Saturday, December 03, 2005

Can I still post, even though I'm not in Uganda anymore?

There is a not-safe-for-work photo (unless you're at a moderately liberal workplace) at the bottom of the post. I'm just warnin' ya!

I've been home for three weeks now, and woohoo hasn't it all just been one crazy thing after another!! Oh, and by "one crazy thing" I mean "sitting around" and by "after another" I mean "almost everyday". (Which, i guess, is actually what "one day after another" means. But then I couldn't have used parallel sentence structure. And we all know how much I like to use that.)

My two big accomplishments since I've been back have been that I've finally signed up to write the GMAT, and I joined a gym. I'm figuring I need to have some goals if I'm going to avoid sitting on my ass all day. This way I have an excuse to actually leave the house, and I have something constructive to do when I'm home. (Although admittedly, the studying is going poorly. I'm procrastinating. I'm scared of math, and also I'm not really sure I want to do an MBA anyway - the GMAT test is required for MBA applications - so mostly I just pretend to study.)

Anyhoo, here's some pictures from Halloween in Kampala that I'd meant to put up ages ago, but hadn't. Above is myself and Heather, as a 'punk rock chick' and a hooker respectively. I think that considering that we went to Owino market (to buy costumes) a mere 5 hours before going out that we did well. Although it has been noted that should i have been plucked out of Kampala and plunked down in large North American city, I would not have looked like I was wearing a costume at all. I'm assuming that means that my costume looked "awesomely authentic" rather "lame-o". You be the judge.

Here's myself, Michaela (aerobics instructor) and Kelly (nurse) at Rouge. (We'd all been at Kyoto, the new japanese restaurant, before our arrival at Rouge.)

Myself, Heather, and Ida ('evil fairy') at about 4 a.m. All things considered, i think we still look mildly presentable. (I should note that I loved my princess-leia-esque hairdo from that night. Are there any actual non-halloween occasions where i can get away with doing that again?)

I don't know what the hell this chick was thinking. From the waist up, she's wearing nothing but body paint, with electrical tape over her nipples. Go ahead and stare. Its damn strange lookin'.

The girl wearing just the bra made out of candy was all 'fake boobs and whorishness', so it made sense, but this chick just sat on a bar stool and chatted with her friend all night.

If Halloween was at a warmer time of year in Toronto, wonder if I'd see things like that more often?

Well, that's probably it for the deanna-actually-in-uganda content. I'm trying to figure out what to do with this blog now that its name is completely nonsensical. Suggestions are welcome.

For now, I think I'll just go ponder the fact that Longo's sells branches for $15/2 branches, and that P. Diddy is now in the Proactiv infomercial. (Those two things have constituted the bulk of my 'reverse culture shock', after all.) What is this world coming to?!!

Friday, November 11, 2005

I'm home!

My tan is fading already.

Get in touch! (So I don't go bonkers with the "I'm 29 and living with my parents in the suburbs"-ness of it all)

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

London, baby

I'm in London, staying with Karisia for a few days, and am currently using the free internet at SOAS, where Karisia goes to school. I've been horrible about the blogging lately; I had a whole halloween-themed entry all made up in my head, with clever photo captions and everything, but the internet in Heather and I's apartment was being really crappy, and it just didn't happen. In sum, though: I finished up at Ogilvy, it went really well; my lawsuit against Windows is inching along, a hearing date should be set this week; I had a fabulous birthday involving the spa at the Sheraton and then three FREE days at Jacana Lodge; I threw a Goodbye to Myself dinner party which 20 lovely people crammed into our apartment to attend; I ran around and got in some tanning time and craft shopping and packing and somehow managed to get a decent night's sleep before my departure from Uganda yesterday morning.

So now I'm in London. I'll be doing shopping and dinners and lunches and brunches with various Uganda and University era friends. And then I'm home on Thursday evening. See y'all then.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Slacking, sort of

It's been a while since I've posted my Epic One Hundredth Post. But don't get me wrong, it's not from a lack of things to write about. It's more as a result of having so much to say, but not being sure how to say it or even if its appropriate to say.

I know, you're expecting something incredibly salacious now. (I'm probably going to disappoint you, then.)

I'm at a new 'job' now. 'Job' gets the 'quotes' because I'm actually volunteering my time, working in exchange for a travel allowance so I can get to and from my new office without incurring any expense. The 'job' is at the local Ogilvy office. I can't believe I'm volunteering in Africa for an advertising agency, when there's orphanages and HIV/AIDS projects and literacy groups etc who need help. In sum: I'm soulless. But you all knew that about people who work in advertising, didn't you?) I've always thought I'd like to move into the advertising side of things, but jobs are a difficult thing to experiment with under normal circumstances.

