Thursday, February 16, 2012

Valentine Soba

So I've a new laptop! Well, sort of. One of the newer friends I made here in Kigali (she's the one from Singapore) is moving on Saturday, and she had an old laptop lying around. She let me pay about $100 for the laptop, and I am so grateful for it. Sure, it's slow, but with The Man on email and Skype, he's helping me pare out some programs and defrag the thing so I have more space and speed. I'm hopeful. Oh, and did I mention that on the keys are Thai characters? Wonderful!

Why is it that as soon as I make friends I like here, they are all halfway out the door from Rwanda? It seems common right now that I meet expats I like and they all say "Oh, but I've only a month left here." It's saddening, and a bit frustrating, I'll admit.

I finished a book by Victor Frankl on Monday, "Man's Search for Meaning". It's not a light-hearted book, per se, and there's a lot of sad descriptions of the concentration camps in the Holocaust, but it surely is inspirational. And has helped lighten up for me a certain perception I think I need to rekindle while I'm away from home. I think everyone should read that book.

Now I'm reading a book about sex, love, and lust. My interests are vast.

Valentine's Day was nice. The Man sang for me on Skype during our daily Skype chat. He has a great voice, if you didn't know. I beamed and bobbed while he serenaded me with a bit of The Carpenters. I hope he gets the very expensive Fedex package I sent to him last week soon!

Work was work. My students cooed to me, "Happy Valentine's Day! Where is your lover?" And I'd always say, "He's in the US, but we talked today fortunately." Some students even texted me a Happy Valentine's Day; some offered their brothers to me just in case; some asked me to help them find a man worth their time. I didn't think this holiday was celebrated outside of the US? Well, apparently not, but it's growing here I guess.

It looks like I might start teaching SATs and GREs to Rwandan students at another NGO for my moodlighting gig sometime in the future. I won't be sleeping very much, but hey! Why not?

Denise and I opted to go for a romantic dinner with ourselves at a restaurant near home called Sakae. They had a special where ladies got free wine. Well, we didn't need much persuasion on that part, so we met at the restaurant for a special evening of tasty food and nice atmosphere. Sakae is a beautiful restauarant that looks like a huge glass-walled bungalow with Japanese lanterns dangling from the wooden and bamboo ceiling. I have pictures somewhere...

Here I am. An American woman with a woman from The Bahamas, sitting in a Japanese restaurant that is owned by a Korean, in Rwanda. If ever you've wondered what globalization is, look no further.

And we feasted! Spicy tuna sushi that tasted lovely, and soba noodles that were well done and flavorful. And tasty red wine, nice and dry. And did I mention that the waiters are speedy, competent, attentive, and really the best waiters I've had since at least my landing in Africa? They fled, they ran, they smiled! Our waiter even told Denise he was her "Doctor" and he would take care of her. Rawr!

And we gleefully waddled out of the restaurant with our wallets much lighter but our stomachs much heavier. Valentine's Dinner was a success!

Especially compared to yesterday. We went to Shokola Lite for some chicken, and let me tell you....slow service, dry food, and the food took over an hour to be delivered. We were getting cranky waiting so long for the food....

It's almost Friday!

Something that is so true about being an expat that I didn't really understand until now is that...traveling isn't really that fun when you're doing it for work. Here I am in AFRICA! My dream-come-true! And I'm homesick! I wake up in the morning around 5am to get ready and go to work all day. I come home exhausted to eat dinner and space out at the laptop screen. I don't travel or sight-see much because I'm just living my normal life, and running around to get my errands done. There's something magical about a place when you're not anchored down to it for work. Things are brighter in color, more exciting, and fun! Here right now....I just look forward to getting home and sitting with my expat roommates to talk about what we wish we could change. Perhaps Africa should have been a dream vacation destination? I'm still considering. I have a few weeks left to decide if this is a place I want to settle for a while. More on that as soon as I know...

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