Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Party at 10th Street!

OK, so I know it has been FOREVER since I have posted but I have been pretty busy. How, do you ask have I been busy where there isn't even a Wal Mart?? Well I'm not too sure but I have been. Since my last post so many things have happened. for Valentines Day we went to the Royal Hotel for dessert because we cooked at home and listened to the band there. They were so good, it sparked an idea for a party and there is more to come on that subject. Dan got me some very pretty Flowers and let me order some new golf shoes for my present. The next week was like Christmas! We got all 19 items we shipped from Birmingham. I still have not unpacked it all, but we were SO excited. There was all kinds of food from Sam's, Wii accessories, books, games, more classroom stuff, house decor, a fry daddy, etc. Tilley was happy because the rest of her toys came and new treats. We also tried Ethiopian food for the first time and it was SO good!That weekend in honor of the new fry daddy, we fried anything we could think of. We started out with cheese sticks, after that we fried some pickles, third for the main course we had fresh fish (we paid WAY too much for it! We paid $3.00 a fish and then were informed by Jones the driver that they sell 2 of the fish for 50 Liberian Dollars which is less than 1 U.S Dollar. Sorry Mr. Fish man you will not get anymore of our business) fresh shrimp, and hush puppies. Dan, Alan and I had a great meal and all ate WAY too much but it was so worth it. The next weekend the Ricks girls came for a visit. Friday night was girls night. Cora, Ann Elizabeth, Holly, Tiffany, and I went to sushi at the Royal (the best in Liberia) and then went to a party where we were joined by Mounia. The next morning came too early and Mounia and I went for our golf lesson. After Mounia and I went for our golf lesson we picked up the Ricks girls, ate lunch with the boys then went to play Guitar Hero at Mounia's house. That night we cooked out and had some yummy hamburgers. During that week I took my class on a field trip to the Coke bottling factory and to the Royal for lunch. It was a very neat trip and all of my kids had a great time. They enjoyed seeing how how their favorite beverages are bottled. Now for the party! We through a huge party for the employees at Dan's company. Being the party planner that I love to be I was SO in my element. We had a band and tons of food and of course ice cream for dessert! We danced all night and even though it was so flippin' hot. It did end up being a party for Dan's company but it did start out as a birthday party for Alan and me and because of this my great husband got up on stage and sang happy birthday to me. He is the best and I love him so much even though he moved me to Africa :) This past Friday since it was the Friday before Spring Break we took the whole school to Kenedja Resort to swim for the day. They all loved it and had a great time playing in the pool. That is all for now will try to blog about Italy when we get back!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Thank You Liberian Armed Forces Day!!

Today has been a great day! It is Thursday and I got up and went to my golf lesson at 8:00 then came home took a shower and met Dan for lunch at Mamba Point Hotel where I had a GREAT Hawaiian pizza. After that I came back home I stated watching Mamma Mia and fell asleep. Why do you ask did I get to do all this on a work day???? Well today is a national holiday, it is Liberian Armed Forces Day and has been very nice. The school I teach at takes all Liberian Holidays but not the U.S. ones so I will be jealous on Monday when all of my friends in the U.S get Presidents Day off.

Since my last post we have had lots of happenings. On the Saturday of my last post we went to the Garden which is a really great Chinese food restaurant, and had dinner for Dan's birthday. We had a great time and after went to the casino. The next day we got up and drove 2 hours to Robertsport. Robertsport is a clean beach where several of the guys that Dan works with love to serf. We stayed pretty much the whole day just relaxing and having a good time with everyone.

One new development is that I have stated taking golf lessons. I have only had 3 but I think I am really going to like golf and my teacher thinks I am going to be pretty good. Dan says that is his job but I have already been asked by another player to play with her so I feel pretty proud of myself. Saturday I have my fourth lesson and really enjoy it so I am looking forward to it.

For those of you wanting a Tilley report she is adjusting well. I think she is even more spoiled here than in the States. She rides everyday to school with me and then her favorite driver Jones brings her home or takes her with him to where ever he has to go that day. She goes CRAZY when he pulls up in the yard and if she is outside when he leaves she tries to jump in the car with him. Aramedia the maid also spoils her during the day and the guards around the compound call her the princess of 10th Street. So have no fear she is doing well and is even more spoiled.

This past weekend we found a new fun hang out place. It is called Golden Beach and so wonderful. It is a restaurant about 8 blocks from our house. It has a regular restaurant and then tables right on the beach. You can sit, order food, walk down to the water, or buy some local trinkets from the vendors right on the beach. It is a very nice escape from the normal pace of Liberia.

My new job is going well. I am already planning a field trip the Coca Cola Bottling plant here and am very excited about it. My kids are great and I think are adjusting to me well. We work hard but also get some play time so it all works out. Tomorrow is our Valentines party and am very excited about all the fun we are going to have. We have made all kinds of Valentine projects and even made heart antennas for them to wear at the party.

