Thursday, August 30, 2007

Small victories

This is completely random, but I’ve been so chuffed with my personal filing system of late. Hear me out- I’ve earned a reputation for my terrible capacity for short-term memory. It seems countless times in a day that I will reach my destination, & forget why the heck I wanted to go there in the first place. And the usual things, such as misplacing my keys, forgetting one item for my run to the courts- either a sports bra, socks, or my contact lenses- it’s always something.

So this week I told myself that there were two documents I needed to find in my house. One is an email sent from a colleague that had a whole bunch of brilliant information on Universities. The second is a magazine that has an article on this mystical Zambian lake (that I’m planning to find on a road trip next month). And surprise- I’m two for two! I found both pieces of information in the first places I looked. I laughed so hard when I read the date on the email- October 2005.

I’m a machine!! At long last, proof that there is method to my madness.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Asleep at the wheel

My posts regarding my trip home are fairly rushed. I’d like to post once more, a few more memories of our (mine & Alvin’s) trip to my motherland.

We happily linked up with our Zambian friend Kelvin (who has lived in Canada for the past year). There was much to catch up on, & plenty of basketball to play!

I took a lesson from my dear Gran on how to make her veranike. I thought I had mastered the perogy-making methods on my Lusaka countertops…however, Gran provided me with some short-cuts & some good ideas! It’s always fun spending time in the kitchen with Gran though she must never have cooked with measuring cups…

The all-American game of baseball…we had a great time with my folks & the Haley’s at Edmonton’s Cracker Cats game. Astoundingly, they won (though I must admit we didn’t stay until the end of the game…I was ready to go after the 7th- or is it 9th? inning stretch)*giggling*.

Folk Fest, as always, is a highlight of Edmonton summers. Family had come up from Seattle & I got to catch up with my friends, & some of “Tom’s” friends. I think it may have been folk overload for Alvin though…in fact, four days has become too much for me!

This guy had us in stitches...he must've been Scottish in a past life. You know how they always joke about what's under the kilt...YIPE!

Four strong in the beer tent*wicked smile*

This was a great night. Like old days, surrounded by good friends, too much booze, & too much laughter. I'd like to point out two things in this photo: first, that tantalizing plate of nachos (someone was quick to get the photo because they didn't last minutes). Second, those wine glasses. Wine tasted better from that glass...I wonder if I could find something similar in Zed...

Again, it was so great to be surrounded by so many loving people! I was hoping to catch up with the Ottawa clan in September, but unfortunately I will not attend training in Ottawa this fall. I suppose the next trip will be equally as busy*smile*. Please don’t be offended if you didn’t make my blogspot…I kicked myself on several different occasions for having left my camera at home. Plenty of memories are residing safely upstairs though- so thanks to everyone once more.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Where to start?

Well, I certainly have a lot to say…& have been delaying this post perhaps because I don’t know how to include all that I need to say. Please be patient while reading this post that will undoubtedly become disjointed.

I guess I’ll start where I am. It’s about 10:30 pm, I’m fresh out of the bath & typing away on my new laptop. Yes, a reality that should encourage me to write more…but I haven’t opened it since landing back in Lusaka Sunday afternoon. (Part of the reason for that could be a bizarre drive to finish reading Uncle Tom’s Cabin before allowing myself other simple pleasures). Classics, gah.

Yesterday I grinned all morning. As I brushed my teeth I adored the cacophony of dogs & chickens outside my window. Everything looked fresh & open on my walk to work; everything was new & exciting after 3 weeks away. Today, the shine wore off a bit with what may have been a dose of jet lag:-).

