Tuesday, December 23, 2008

End-of-year ramblings & reflections

I love the festive season- there’s always so much going on! Marty & his Patricia arrive tomorrow evening- Yippeee! We’ll be heading off for a wee adventure to Zambia’s Northern Province for about a week. I’ll then expect company through to February 4th- how wonderful is that?

There’s one thing that has been getting me down though. My unofficial exam results have been received- though they weren’t quite what I had expected. All of the exams I sat in Lusaka I cleared (which is great news- I was really worried about my International Human Resource Management course...) However, I apparently didn’t pass my research proposal (which surprise, counts for the two introductory courses of the program. Without passing this proposal I cannot continue on with the program as I had hoped). My initial reaction was shock which quickly shifted into anger. Now I’m irritated that I don’t have the official results to see where I went so very wrong. The worst part is that when I submitted my draft my tutor provided praise & thought the draft would be developed into a passing research proposal with a few minor adjustments. So in those minor adjustments I must have really bunged up. I’m hugely disappointed, & a small part of me is holding onto the hope that maybe- just maybe- they’ve given me the wrong unofficial results (Maybe it was that International HRM course I bombed…). But since I can’t really hang on to that & still pursue my degree, I’m doing the best I can to dust myself off & attempt the RP again. GAH. What a waste of time & money & I really have no idea how I failed. I thought my proposal was tight. And so did the host of people who reviewed it. Another part of me is trying to accept the failure- I don’t really remember failing at much in my life. I was always the kid who “made the team”; so I’m trying to embrace this as a learning experience. I'm looking at the situation as a challenge that will hopefully (somehow) help me become a better person.

Apart from the things I’m caught up with at the moment, I’m hoping to make some time to reflect on the events of 2008. We certainly started out with a bang in India, & there’s not really been a dull moment since I threw so much energy into school & basketball. I look forward to sitting down & planning for 2009 as much has been ticked of the “to do list” for 2008.

Otherwise I’m wrapped up in Christmas baking, holiday planning & wedding planning- despite the poor school results I’ve got a couple of exciting months ahead! Here’s a shot of my delicious pecan squares- thanks for the recipe Ma, they’ve received many compliments already (okay, they don't look divine, but they're certainly scrumptious).

Happy Christmas/holidays/festive season to all! I’m about to be on holiday- Whoop!

Monday, December 15, 2008

BSA Basketball End-of-Year Party

The three of us BSA Basketball coaches decided we wanted to celebrate a wonderful season. We threw together some juice & snacks & planned fun games for Friday afternoon. We also awarded a certificate for each player’s participation (which the kids were really excited about). Former BSA players were invited to join in some silly games, and recognize the up-&-coming athletes; I was really happy the ‘older’ guys were around to support not only us, but their friends at BSA. I don’t know how many photos I took but I’ve tried to pare down to the favourites…& I’ll try to attach wee stories so you get a taste of the afternoon.

I loved this shot of "Air Teza". Another team had come to compete to open the afternoon festivities- fun fun.

In the right-hand line these guys are former players, or will be former players in 2009- but they came to enjoy the day with us; I'm hoping to recruit a couple to coach...

Snack-time. And yes, we did mix a bunch of juice in that green bucket...

Here Coach Alinafe is explaining a silly team-building game- I love the facial expressions on some of the players "You want us to do what???"

For fun, we had our under 12 team play the "big guys"- those who have moved on to higher-level basketball. It was fun to watch the little ones play their hearts out while the more senior players admired the skills that these kids are gaining at such a young age.

We had a bump-out competition for the under 12 players and then for the older guys.
Here are some shots of the competition

Nganga won for the under 12s

& Sogi won the combo under 15/18 category.

Alfred cracked me up because he came runner up in a couple of competitions- what a kid- just lost out & is still smiling. I admire his attitude & hope that some of the younger guys look up to him.

