

Last I wrote was in Rwanda with the rat/mouse situation. Megan came over and threw her in the yard for me. The big black birds had a field day with her on my roof. Yep, it was a her. I’ll get to that. So Megan came to my site and made some bomb Thai food while Bugsy and I supervised. He musta been out in the rain for hours because he was soooo stinky but I still let him hang. I enjoyed the last few days of my cast at my site reading Twilight and watching Prison Break. I planted some sunflowers Jeff had sent and was successful, but not without a little ridiculousness. The shovel that was once in my yard was nowhere to be found and of course the neighbors denied seeing it. I cut up a water bottle and tried to scoop the wet dirt with it which was hard in itself, plus my cast running vag to toe. My phone rang inside and as I scurried to get it I fell on cement and was stuck like a turtle, other leg bleeding and all. Thank god no one saw me stuck on my back for a minute. Now I know how Tonka feels.

The next day Peace Corps came to get me to go to Kigali and get my cast off and then me head to Asia. Megan was also going to swing the free ride so I told her to get there before Peace Corps so she could investigate my trunk because I was still hearing noises in there. The Peace Corps driver told me I was crazy and nothing was making any noises. I informed Alphons that I have bionic hearing, and that something was definitely in my trunk, with all my dishes and cleaning supplies. My Ugandan neighbors came over, also didn’t hear anything and proceeded to prove me wrong by taking everything out of my trunk. Oh cool. Babies. THREE. Ugh. They had been squeaking since I accidentally murdered their mommy and were still struggling to stay alive! I couldn’t believe it. I’m not sure where they got put but finally I was off to Kigali.

I got my cast off the day before my flight and wow. It was weeeeeird. My leg was just deflated and white and hurt so badly to walk on. I went and took the longest shower ever and shaved and let hot water run on me. I cant say it was a waste of water after I hadn’t really bathed in over a month. The next morning the new PCMO tried to have me come in even though I was packing, bathing (again) and eating before. I would have never made it to Peace Corps and to the airport in time and said I couldn’t go, so I got written up. Moving on.

My trip to Singapore was amazing. I had to fly to Nairobi first which was only an hour or so but my flight was full of muzungu NGO workers and rich people traveling. I was annoyed at all the conversations I overheard about all the work they were doing just because a lot of it is just contributing money. Sure, that’s wonderful, but it’s not sustainable and seeing so much firsthand I know there needs to be more than just money given. Anyway. I had a 7 hour layover in Kenya which was sure to be a nightmare until I got free wireless!!! You know how at almost every airport there are duty free stores so everyone loads up on booze and cigarettes? Well, all the stores at this airport had ‘duty free’ in their name so I guessed that as the airport password and sure enough. I was sooo pumped. I sat by a bathroom that had an outlet and imed for hours and watched the Tiger Woods press conferences and the Lady Gaga videos I kept hearing about. I had coffee with a random man from Lesotho and people watched like no other. When I landed in Bangkok it was heaven…like, indescribable. It was so shiny and pristine almost and there were Asians! And Muzungus! The sight of fast food was of course awesome also. There was Starbucks, Mcdonalds, Dairy Queen, Burger King and all these random Thai food places. I was so overwhelmed I sat down and skyped Jeff telling him I didn’t even know what to eat! I also called Rwanda to brag about all my options. I settled on Dairy Queen, the cheapest choice with the most appealing pictures. Chili cheese dog and a blizzard? I think so. That layover was 4 hours or so also which, sucked, but I was almost there!

As I said before, Singapore was just amazing. John lives in a really nice building, with a ridiculous pool in a great location. He is just 2 blocks from the major shopping road lined with stores like Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Burberry etc. Also, other random stores and TONS of food places, even Coffee Bean and CPK! I lived it up of course and was spoiled rotten by my stepdad. I had a mani/pedi, massages, and free reign of purchases at the bookstore. I laid in the pool most days and read. Even though I was in an amazing place, it was sill lonely as John works everyday. I was used to it, and we enjoyed dinners and dvds together at night.

My vacation went by quickly and after I returned to Rwanda I was still having a hard time…with my leg, my school, the culture…it was a let down when our PCMO left, and then the country director emailed saying he was leaving also. I replied with my decision to go home. Jeff knew I had been having a hard time, and the week following was very awkward between us. He was obviously disappointed, and that was very hard for me as he had been my rock during the previous 7 months. I was scared to go home…and excited, and confused, but I did…(obvi) It is still one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made and I hate it…I miss it so much, but know it was right at the time. I got home the first Sunday night in May and started back to work on Tuesday. Wednesday morning Jeff flashed me and decided to break up with me. Cinco de mayo. My grandpa’s birthday. The end of 2 years together. Devastating. Shocking. Hurtful. Just shitty. The timing couldn’t have been worse…but is there really ever a good time? I of course assumed another person was involved or soon to be, and duh, I was right. Thank you Peace Corps Albania and certain biatch. Guess I always thought Jeff was different.