Well Sunday is Valentines day and I have no idea what to get Dan. I got him a Tennis racket for his birthday but there are only so many sporting goods you can buy a person. So we will see what in the world I come up with.

My last little tid bit of news is that we have made Spring Break plans. Yesterday Dan bought our plane tickets to Rome Italy. We will stay 3 days in Florance and then 3 days in Rome. I am so excited and can't wait to go!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Flip Flops in January

Well I have officially completed week 3 in Liberia! I have not had a melt down yet and I found a clean place where I can get a pedicure so all is good. We spend most of our time at work and then I come home and cook for my 3 husbands but we do get to have some fun. Last Saturday after the morning grocery store trip with Tiffany and Sarah and lunch at the Mamba Point Hotel with the boys which is now our Saturday thing. I really enjoy getting to eat lunch with Dan so it works for me. After lunch Tiffany, Sarah, Elliston, and Cora went to Kendeja which is a resort owned by Bob Johnson who also owns Black Entertainment Television (BET). It was like stepping outside of Liberia and into the U.S.A. It had a great pool and while at the pool you had a lovely view of the ocean. It is like a little piece of Liberian heaven. You can order food and drinks and have them brought to your table which is around the pool and they have lounge chairs also to lay in. After that we had grilled chicken wings at home and Paul had invited some of his workers over to join us. They brought Magic Sing Karaoke which turned out to be SO much fun! All you have to do is plug it in and is has everything you need in the microphone. We sang and had a great time. We also did some Rock Band and were pretty good! On Sunday we had our usual breakfast and are trying to find the perfect sausage seasoning recipe. We tried one but it just wasn't right. We can get ground pork here but have to find the right blend of spices. With our attempt we did have some VERY good homemade biscuits and sausage gravy. Monday started the work week and the beginning of after school activities. I have started teaching a ballroom dancing class to 3rd-9th graders. It is a lot of fun and a little break to have some fun with the kids. On Thursday after school I went with Cora (A girl from Tennessee who teaches Social Studies and is one of my new friends) to get a pedicure and it was wonderful! You can get your toes done with OPI nail polish and order an adult beverage. What a great way to relax after a crazy day at school. That night we went to The Royal Hotel for dinner and had some FABULOUS sushi. Friday was Dan's birthday and I made him a cheesecake. it was pretty good but my pan was so big and I put too much butter in the crust so it was kind of Liberian style because it was a work in progress. We went to eat a Sage which is a great outdoor restaurant and had dinner. I got Dan 2 movies from the little guy in front of the grocery store they are great. You can buy one disc with about 10 to 15 movies on it. I got 2 discs and they had Avitar, Blind Side, The Princess and the Frog, Invictius, Where the Wild Things Are, and Halloween 2. It is a great selection. Tonight we are going to The Garden for Chinese Food which is SO good. I did get him something for tonight which I think he will like, we will have to see. Today we have 2 visitors staying in the compound. They are 2 American teachers who are here doing work at a school. They are teaching here for a year at the Ricks School. One is from Birmingham and the other from Tampa. They have come to stay for the weekend and will join us for dinner. We have spent the day grocery shopping, eating lunch at Mamba Point, and are watching the Proposal. All in all it has been a great week and great day. Tomorrow we are going to Robertsport to the beach and can't wait!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

We Made it!

OK, so I know I have not written in a while but I have been pretty busy getting settled and I started my new job, but I will try to update once a week. We arrived on Friday very tired but were glad to see all of our compound mates hanging out and grilling dinner when we arrived. On Saturday Dan and I went to the school and worked on my classroom. Of course I brought cute stuff to decorate and make my room cute and so far it is looking pretty dang cute if I do say so myself. Sunday was spent putting clothes away and relaxing because not only did I have a little jet lag but a sinus infection on top of that so it was nice to just stay around the house. I will say my favorite thing about Sunday is breakfast. Allen, Dan, and Paul cook and it is pretty good for what we find. I did contribute this Sunday by making pigs in a blanket. They were pretty good considering the pigs came out of a can. I just fried them in butter (because butter always makes everything better) and Allen made homemade biscuit dough to wrap around them. We make due with what we have and so far it has been OK but I know we will have some interesting meals :). Monday kicked off my first day at school and I LOVE my kids. They are so great and I really haven't had many behavior problems which by teacher standards is pretty awesome. Every night after work I cook supper for Dan and my 2 other husbands (Allen and Paul) and then we lounge for a little while and go to bed so I don't get much done during the week and most has to be done on Saturday. So today Tiffany and I went to the grocery store and then met the boys for lunch at Mamba Point Hotel which has really really good pizza. I had the Hawaiian which was really good. Sarah, Troy's wife joined us for lunch and we then went to the outdoor market called Waterside Market to get Sarah's presents for tonight's dirty Santa party. I think it is going to be really fun because we have a $10.00 limit and the items HAVE to be purchased here so there is no telling what we will have. I have found a hand made basket and a shelf that hangs on the wall that was hand made out of bamboo. There is no telling what the others will bring but I know a good time will be had by all. I am excited also because one of my new co-workers is coming tonight to join us and it will be fun to include her and get to know her better. I know it is really cold in Alabama and I guess pretty much everywhere in Te U.S. but let me tell you it is HOT here. You sweat a lot and they say I will get use to the heat because it is always hot here but I do have my doubts, I guess we will see. I will give a Tilley update, she is adjusting pretty well and LOVES our driver Jones. He takes here with him when ever he can. Last night when we got into bed we could smell his aftershave on her. I told Dan it smelt like Jones was in bed with us and we both laughed. She is also making friends with the 2 other dogs that Rick and Tiffany have named Milo and Arby. She struts around and even though they are bigger she still bosses them around. Well I better get going and wrap my presents for tonight. Hope all is well with everyone.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

