Jan 022014

It’s been a long time since I last wrote, and I’m sorry I haven’t been very good at keeping this blog up to date!  Work has been pretty hectic with a lot of changes in the last 6 months and sometimes I’m so tired after my 1 hour commute home that the last thing I want to do is pop open my laptop.  We all get in these funks, and I hope to be better about it this year.

So, let’s recap 2013…

Countries visited: US, Rwanda, Ghana, Zambia, Uganda, Tanzania, South Africa (most of these for work)

Have taught contemporary jazz and hip hop dance classes since May (!).

Feel comfortable driving stick shift now on the opposite side of the car and road, though I still hate steep hills.

Have really embraced making homemade ice cream and baking treats in my free time.

After the initial culture shock of working in Africa, I finally feel adjusted at work will have relaunched websites for 17 countries by next week.

2014 is going to be nuts!  I always like reflecting at New Years and setting time aside to think about what I’d like to do (and then feel bad about how I don’t really accomplish a lot of what I set out to do every year).  So here’s my stab at a list of goals for 2014, please feel free to hold me accountable!

1. I haven’t been great about exercising outside of the dance classes I teach and I really feel like it’s such a huge part of how good I feel on a daily basis.  So outside of teaching twice a week, I’d like to get in a workout at least two other times a week, whether it’s on the treadmill, using my Yogaglo subscription (also feeling guilty about that one), or a walk in Karura Forest.

2. We haven’t been able to get out of Nairobi much on the weekends, since my hip hop class was every Saturday afternoon.  Now that I’ve moved it to Wednesday nights, we would like to get out and enjoy the outdoors and beautiful Kenya at least once a month, hopefully camping.  On the list: Aberdares, Naivasha, Nakuru, Mt. Kenya, Amboseli.

3. Get back into music.  I used to be obsessed with music and often went to concerts at least once a week.  Chicago and New York were great for fostering that.  Now I feel completely out of touch with new music.  Where did that go?  There are lot of things in my life that I feel are ‘gone’ that I attribute to growing old, but I kind of hate old age as an excuse for anything.  Because it’s really not.  I’m hoping my dance classes will also help inspire me to find good music.

4. Draw at least once a week.  Don’t laugh, but this year I downloaded a book called ‘Learn to Draw in 30 Days’ since I’ve always had a hidden desire to be an artist.  I’m not very good, but hey, it’s a start!  And I think it’s really important to infuse more creativity in your life.  If I could do my life over again, I think I would have liked to be in the design field.  It’s something I don’t really have and so am always drawn to it.

5. Get over it.  Living in Africa that is.  This year has been a really tough adjustment and you don’t realize how much you take for granted in the States.  Simple things that being able to walk around or being able to buy whatever is on that recipe in the supermarket that day.  I think every week brings on an existential crisis of what am I doing with my life?  Some of that is because you have some more free time (you won’t believe how much time is freed up by having bad TV) to think and be bored.  In the US there are plenty of distractions.  This year, if I get into one of those funks, I want to be more proactive instead of just wallowing in it.

6. Last but not least, write at least once a week here.

Let’s do this!


 January 2, 2014  Posted by at 1:06 pm Kenya, Nairobi Tagged with: , , , , , ,  No Responses »
Feb 162013

Last weekend was Chinese New Year’s – 新年快樂!I was lucky enough to be invited over to a new friend’s house to be a part of their Chinese feast.  It was a mixed crowd, but mainly Americans in their young 20s (I was the old one there!).  There are limited Chinese groceries here so you definitely have to improvise a bit.   I’ve been told the Chinese grocery store is in a place called China Center (of course) but I haven’t made it there yet.

For dinner, we had dumplings (pork/cabbage and vegetarian), fried rice, cucumber salad, sweet dessert dumplings, and then randomly a homemade nectarine/pear pie for dessert.  I made dumplings often enough in the States that we always usually have frozen dumplings on hand for a quick meal or snack.  But there are always dumpling wrappers you can buy in the store.  Not so much here.  So we  had to make our own dumpling wrappers, which is a pretty labor intensive job.  The host didn’t have a rolling pin, so I brought mine but everyone else helping had to use drinking glasses to roll out the dough!  I think also there was too much water in the dough and the wrappers ended up being really soft and falling apart when we boiled the dumplings. =)  But the ones that we fried in the pan turned out great and delicious!  It’s usually 3 parts flour to 1 part water for the dough, but I think the flour is different here, or blame it on the altitude, it just turned out differently.  It’s funny because I’m sure every Chinese family makes their dumplings a different way so the filling was definitely different than how I usually make them.  The little things you notice.  But definitely still yummy all the same!

Rolling out a ton of dumpling wrappers!

Rolling out a ton of dumpling wrappers!

Boiling homemade dumplings

Boiling homemade dumplings

Unfortunately, Mike was traveling in Mozambique for work so he couldn’t join.  But he was hanging out at the beach all weekend without me so don’t be too sad for him. =)  It was so nice to have a little bit of my annual tradition here in Nairobi and maybe next year Mike and I will be hosting our own group of friends.

My hosts for Chinese New Year

My hosts for Chinese New Year

 February 16, 2013  Posted by at 4:23 pm Food, Kenya, Nairobi Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  No Responses »