So coming home has been hard. Roller coaster of emotions daily. Jeff and I are still friends. We still talk. Still email. Argue more now. Its just hard to share something with someone for 2 years including plans for the future, and have it taken at a time when I was already down. Maybe it seemed harder that i had to return to El Segundo. I start waiting tables and people say "oh you quit? how's jeff?" I want to cry, but I save it for later. I have had drama with friends, been uninvited to a wedding, and felt alone more times than not. But coming home has brought me happy times also…I have made new friends, new plans for the future, I am taking trips and have learned a lot about myself and others. I am living for myself and no one else, and am excited for what’s to come. Plus, I’m home with Tonka, and she’ll never break my heart.

Going to try and keep blogging about life…well see if I actually do. One year ago tonight I was in Philadelphia on the phone with Jeff crying about leaving…tonight I am sad I’m not there. Grass is always greener on the other side…

Friday, March 26, 2010

love. ♥

These are my grandparents last December before Jeff and I went to India. I love this picture of them. They're so happy. Married 55 years. Does anyone stay married that long anymore?

I woke up this morning and checked my American cell phone's voicemail. Yep, I still have it if anyone ever wants to leave a message...anyway, my mom called saying my grandpa had died. When I said goodbye to him before Rwanda, I knew it would be the last and these last few weeks I knew it was coming, but it's still the worst feeling ever. It's even worse that I am here, and my family is there. What's even worse than that is I am here doing nothing, because I have a broken leg. I wish I coulda been with him these last few weeks...and he wished too. He told me to come home and we could go for walks, even though neither one of us can walk right now. That thought makes me laugh, but sad too. My grandpa was cool shit and used to love photography like me. That makes me happy.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


I am back at Bumba. I came back to my site yesterday after being in Kibuye for almost 2 weeks. It was nice, but I am glad to be home. Sure they have wireless internet, but they also have SOOOOOO many mosquitoes I dreaded going to bed every night. I didn’t sleep well at all there, and today slept in till 1 pm. Whoops. Bugsy came over yesterday and watched me unpack for a bit. I didnt finish because the hobbling around became too much. I have a lot of stuff too, as these past 2 weeks I was blessed my the care package gods. I got a total of 8 boxes, from Singapore, Texas, and El Segundo. One even had trash in it thank you, you know who you are. But I got all sorts of goodies like flower and vegetable seeds, already baked brownies, books and magazines including 3 Twilight books, new movies like Avatar, Precious (wtf?!), 2012 etc. I got a valentine’s package from Jeff after I had 2 Turbo Kings, and got all emo looking at our photo book and cards. It was awesome though.

Like 10 of us went to Nyanza this weekend to see Mup and each other. I would write more about our time there, but Peace Corps thinks we behaved like assholes and sent us an email about it, so I’ll leave it at that. Bunch of nonsense if you ask me, so don’t ask. It was awesome having yogurt again though! Sooooo good!

I finally got to talk to Jeff in Albania and that was thrilling, obviously. We are trying to figure out calling because its super expensive on both ends. He tried to call me and it was $2.50 for ONE minute. Obviously, that’s not gonna work out. He just found an internet café so hopefully that will help out. He is living with a host family who doesn’t speak any English, and not gonna lie, I’m a bit jealous. He will definitely learn the language that way and I kinda wish I had that on my side. I have had an amazing experience anyway, just saying.

Last night I was reading the longest book ever, Pillars of the Earth, and I kept hearing this noise in my sitting room. I realized it was coming from my trunk and I figured it was just a lizard because when I came home there was poop everywhere. There were also a bunch of spiderwebs. Ew. But I opened the trunk and didn’t see anything so let it drop shut and thought I’d deal with it today. I opened the trunk today, didn’t see anything at first, and then I did. And then I screamed like a baby. Haha. There was a baby mouse or rat smashed where I dropped the lid! He was almost out before he was killed. I didn’t inspect it much, and closed the lid again. Megan says she’ll take care of it when she comes over tomorrow. My bad.

That’s about it. Singapore next week! Going to finish my long book so I can start some new stuff. Had bad allergies all day and ate oreos and hot chocolate. Loooooove care packages. I’ll try to add pictures in a few. xoxox

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

No more Mr. Brown Eye

this has nothing to do with Rwanda but its pretty hilarious and my dads response was even funnier. here is the article:

I've always had dogs with long, straight tails that conveniently keep their more "unsightly" parts under wraps. But for pets with stubby, curly-cue or non-existent nubs, there's Rear Gear to the rescue.

Rear Gear is a decorative cover for your dog's, cat's (or ferret's) um, anus. There, I said it.