Sogi's post-win celebration

Elvis surprised us all during the 3-point competition because he was on fire. (The guys had earlier been teasing him for his red out fit- calling him Santa Claus; I thought it fitting that he also won a red t-shirt for his record: 6 out of 7 three-pointers in the preliminary round and in the final). Thanks to the folks at Bellerose (Sue!!!) for your continued contributions to making our small BSA events memorable!
The competition

And the winner (Elvis a.k.a. Santa Claus)

One player stood out to all three coaches this year. Rather than giving “MVP, Best defensive player” etc awards for each team, we decided to recognize only one player- the “BSA Player of the Year”. Bupe (pronounced more like woo-pay, meaning gift) had quite the season. He wrote his grade 12 exams this year but never missed a beat on the basketball court. He was our most consistent player, attending all training sessions & never missing Saturday games, the team jokester’s attitude also improved this year- he became that goofy but confident leader. His basic skills also improved drastically- what more could we ask for?! I get the sense that he was a bit surprised to be recognized, but all the guys were happy & I’m sure he loves his new tracksuit (thanks Mabvuto)!

All-in-all we think the day was a great success & it’s nice to introduce a few of the players to my on-line friends (loyal readers)*giggling*. Next we get some more serious feedback from the players, focus on the ups & downs of 2008 so that we can plan for an even more successful 2009. I love it!

Monday, December 08, 2008

Babies at the baby shower

Hi all, not too much to report over the weekend; but I did remember to take some photos at Kupela’s baby shower. Kupela’ looks about to burst (but beautiful as always)!

The father of the child was also pulled into the festivities…they were asked to wear diapers & pretty much look ridiculous while guests were allowed to ask various questions. For each question they answered wrong (or differently) they were painted with make-up or dashed with baby powder.

Sweet Vicki brought her beautiful baby Ndinawe & I can’t believe how much she’s changed in the past few months.

It was a beautiful day, and now it’s back to the grind...

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

First Christmas card of the year!

Thanks “Kumah” Kaye & Uncle Nick! What a nice surprise…& it was the perfect inspiration to set up my few Christmas decorations last night. (Unfortunately I missed the traditional December 1st date of setting everything up; I suppose the busy festive season has already begun). No need to comment Lain, I know it's too late for you*grin*. I have also realized that my tree looks fairly pathetic with so few decorations; I hope to remedy that this weekend.

Other news:
- We had our end of year tournament for the youth league over the weekend. BSA fared well: our under 12 squad lost in the semi-finals by one point (heartbreaker), our under 15s won the whole shebang, and our under 18 team lost in the final. Sadly, the person I asked to take photos took a couple videos (mostly of the ground)*hahahah*…I’ll post some action shots up here eventually if there are any keepers. We will, however, have an end-of-year party next week- I will certainly take photos then.
- A small update on books. I managed to get my hands on the famous “Golden Compass” book- what a read! I have no idea how I’ll track down the other parts of the trilogy…but I will. I couldn’t put the book down so I chose to pick a “classic” after that, just to slow the pace down a bit. I chose Emily Bronte’s Jane Eyre & found it thoroughly enjoyable; I would chalk it up as one of the easier classics to get through. I found myself chuckling out loud- brilliant. I am currently reading a piece of smut that I’m embarrassed to pull out in front of anyone because it’s a grocery store romance…but it’s light & mindless- just what I need to unwind!

That’s all for now.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Fish ‘n chips Zambian style

Hi all, I’m not sure if I mentioned this on the blog before, but I’m actually trying to get myself to start eating fish. Apparently they are so healthy etc that I actually started feeling guilty about not eating fish. Sadly, I’ve never liked the taste, so slowly I’ve been figuring out ways of preparing filets in a manner which I find palatable. So far I’ve started to enjoy tilapia fried with ginger, garlic & doused in lemon.

Well, Kolo decided she wanted fish for our weekly “nshima” night so she prepared “Kariba bream”: Zambian style. (I think these bream are probably an environmentally sound option because they’re caught locally, not farmed etc). But imagine finding this waiting for the frying pan when I walked in the door from coaching.

Hahahaha. And what do they say- out of the pan & into the fire…so much for my tilapia “fish fingers”*hahaha*. This is the bream post-frying.

I have to admit, the meat itself tasted good; it’s the presentation that was lacking. I only managed a few bites before admitting defeat; then I gorged myself on a lovely plate of potatoes & various veg:-) But I reckon I'm doing pretty well...for a girl who wouldn't touch fish a year ago!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Logic. Or lack thereof

Hmm, guess I’ve been quiet for a bit. I suppose my only excuse is that last week I was very much sidetracked by the Zone 6 club championship basketball games that were hosted in Lusaka. Teams came from Zimbabwe, Mozambique, & Angola (two Zambian teams also participated- no women’s teams though- men only. Boo). There was much excitement & the final ended up being Angola (ranked first place in the country) versus Angola (third place in the country)- it was a GREAT game, though I was disappointed that the underdogs lost.