But it just so happened that a few weeks ago I went out for drinks, had a chat with the bar owner (who is also a friend of mine), and discovered that during the day he co-runs Ogilvy. I told him I was just hanging out till I left Kampala, and asked if they needed any help, and bang, the next morning I had a full-time advertising internship-type-thingy. (I don't like using the word internship - it sounds too much like I'm doing really junior-level work, or that I'm about 7 years behind where I should be. But I'm working in an office for free, so I don't know what else to say. Eventually though, I'm going to want to list this on my resume, so if anyone can think of a better term, please let me know.)

And so: now on to the reason I was just 'hanging around' Kampala, rather than working at my former job as a marketing consultant for the manufacturer. That's the thing that I wasn't sure how to mention, or if I should mention it at all. And while I'm still not sure, I've decided to discuss it here anyways.

(For the sake of clarity, let's call my former employer Windows Inc., and my boss Mr. Rabid.)

During the third week of August, I ceased to be working for Windows. As you may recall, Windows was significantly behind in paying me. Mr Rabid decided that he didn't want to pay me that money, and so cut the contract short. He then engaged in some completely fraudulent accounting, designed to indicate that they did not owe me the outstanding balance of my invoices. According to my friend the HR Manager, Rabid has done this type of thing before, with great success. Most Ugandans don't know what their rights are, and would be too intimidated to fight even if they did. So, Rabid repeatedly does this, and he wins, and he likes it. Except that I do know what my rights are, and I'm not intimidated by the idea of fighting for them. So I've hired a lawyer and I'm suing Windows Inc. It's been a very upsetting experience. For one thing, I worked hard and went to work everyday for three months, and I'm perhaps never going to be compensated for that. Also, it's just stressful to feel like a victim, and to be engaged in a lawsuit. I've not enjoyed this, and it has really cast a pall on the last couple months.

That being said, I'm really enjoying my time at Ogilvy. It's a much more positive environment - the people are friendly, the work is interesting, and people seem generally interested in having their co-workers or their staff succeed. After the negative environment at Windows, it's a real breath of fresh air.

And while this new 'job' has made me so much more positive about my last while in Uganda, it's also made me start to feel sort of upset about my imminent departure. For the last few months at Windows, I was really feeling anxious to leave - to leave the company, and to leave the country. Now, despite the fact that most of my friends have left Uganda over the last couple of months, I'm feeling happy again and I'm feeling prematurely sad about my departure. I may not have as many friends here as I used to, but the ones that are left are people that I really appreciate and enjoy having in my life. It's hot and sunny here all the time, I have a lot of disposable income in this economy, the lifestyle here is very social and relaxed. I'm going to be very sad to be leaving here in a few weeks, and I'm having trouble seeing anything other than Cold, Unemployment, and Suburban / Parental Living in my post-November 10th future.

Ugh, I didn't mean for this to end on such a depressing note. I'm having fun and I'm sad to leave, which means that this is really the best time to go. For so long, I didn't consider life in Uganda to be 'real life'. Now that I'm leaving it though, I've realized that it really was (is) - real jobs, real friends, real life. And after two years, that's hard to leave.

Monday, September 26, 2005

A Special Ye Olde Poste of DeannaInUganda

This is Post #100 on this here blog, a Milestone Of Sorts, I suppose. Also, i'm going to finally get some Ye Olde Photoes up, since i haven't posted photos in ages. And so, our tale begins like this…

A long long time ago, way back in April, in a land far far away, Karin and Toby and I journeyed through the land of Malawi. (That’s the long skinny country on the right hand side of the Africa map, by the way.) Most of these photos were taken during the epic adventure back to Lilongwe, mostly during the several hours I waited on the side of the road in some random village, waiting for the bus to either be repaired, or for a new bus to come along:

What a bunch of characters!
Check out those kids!
The adorablest Malawian baby & A kid selling peanuts on the side of the road

A few days before, the three of us kayaked to this island in the middle of Lake Malawi:
kayaked here for snorkelling!
Also, fyi, I’ve personally had enough of the ‘ye olde storye’ trope, so no more of that.

And then a month or so ago, I drunkenly attended the Royal Ascot Goat Races (it was open bar - champagne w/strawberries for all!) Most of my photos from the second half of the day ended up kinda blurry, so here's the early afternoon:

This is Karisia (the only person i know who can talk while a photo is snapped and still manage to look great, moi, and Katie, at the beginning of the day. (I want so badly to reach into this photo and yank that pink dress up.)
Karisia, me, Katie at the Goat Races
Later in the day, people got a bit more fatigued. . Ahem, heather and ida.