For all of you news junkies out there, I realize that Rear Gear has been on the scene for several months, but it wasn't until this weekend that I witnessed a real-live pooch sporting one (in the disco-ball design) at Dolores Park. I tried to snap a picture, but the little guy tore off at lightning speed as soon as I managed to fish my iPhone out of my bag — I can only imagine his humiliation.

Previously, I only thought of these as a kind of "pet product mythology" — and the perfect gag gift for the prudish friend who almost didn't get a dog because of the pooper-scooper factor. But no. Rear Gear is real. In the word's of the product's founder:

Is your pet feeling left in the dirt because of his/her unsightly rear? I've got them covered... Rear Gear is handmade in Portland, OR and offers a cheerful solution to be-rid your favorite pet's un-manicured back side.

While miniature pants just wouldn't be practical, Rear Gear (available on Etsy) does the trick by dangling from the tail to block certain bits you'd rather not see. (Sure, dogs might wear one to please their owners, but I honestly can't picture a cat putting up with something flapping around on their tails for longer than about two seconds.)

Practicality aside, in addition to the disco ball, fans can choose from an array of designs including a tree-shaped air freshener, fuzzy dice, sheriff's badge, heart, flower, cupcake, #1 ribbon or biohazard-symbol. And for just five bucks a piece, you can get three! You can even customize one for your pet, so there's truly a Rear Gear for everyone.

here is my dad's version of a rear gear on tonka:

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Today Jeff leaves for Peace Corps Albania. He is serving as a community and development organization facilitator. I have had sooo many emotions about him leaving but I think its because I know exactly what he is going thru. It’s a crazy time and I am SO excited and happy for him. I know things will be hard with communication during training but I am confident we will figure it out. Good news is time difference is only an hour! How cool is that?! So far it sounds like he has a pretty good group of people, including a handful of folks from California. I think he is definitely at an advantage with all the knowledge he has from me being here and visiting a PCV abroad. He even met a girl who served in Albania just this past year. She said in the capital there are many amenities to be purchased and lots of foods familiar to home so that sounds promising. And supposedly there are lots of western toilets. I am one of the only volunteers here without a squatty potty. Lucky for me and my broken leg! Anyway, I am so anxious to hear all about his Peace Corps experience. I am so very proud of Jeff and love him very very much. I hope he loves Albania and his time there. ♥


I have wireless internet and plenty of time so here’s another. Plus, I like my new green background. I went to the doctor last Wednesday and he said yea my tibia is fractured. Then he told me where it should hurt, and made me squeal. He also asked if I would teach him English even though his English was good, and I don’t live in the capital. I kept saying no, and he said, “ So you’re telling me you aren’t going to teach me English?” That’s right doc. Glad we got that settled. I was told 4 weeks in a cast, but was able to bargain down to 3 because I don’t want it in Asia with me. I went to another guy and got this big ass Dodger blue cast. He informed me “Blue is for boys.” Umm…okay. They sent me away without crutches and I awkwardly hobbled to the car. But, I was able to walk and wear sandals. Every time I got up the cast slid down and dug into my ankle and hurt badly enough that I wouldn’t be moving around at all. We went back to King Faisal Hospital (featured in some genocide movies) and met with the guy again. He said he could add another cast on the foot and I said okay pink. He said you cant have pink and blue! But I just figured, I already look like an asshole I might as well get the most obnoxious color. He kept saying no and I asked if he had pink the day before, and he said yes but that he liked blue. After much weird arguing about MY cast, he gave me an entire new pink one because thas more logical than trying to add a 2nd bootleg one just on my foot. That’s how I ended up in hot pink. I had to go back and have part of the foot cut because I couldn’t step down at all and could only use crutches. I continued to stay in Kigali until Friday and had a very unsuccessful attempt at a bath. I ended up almost falling with my wet sandals and had to yell for a friend to come help from down the hall. Ridic.

dont worry, this is tonka with her fake injury.

Peace Corps gave me a ride to my site on Firday to grab some stuff and then took me to Kibuye. Bugsy came and met me for a quick snack and my neighbor said he has missed me very much. I am sad I am not there to feed him. ☹ 20 people came to Kibuye last weekend for 2 birthday parties. It was chaos with so many people here trying to sleep and live. Too much. But everyone thinks I should stay here because I’m a gimp and can’t get food on my own. So, I am in Kibuye, right on top of Lake Kivu. I have wireless internet, a kitten with ringworm, and a room full of buzzing mosquitoes. I hate sleeping here, but it is probably better than being alone. I got 4 packages since my arrival, 3 from my stepdad and 1 from Nick and Kari. Got lots of awesome goodies!!! Thanks guys. Mark (on of the guys I'm staying with), started a March Madness pool. It's called 'Maggie is Disabled. And Mean. Bless her heart.' Nice roommates huh?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


here is the video jeff made of my house in case you havent seen it! thanks babe!