Otherwise…here’s a photo update of the few small things that have been going on.

Our good friend Kieran was back in Lusaka & had to get rid of some Commonwealth Games Canada attire- holla! I love my new jacket (though ever honest Sarah T. told me this wasn’t the most flattering photo of me- I’ve decided to post it anyway)*grin*.

Then my dear Aunt & Uncle in Florida happened to have a flight attendant friend who was flying to Lusaka & decided to throw together a package. What a lovely surprise & assortment of incredible treats!! Happy early Christmas to me & Al. (Oh, & the lady who delivered it is also a star- the tin of English biscuits she brought have clearly not been saved until the holiday season)*hahah*.

And the jams that my uncle sent finally convinced me to buy a toaster

(I’ve wanted a toaster for a long time but never bothered to invest in one…but with strawberry jam like this- how can you not put it on toast??)

YUM! Thus the subject of my post…I’m not really sure if that was a logical thing to do…buy a toaster because someone sent 3 jars of scrumptious jam??!! Well, it is mango season & there tend to be lots of brilliant mango preserves this time of year…

This seems to be one long run-on sentence; let me end it here before the grammar cops pull the post.

Monday, November 10, 2008

A Tribute to General Mills Cheerios

How I have longed for Cheerios. They used to be my fave breakfast…but I could never find anything similar here in Lusaka. I’ve spent the past couple years hooked on a divine raisin muesli which sort of took over my hunger for Cheerios. Then the other day in the grocery store I found something that looked just like Cheerios!

Unfortunately, they don’t taste like Cheerios (I had my hopes so high)! They’ve glazed these O’s with something sugary and I have to admit defeat- they just don’t cut it.

Clearly, all is well if my biggest predicament is breakfast cereals.

I’m also determined to try an unripe mango with salt today, a common snack here; I’ve denied trying it up until now because I couldn’t understand why one would choose to eat an unripe fruit, especially one that is so scrumptious when ripe. But I might just love it- I’ll let ya know.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

A silly confession

When I was writing my exams Alvin surprised me by bringing me home a new mobile (cell) phone. I had the same cheapie Motorola model for about 3 years, & it was the cause of much teasing- as in I had yet to "upgrade". So now that I’m upgraded people laugh even harder because my phone can actually have a ring tone; & the ring tone it came with happens to be “Live your Life” by Rihanna & T.I. Secretly (well, not so secretly anymore)- I love it*hahaha*. That is my confession- & I can just hear Jen & Canj’s reactions- & the groan from Carly! One of the kids I coach wanted to “Bluetooth” the track to his phone & to be honest- I have no idea what that means- aren’t I ridiculous?! I suppose my upgrade was in style, not in wits…speaking of which I even left my phone charging at home. Whoops.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Feels like spring

No, that's not it- it looks like spring. It is far too hot to feel the refreshing spring rains & cool air. That’s one thing I’ve never understood; how do these flowers spring up & out in the debilitating heat of Zambia’s “hot and dry season”? I suppose we’ve had a bit of rain, but the jacaranda trees always bloom at peak hot/dry season. Bizarre. Anyway, I’m posting for two major reasons:

1. Though Zambia’s elections may be contested, all has been calm and peaceful. I am so thankful. The opposition leader has lost out so we shall see if he kicks up a fuss. I was disappointed at the Inauguration ceremony when Mugabe appeared, proud as a peacock. I think the late Mwanawasa must have turned over in his grave. Zambia denounced his leadership shortly before Mwanawasa passed away, and now he’s celebrating with the current Zambian leader. Ah well, can’t have it all.

2. I’m thrilled to report that my flowers are blooming; my little garden is starting to flourish- hoorray!!

First, here's my portulaca that has come back after I thought I'd lost it. There is a stick in the background used to be my lavender:-( I'm not sure it will come back*hahah*

I think these are called Elephant ears & that my mother loves them. I didn't plant this but they have started spreading through my flowerbed, I may have to transplant the smaller ones so they do not take over my flowers...