I Have a Job!

Well I am a very happy person, because I am now an official employee of the American International School Of Monrovia. I got the call today from Mr. Eubank the schools Principal and am SO EXCITED! I will teach a 2nd/3rd grade combination class. This will be a little new because I usually work in someone else's classroom and now I will have one of my own. This makes my move a little easier because I know I will have one thing to keep me busy for the time we spend in Liberia. I am counting down the the time until Dan comes home and we only have 12 days!!! It will be a Merry Christmas with him home :)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Everyone in Monrovia wants to be my friend

OK so I know it has been FOREVER since I have last posted but I thought It was kinda weird me posting information about a place I have never visited before. That has all changed so I am now officially able to give you my point of view on the place where Dan and I will be spending the next two years. First of all it is HOT all the time. I went from 53 degree weather to having my clothes hang on me in the airport because I was sweating so much. I then found out that the carry on bag I thought would be waiting for me at the bottom of the stairs as the nice little (lying) Brussels Air guy told me as he stopped me while boarding my flight was NOT there (don't give up your carry on baggage to a Brussels Air employee it will take 4 days to get it). So After I fill out my lost baggage report and tried to explain what a crock pot was (yes I had one in my carry on) I FINALLY got to see Dan. I was SO excited!!!! Almost as excited as the dude loading my bags into to car was with the $5.00 tip that Dan gave him. It took about an hour to make it to our apartment and we were finally home. The car ride was pretty uneventful except for the lack of speed limit signs, traffic lights, or any type of road signage at all. Kinda scary when there are ginormous pot holes in the road but John the driver got us home safe and sound.

On Tuesday I met our maid Armameta (I know that is not spelled correctly) at 7:30 AM which was actually fine because I couldn't go back to sleep after Dan left at 6:15. I was unpacking some stuff when she rang the door bell and she was so excited to see me even though we have a slight language barrier but with hand gestures we made it through the week. She soon became my hero because she killed the 6 inch long roach crawling on the wall which made us fast friends. After I had everything put away Dan called and said we would meet for lunch at a hotel with Troy, Sara, and Elliston (their baby) who also live in our compound. I had not met her the night before but had seen Rick and Tiffany who I had met before Dan left for Liberia and Allan and Paul the guys that Dan eats supper with every night (I call them my other husbands). So anyway I went to lunch with Dan and had pizza which was actually very good and a Coke Light which is like a Diet Coke but is just not the same I guess I will make due. After lunch Jones (my favorite driver) took Sara, Elliston and I to the supermarket (not to be confused with the market were I went the next day) and I bought stuff to cook all week for supper. The thing about Liberia is that the only way to pay is cash which is good most of the time because if you don't have the cash I guess you don't need it. The bad thing is you have to have enough cash to go to the grocery store because it is SO expensive. Not like Publix expensive I am talking $3.00 for a can of cream of mushroom soup and $6.00 for a pint of Ben and Jerry's. You can get a whole chicken for $2.41 but you need to make sure you get the chicken from Brazil or you end up with some surprises (we will get to that later). So we got our groceries and left the store and as we were walking to the car at least 5 people asked me to buy bootleg movies, 6 asked me to buy a map of Monrovia and 2 people asked me to buy some jewelry I was very good and turned them all down it was actually very overwhelming. Once we got back to the apartment Tiffany needed to go to a different grocery store so I went there with her. You have to go to several to get everything you need most of the time usually if one doesn't have it another will. The only thing I couldn't find was potatoes but did find them at a road side stand and they were $100 Liberian Dollars which is about $1.30 in U.S. which I thought was pretty good but Jones said they charged me too much because of the color of my skin. After that I got home and cooked meat loaf for all three of my husbands (Dan, Paul and Allen) and went to bed. The funny thing about all of my traveling is that I really have not had any jet lag. I guess because I was so tired after traveling for 24 hours that when I finally got to sleep by body just adapted.

