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random thoughts for a Tuesday morning

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MoBob has moved to Ouahigouya for his gig at the Peace Corps training center. It's the last big town before the Mali border and about 3-4 hours from Ouagadougou. Happily he'll come home every weekend and we're in the same cell phone network. I know he's probably enjoying bachelor life as well as he's living with a Moroccan who works for the Food and Agriculture Organization.

While I miss my DH, I am savoring the following aspects of single living:
* leaving CNN on all the time
* leaving BBC on all the time
* eating leftovers without asking if anyone else is interested
* hogging the whole bed
* getting dressed with the lights on
* watching DVDs on the big TV instead of the portable DVD player
* playing CDs as loud as I want (including the first three songs on Femi Kuti's greatest hits on repeat which drives M crazy)
* consuming pork products without any remorse
* reading trashy books and magazines without MoBob wanting to take a look "to improve my English"

I've been trying to keep up on blogs on the Philippines, Filipinos, and Filipino-Americans and saw this item this morning about a Filipino-Canadian boy who was not allowed to eat with a fork and spoon at school. While the issue is more complicated than the headline (isn't everything?) reading the articles brought back uncomfortable memories of a visit my mother and I paid to the Philippines while I was at university. We were visiting with my aunt and uncle and several cousins and having lunch at a Chinese restaurant in Cebu City. I realized while we were chatting that my mom and I were eating with knives and forks (American style, not European style) and everyone else was using their forks and spoons. It was one of those moments where it hit me that I wasn't 100% Filipino - and neither was my mom.

I just finished reading Cause Celeb by Helen Fielding, which can be best described as "Bridget Jones Goes to Africa." I was surprised to read that this was written before the Bridget Jones books but wasn't published in the US until afterwards. I guess I'm not a good audience to review the novel since I don't work in emergency response/relief (and so I can't identify with the heroine) but I've also been working in international development in Africa (so I don't have the "oh dear!" attitude that many readers would have). There are some aspects that I'm familiar with, such as the challenges in working with local communities and local organizations, the whole concept of "partnership" when it comes to the UN and international aid agencies, and the general frustration of "never enough." I smiled at the descriptions of expat life such as hoarding tendencies when it comes to luxury items like...shoes. I suppose I'm so hardened now that I'm not shocked when I read about kids playing in sewers or fly-blown meat markets. That's what I see on the drive to work every day. I have to credit Helen Fielding though for having meticulously researched everything. And she does capture the beauty and hope without being too maudlin or sentimental. "V. good."
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On May 9th, 2006 10:25 am (UTC), flemmarde commented:
i read that book whilst on mission with UNHCR and i devoured it one night i think! i loved it. she did do her research well didn't she?

how long's the single life going on for? i could get into that on a part time basis. there's somethings i'd really like, for example choosing what i want to watch, when i want to, and in english.
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On May 9th, 2006 10:38 am (UTC), ticklethepear replied:
MoBob works on two consecutive three month trainings so he'll be there until December. We did this last year and it wasn't so bad as he came home every weekend and I even went up to the training center for a couple of events. The only downer is that we're going on separate holidays as well. I'll have to manage on one person's baggage allowance....
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On May 9th, 2006 11:44 am (UTC), flemmarde replied:
lol! you poor thing... only 20 or so kilos to take on hols.

where you going with next to nothing?
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On May 9th, 2006 01:31 pm (UTC), ticklethepear replied:
I'm going back to the US but M wants to use his free ticket to return to Morocco. Actually for the US it's not so bad - 44 k on Air France if I recall correctly - but that still means I have to limit my books and other goodies etc. coming back. So much for lugging back that antique samovar!

I had a colleague here who's now in the Gambia - he and his wife are from Adelaide and they use to return to Aus via the US because the baggage limit was bigger. Plus they have two kids so they could have 8 bags total....
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On May 9th, 2006 01:34 pm (UTC), flemmarde replied:
my goodness that's a long long haul to aus just to carry more gear!

44 kg is pretty good. it's so expensive getting anything anywhere in the world over and above one's luggage limit i guess.
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On May 9th, 2006 02:59 pm (UTC), ticklethepear replied:
They told me of some pretty frightening itineraries - could you imagine Ouaga-Dakar-Jo'burg-Perth-Adelaide? Ouaga-Paris-Singapore-Adelaide? Regardless it's a very long slog indeed...
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On May 9th, 2006 04:32 pm (UTC), flemmarde replied:
the one via jo'burg would be horid but make more sense and be faster i'd have thought.

but yeah, there are not good connections of anything between australia and africa. even sending text messages and making phonecalls between togo and melbourne was difficult to impossible
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On May 9th, 2006 02:56 pm (UTC), ticklethepear replied:
I know. Blame globalisation. Sigh.

I'm afraid of what I'll find once I visit M in his new digs...wailing Berber women on the CD player, soccer matches blaring from the TV, and the remains of the past week's dinners, most likely.
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On May 9th, 2006 06:11 pm (UTC), (Anonymous) commented:
Okay, the original article assumes familiarity with this practice, so . . . how exactly does one go about eating with a spoon and fork? You're my only Filipina friend, so I've never actually seen it done (my Chinese law school roomie did either knife/fork or chopsticks).

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On May 10th, 2006 08:38 am (UTC), ticklethepear replied:
Let's see...you hold the fork in your left hand with the tines facing you, and the spoon in your right with the hollow part facing you, and use the fork to push the food into the spoon, which you then eat from. I don't know if people outside of Asia do this.
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