And then, more recently, I went on a fabulouso trip with my parents. They arrived in Kampala late at night a couple of weeks ago. After a day checking out Kampala (I actually got my parents to go through the chaos of Owino Market), we then made the 12 hour drive out to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, in the southwest of Uganda. While they went gorilla trekking, I went on a village walk:

Selling the tea harvest (Tea is the big crop down there.)
A couple of observers at the 'Medicine Man' stop on the tour.
A woman carrying a basket and a baby.

After heading north from Bwindi towards Queen Elizabeth Park for a night at Jacana Safari Lodge, (thiswas one of the incredible sights along the way) we headed back to Kampala for a flight out to Tanzania’s Killimanjaro International Airport. Landing at Killi, we were whisked off on an absolutely incredible safari through Lake Manyara National Park, Serengeti National Park, and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area.
Zebras in the Ngorongoro Crater

The highlight of the safari came on our last day, in the Ngorongoro Crater. We'd stopped to check out a small group of lions lazing about 50 meters from the road. Gradually, each lion got up, walking in different directions. Slowly we realised that lions were approaching from all directions.
Holy crap you're a lion, get away from me! (I must say, when this big fella camped out beside the car and started chewing on the bumper, i got a little scared. Lions can jump through the open roofs of Landrovers, right?)

They circled in, trapping a hippo in a small ditch. You can be sure that later that night, that hippo was done like dinner.
That hippo's gonna get it for sure

And Yet! More! Animals!
And a Tree.
And Masai tribesmen.
And a very colourful bird.

In addition to the amazing wildlife, we also thoroughly enjoyed the places we stayed. Let me tell you, when The Parents are footing the bill, the accomodation moves up a notch. Kusini Camp, the 'luxury tented camp' in the remote south of the Serengeti was "somethin' else", as the old folks say. In the middle of nowhere, isolated from the other hotels and human activity, the drab green tents feature absolute luxury inside and elephants giving birth (or being killed, hard to say) outside. Quite somethin.

Then off we were to Zanzibar. We wandered around Stone Town for a couple days, where i took a bazillion pictures of the awesome carved Zanzibari doors. Then off for a few days on the beach! My mom likes the beach!:
Mom likes beaches (My dad likes beaches too, but from more of a distance.)

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

i re-goat you re-goat we all re-goat

I went to the Royal Ascot Goat Races again. I've been here long enough that I've been to annual events twice. Krazee. I haven't had time to upload my own photos or to formulate opinions distinct from last year's opinions (click the post title to read last year's entry), so why don't you just read what the folks over at Kampala Live have to say. (That's the website I guest-edited a few weeks back.)

I must admit, this entry is a bit of 'filler'. I haven't been in much of a blogging mood lately - mainly because I just don't have a whole lot to say. Don't have much to say now, either. However, I feel it is important to give my Loyal Readers an update on my health: I have moved on from Evil African Illnesses, and on to self-inflicted health issues. I consider this to be a significant improvement! I've burned my finger on the oven, i've walked my right arm and chest-area in the direction of someone who was holding a very full kettle of boiling water, and I've boxing lesson-ed my way into a couple of scabby, bruise-y knuckles. My hand-and-arm modelling career is over for sure, but other than that, every thing will be a-ok.

Oh yes, I'm taking boxing lessons. Three of my friends, all working with Right to Play, had started taking lessons at the ghetto fabulous 'National Boxing Federation' and talked about what a great workout it was and how satisfying it felt, and convinced me to join them. I almost crapped out when I found out that they all share one pair of boxing gloves - like I mean the entire boxing federation shares one pair. So even though it is absolutely revolting to stick your hands inside gloves that are completely soaked with someone else's sweat, it seems a bit inappropriate to complain about it, when the country's national boxing champion thinks it's fine. (Purell Purell Purell)

Alright, also: my parents are coming to uganda this saturday! I've been stressing out about booking all of our activities, since everything needs to be paid for in cash, and ATMs have those dang daily withdrawal limits. (I don't do any of my banking locally; it's complicated.) But as long as that gets resolved, and my parents can make peace with the bumpy roads and often only superficially competent restaurant service and enforced flexibility (Eater:"But! I ordered 'blah blah blah' This isn't 'blah blah blah'" Waiter:"Oh, we call that blah blah blah" "But that's not what it is" "But we call it that" "Fine [sigh/shrug/eyeroll choice]") then I think everything will be okay!

I guess, when i actually sit my fingers down on top of a keyboard, I magically do have things to write about. Who knew?