On Wednesday I started my day with a job interview at The American International School of Monrovia (AISM). It went pretty well and I hope to get a job there so I do not go CRAZY while I am there for 2 years. The school has 45 students K-9th grade and there are 15 different nationalities. I really hope they hire me but the only down side is the flip flop restriction. Yep you heard me I will not be allowed to wear flip flops which are my favorite form of food wear. I guess I can handle it by finding alternative forms of footwear. After the interview Tiffany (my BFF in Liberia) and I went to 2 local out door type markets. They are literally Wal Mart thrown up on the streets. You can get ANY THING pretty much from soap (which I don't know really work because of the body Oder issues that I encountered, yep vomit in my mouth) to food and pots and pans. Every where we walked we were always asked by the locals to what our name was and if we would be there friend. I will probably never remember any of their names but since there are only 50 white people in Monrovia they will probably know who I am. The only thing I did not enjoy about my day was the pineapple debacle. I saw a woman with the BIGGEST pineapple I have ever seen in my life yep you guessed it on her head. I stopped and asked her how much. She said 6 so I thought $6.00 U.S. So I said $4.00 she said OK little did I know she meant 400 LD which is around $6.00 U.S I gave her a 5 dollar bill and waited for my change. She wanted more money because she thought she was getting $6.00 or 400 LD. My driver told her to give me my change and she said "no" and that she wanted more money. Then my driver yelled at her and told her to either give me money back or the pineapple. She then said "NO, I am not rich!" Then my driver yelled at her again in English but I so totally did not understand it. Then all the people on the street got involved and told her to give me my money back. All I wanted to do is get my pineapple and quickly get in the car because I was so embarrassed! Finally I gave her one more dollar and she gave me my pineapple I thought I was going to DIE. My driver was so mad when we got in the car he said that they charge me too much because of my skin and she should know better because I can get it for 200 LD down the street which is only about $3.00 U.S. Which we did find when we went to Rally Time Market. There I also tired my first monkey eyeball which is a fruit that is like an orange you have to peal off the top and pop the fruit in your mouth to suck all the juice out.
On Thursday I went with Tiffany to play Mahjong with a group of ladies I had a great time meeting new people and making new friends. After that wen went to track down a quilt maker and finally got there and I ordered a hand made quilt.

On Friday I went back to AISM to see the United Nations Day Program that the kids put on and met some parents which was fun. I then went to The Garden which was a Chinese food restaurant for the U.S. Embassy ladies lunch. I had a good time and met more people which was great! I know now that I will have people to hang with while I am there. That night I went to eat with my 3 husbands and had a good time with them.

On Saturday we watched the Alabama game and the Auburn game and had a Liberian tailgate which was a lot of fun. We had good food and fun. Sunday was a fun day. We went to Thinkers beach and met Princess the monkey who LOVED sweets. She would do any thing for candy. We sat on the patio and looked at the water and just hung out with Allen, Rick, and Tiffany. When we got back I packed my bags and then left for the airport. I will not say that there were no tears shed because I was really sad to leave Dan.

Well the good news is Dan will be home on December 21st for Christmas, and then we leave to go back on December 31st. Well I better go! Hope all is well with y'all!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Movin on Up

Well Dan is all settled in his new apartment, and no longer gets the luxury of staying in a hotel and not having to do any domestic duties. He now lives in a three bedroom two and two half bathroom apartment with other Americans in the building. It is "furnished" but needs a lot of work. There are no decorations whatsoever and at first no cups or bowls which is way weird to me. I guess they didn't think that we would need anything that would hold liquid other than a pot. He has shopped and found somethings but I have had a very good time shopping for new "Africa" stuff. After two weeks in his apartment he now has a maid. He pays her $14.00 a week to clean, cook, and do laundry two days a week the other days she works for other people in the building. She has cooked for him some but he says mine is much better (he knows better than to say different) the dishes are pretty basic but she does put a whole chicken including the bones in all of her chicken dishes which is pretty different for him. Most nights he eats with two other guys and they rotate out providing meals for each other. Dan definitely enjoys that he doesn't have to cook and still gets a pretty good meal.

On a different note, I am very excited that I get to make a pre-trip to see what Monrovia is like. I leave in the middle of October and stay a week. I have made some contact with The American International School in Monrovia and hope to get a job teaching while I am there. I am hoping to meet with the director while I am there for my week. Dan did send me some pics the apartment so I thought I would show them to y'all. All the floors are tile and all the walls are made out of cement. It will be very interesting hanging pictures on the walls.