I believe this is some kind of day lily- such beautiful sunny colours- they always make me smile! I'm so thrilled that I managed to transplant them from work to home- I guess my green thumb is coming back?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Cicada update etcetera

Here’s an update on all things inconsequential:

1) Al was on hands & knees one morning searching for the pesky cicada. He couldn’t find it & we resorted to spraying the kitchen that evening…& lo & behold no more screaming from my kitchen while I enjoy my muesli:-)
2) Found a great Indian restaurant just down the road from my place- & cheap- HOLLA!
3) I have also fallen in love with strawberry juice (who would have thought)- but the juice actually tastes likes squashed strawberries- it couldn’t be yummier (until Alvin froze it a bit & it was a proper strawberry slush- who needs slurpees anymore)!!!!

Things of more consequence:

- Tomorrow will host Zambia’s Presidential election & the race is heating up. The two frontrunners are neck and neck- the Acting President Rupiah Banda and the rowdy Opposition leader Michael Sata. We are off work tomorrow but will be back in the office Friday providing that all is calm- wish us all the best…
- I spoke to my Gran yesterday as she has settled into a new condo- it’s great to hear her happy & excited about having her own kitchen again. I’ll have to start saving my Kwachas so I can visit her in Summer 2009 (& order all my favourite dishes)! Whoop.

Think that covers it- I hope to be back soon with good news of peaceful, democratic elections. PS. Halloween doesn't exist here...so there's already Christmas decorations in all the shops- crazy!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

There is a cicada in my kitchen & it’s making me crazy

For those of you who’ve never heard a cicada, consider yourself lucky. Well, maybe not. I have to admit; it’s lovely walking home from work and passing under some trees that are simply vibrating with noise. It is amazing to me that a small insect can make such an incredible noise. Literally, the drone of a tree full of cicadas drowns out the sound of passing traffic. Unfortunately for me, a cicada seems to have made its way into my kitchen and it haunts me during my breakfast (it is quiet all day, I only hear it in the morning) but I KNOW it’s there. I need to hunt it down. It’s been there buzzing alongside my muesli since Monday…too much…must deal with creature.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Mutale’s wedding

I’ve posted photos of Mutale’s matabeto, kitchen party & now at last, here are some photos of her wedding day. It was beautiful outdoor wedding and both she & the groom looked wonderful- happy and relieved!

Mutale's sister Jackie is in the centre, the other two bridesmaids are friends of Mutale's.

Here is Mutale with her father

Here are 3 of the sisters: Alvin's mother in the beautiful hat, Aunt Jose in the middle & Aunt Rose (Aunt Rose is the proud mother of the bride)

And finally- The newly wed Sakala's (with Valerie holding up the train)!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Kim's wedding

Hi all,

I guess my week has been busier than I expected…I want to catch up chronologically so I’m moving back to Friday October 10th when I completed my exams (I still feel like that needs a ‘whoop’)*grin*. My big plan for my Friday afternoon post exams was:

a) to go shoe shopping to buy new heels for the lovely dress my mom sent me so I could attend Mutale’s wedding on Sunday in style
b) have lunch at Gandhi’s- my fave place for vegetarian Indian in Lusaka
c) buy a bottle of Amarula & sit by the pool with a few friends to RELAX!

Well, I didn’t manage to find a pair of shoes (I just polished some old ones & it worked out just fine), my lunch at Gandhi’s was deeelicious though I have NO idea what I ate*giggling*. Alvin told me that his brother was having his marriage ceremony at Civic Centre that same afternoon & we were expected to be there. So we scooted home after lunch, did the quick change & headed out to Kim’s wedding. And then it poured rain & we were stuck at Civic Centre.

I felt so lucky to be at Kim’s wedding rather than drenched to the bone poolside with Amarula*hahaha*. After the rains died down we headed off for a small reception…& we had to go “pa bwato”. (I don’t really know how to explain this…the opposition leader in Zambia uses ‘pa bwato’ as his slogan- & it actually means “by boat”. What it implies, I’m not too sure…) So the area where the small reception was held was absolutely flooded...the jokes were about going ‘pa bwato’ etc. And did the kids ever laugh as this mzungu took off her sandals, hiked up her skirt & plodded through the puddles until we reached our destination. Brilliant.