Something must have exploded in my body during the 36 hour plane ride back to Lu because I went from everybody back home telling me I looked great, slim & happy to Zambians commenting on my growing girth. Getting dressed for work I was horrified as I struggled to do up the zipper on my skirt- where did all the fat come from overnight?! My suspicions about having gained weight while home were re-confirmed when one of my colleagues said “You’ve grown big”, and one of the guards opened the car gate for me instead of the pedestrian gate “since I’m now fat”. Horrors. Thank goodness the hot season is on its way, I’m sure I’ll drop a couple pounds by bloating myself on ice cold water…my obsession when Lusaka steams up*giggling*

Part of the delay to write has to do with the fact that I have no idea how to thank everyone who contributed to me having a brilliant trip back home. I was so touched by both the little & large efforts of people to be in touch with Alvin & me during our brief stay at my parents’ place. It was flattering & humbling to have so many loving people inquiring about our lives back in Zambia.

My last excuse (promise) is that office life is upside down. We all know after a 3 week holiday how many messages land in the ole inbox…but for me, there’s another complication. While home I heard news that one of my colleagues passed away. Chola worked for the Program Support Unit (directly supporting the Aid Section where I work). Chola & I had worked closely for sometime. Her absence has affected all of us in the office. Sadly, I was unable to attend her funeral as I was still in Canada; I feel no sense of closure & have caught myself picking up the phone to ask her a quick question several times in the past two days. Chola was a special woman; described often as the heart & soul of the PSU. Anyone who passed through the office would remember her for her professionalism, drive, and hearty laugh. If something needed to get done, one only needed to ask Chola, an incredibly efficient and reliable person. A few sentences on my blog seem rather like an affront to the dynamism of Chola. Like I mentioned, selfishly I miss her; but mostly I feel for her family- she left her mother, siblings & two sons. I can’t imagine how her close friends & colleagues are dealing with her loss. September will be a tough month as several members from our team at CIDA HQ (who all knew Chola well) will be visiting- we will long feel her loss.

On this sober note, I shall close this post. It’s getting late & I will regret staying up past my bedtime when my alarm rings tomorrow at 5:15*grin*.
Once more, a humble thanks to everyone who traveled, called, or found a few minutes to visit with me while back in St.Albert. Everything was (and still is) a bit overwhelming. Thanks for your patience also, as I attempt to fall back into routine. Goodnight.

Thursday, August 09, 2007


Three years away from the mighty Canadian Rockies is hard on any prairie thanks to Marty, Tom & Devyn for making this trip happen! (And of course my dear Pop for lending us the Suburban). And Carly, thanks for spending your 20-something-th birthday with us!! Too much fun.

Here we are settling into camp.

Marty & I heading to (is it) Edith Cavell glacier? Or Angel glacier- I'll never get it straight*grin*

Car & Al & oooh those mountains*sigh*

Alvin was given the name "The ice whisperer" (Thanks Devyn)!!

We oohed & aahhed up & down Maligne Canyon...then as we were leaving I caught a glimpse of the skyline. I feasted my eyes & olfactory senses for the couple days we were there...couldn't ask for too much more!

Strawberries & Cream

What's a trip home without your favourite foods?! Everyday I have fresh strawberries, raspberries or blueberries. I'm drowning in gluttony but trying to make up for almost 2 years berry-free. My morning Cheerios (which I also can't find in Zed) always start my day out right!

Other than food (yes, I know it sounds shallow), I have been SO lucky to make the most of my time with family & friends! My cousin Al & Aunty Martha made a quick turnaround trip from Saskatoon, while cousin Marty & Tom & his Devyn planned a killer trip to Jasper. I could mention all the friends who have made long drives & altered their schedules to make time for me & Alvin, but then I'd forget someone & feel like an ass. A few of them are in the photos below, but some managed to escape the freeze frame. I've found that the beauty of visiting after some time is that it doesn't really feel like I've ever been gone*smile*

So far, I can only thank everyone who has made the time to call and/or meet up with Alvin & me. We've been SPOILED! Here are a few shots of the past week & a half, as we gear up for another week of adventure.

The girls enjoying Heritage Days. Except for the shirtless morons.

LAKE DAY!!!- with Pop, Alvin & Marty. I revelled in a quick trip to the lake. I sure felt wobbly on the skis after 2 years...but I still loved every moment.

Nothing like a good match of drunken Cranium, a hysterical tradition.

We're just missing Clara...

A stop at the "Leg grounds" while we toured Edmonton.