A small ode to Kim:
Kim is one of those people who makes you feel like you’ll become a better person just by spending time with him. He is ever jovial and finds the beauty in any bad news. Since I can’t share him, I’ve decided to share his beautiful smile! I also adore his lovely wife Nina...

Kim is also in the "best books" because he bought me a bottle of Amarula which I drank with another brother Musonda. Perfect.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Couldn't resist

I can't believe I received this cartoon as I wind down from my exams- hahaha!

And Happy Thanksgiving to all my loved ones in Canada. I may have to do my Thanksgiving Dinner over the weekend- all this talk of turkeys has my mouth watering!

I’m do-oo-oo-one!

It was a crazy hectic week jam packed with lots of things I shouldn’t have been doing (planting flowers, baking cookies & lemon loaf) & of course things I should have been doing- studying & writing exams. I feel really good about 2 of 3 of my exams so I’m just holding my breath until I receive my results.

That’s not true- who am I kidding? It feels GREAT to be done! I’ve already hidden my books away because I don’t want to see another article or text book until next year- Whoop! I had a brilliant weekend & throughout the course of this week I hope to update you on all of the excitement…

Had to say HI today!!! Weeeee. Hope one or two of you missed me*wicked smile*

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


What a beautiful philosophy:

Monday, September 29, 2008

48th birthday party

Apart from the studies (I write my first exam in exactly one week- yipe!) I managed to eke out a lovely weekend. Saturday we had an exciting morning at the courts. BSA U15 beat their opponents handily and the U18s went head-to-head with the top team in the league. We lost the game by 1 point but had such a good game that we all left the court with smiles…that’s quite unusual for a group of such competitive people.

Since I worked so hard in the sweltering temperatures Friday and Saturday afternoon, I felt like I earned Sunday off. Alvin & I sought out reprieve from the heat at a nearby pool- brilliant. I only left the water knowing that I was off to a colleague’s birthday celebration. One of my colleagues hosted a braai & we all enjoyed ourselves! Here are a few shots.

The lovely hosts, Alison & her daughter Nandi

The birthday girl!

The makeshift dance floor...I LOVE that Priscilla's got a bottle of wine in hand!

For now, it’s back to the books…
Oh, & I’m irritated- how come no one is commenting on my blog? I know my life’s not that exciting at the moment…but not one comment? I wore my new hat on Sunday & everyone thought I looked like Princess Di- THAT cracked me up*winning smile*.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Mutale's Kitchen Party

I was invited to Mutale’s bridal shower (called a kitchen party in Zambia) on Saturday. I was excited to see some traditional Lozi dress; I’ve never been to a Lozi function before & didn’t realize how distinct their dresses are. The woman on the right (leading in a covered soon-to-be-bride) is wearing the traditional “misisi” (white top. There’s another bright green misisi behind and to the left). Mutale is also wearing one- apparently any fabric can be used, as long as the shape remains the same, & a shawl is tied round the waist.

I thought Mutale looked so beautiful in her bright salmon-coloured "misisi".

As with all things Zambian there was a whole bunch of food & drink & tradition. After Mutale is “unveiled”, the groom-to-be offers up a small token of his love (a bouquet in this instance). He’s the one in the centre with specs.

The day would have been lovely had the “matron” not been evil. This woman had been hired to run the event & for some reason she thought it was hilarious that I (a mzungu) am an “in-law”. So she heckled me in Bemba (which I do not understand) until 150 women turned around and giggled at me. It was pretty awful, so I left before the dancing could begin…I certainly didn’t want to stay & have to shake my bootie on the dance floor surrounded by Zambian women who are BORN shaking their booties. Here she is, with the purple scarf wrapped round her waist. Other than her though, I really enjoyed my time with Al’s family.

Here’s Bwembya, Bwalya and Valerie.

Monday, September 22, 2008

My funeral hat

Just a goofy post to start the week. This is my new beautiful hat that I want to wear to at every appropriate occasion but since it's been deemed the "funeral hat"...I'm not sure if I can wear it to a garden party*hahaha*

There's a cutesy-poopsy bow thingy on the back...don't know if you can really make it out.