Before there were washing machines….

June 24, 2011

So I wash my underwear by hand. In the shower. Inspired by the person who first made me realize this is really the least time consuming and money saving way to do it, I call it: “Laundry, Celenia-style.” You can really wash anything in the shower. Ensemble, while you are in the process of showing is obviously the best time to do it.  You can rub your soapy panties together as your hair is being rinsed of shampoo (and for those people not like my love Zach, even conditioner. It is my mission, fyi, to get this guy to use conditioner on a fairly regular basis. He has beautiful hair but is too much of a hippie to allow all those chemicals to work their magic.)

I started doing this, if you haven’t already guessed, while I was living in Burkina. Even though I found a lady to do my laundry, people in Burkina just don’t touch other people’s underwear.  Gross.  And, well, it was hot and I was too lazy to be bent over a row of buckets soaping and rinsing and repeating until all my undies were clean. And by all I mean only my panties. I ended up burning some bras before I left because they were too dirty to ever wear again.

(I stole this picture from my friend Diana…I believe this is one of her students, but I could also be making them up.)

This story comes up because I’m currently an RA (This doesn’t stand for Research Assistant, because that would mean I’m working) for a high school debate camp at UofM, whose duties primarily consist of making sure the campers don’t do drugs/have sex/and especially both at the same time. So I’m guarding the laundry room area (to make sure none of them stick a cat in the dryer or something), and I see that on Day 4 some girls are already doing laundry. So I inquire what they may be washing, and of course it is their “delicates”. I take this as my prime opportunity to inform them of Celenia-style laundry, and they looked at me like I just came back from Africa or something. They then proceeded to ask me how does one dry their “delicates” after one has *gasp* hand-washed them. Sadly, I’m still readjusting to American sarcasm.  To my disappointment, sincerity came out instead of something along the lines of “The dryer fairy.” Well, I’m still adjusting.


Back to Americaland

June 22, 2011

So for people who aren’t my friends, thus implying that I haven’t informed you or you haven’t checked my facebook status in the past month, I’m back in America! Yay! Kind of.

I left Peace Corps early due to some social and politicial unrest (student strikes…yeah, students can go on strike there and it’s pretty awesome…protests, burnings of government buildings, and random military bullets flying up, and consequently down (thank you gravity)). Basically my work was severely interrupted for a good number of months and I became fed up with it and decided it was best for me to go home at that time. Though I do miss my friends who have stuck it out and are still eating tô, sweating 23 hours a day, and know how to really appreciate an ice cream cone.

Somehow I ended up in Michigan with a part-time summer job at the moment. It is easy, the hours are late (I’m too old to be going to bed at 2am multiple times in a week), but it’s money and I get to explore a new town and meet cool people (that are closer to my younger brother’s age than mine…but I’m getting over that).

I’m eating college cafeteria food again. I haven’t been this sick since Ouahigouya. Only America can make tasty looking veggies and fruits my worst enemy.

Lets stop bitching and make a list about things I love about America:
1. Air conditioning
2. Dependable electricity
3. Showers (HOT showers)
4. So many vegetables it makes my head spin
5. English

Lets make myself sad a little and think about what I miss from Burkina:
1. My supercool friends
2. Baby goats
3. My awesome bike
4. Pooping under the stars (i vote for latrines over toilets any day)
5. Being able to wear the same outfit all week and not getting called out for it

It is 1:28am and I still have to pretend to be awake for 32 more minutes. Good thing one of the skills I picked up in Burkina was how to occupy my hours in between sleeping (10 hours) or working (5 hours) with daydreaming (you do the math).

Another hot day in Burkina

October 23, 2010

Blog number 2 since I have been at sight. Two posts in two months!

So school is officially in full swing. I found out I hate geometry just as much in French as I do in English. So far teaching as had its normal ups and downs. Lesson planning seems to be the hardest part. Correction. Understanding the students when they speak might be the hardest part. I secretely cringe every time I ask if anyone has any questions and a hand goes up because I know it will most likely end up with my asking them to repeat themselves several times and ultimately having them go to the board to point out exactly what they didn’t understand. Oh well. At least I have colored chalk and didactic tools. This always makes those boring parellel and secant lines a little bit more exciting.

I also somehow might have mentioned to someof the English teachers that there is a song to the alaphabet that we learn in the Great US of A. And this might have led me to singing the song for them, and them proceeding to pull out their phones and record me singing the alaphbet song. No, the story isn’t over yet. I was then commissioned to make a guest appearance in the 6ème classes (the youngest grade at my school, and the first year students learn English) to teach this song to the kids. This also may or may not be recorded on a teacher’s cell phone. Let’s just say my singing career is not going to go far in the states, but it might have a chance at my lycée (translate: high school..ish). My next performance will be “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes.” I’m planning to post it on Youtube.

So one of the many goals and “things to do” while I’m here is to bike 100k each week. This is kind of like the Burkina version of me trying to avoid the freshman 15. I only started this a month ago, but so far so good. However this week I am taking a break after last Saturday’s 85k bike ride resulted in me running over my sunglasses and losing my phone.

These are just random thoughts about my life I’m trying to gather up. I named all the geckos here “Tim.” This is because when I started give each one a different name, George died on me. I found him in a bucket one day. Dead. I played French scrabble with one of my fellow teachers. I lost. No surprise. He did let me cheat and use a dictionary. I still lost. My neighbors are pretty much the cutest couple ever. They like to play love songs as night (Elton John is a favorite) and lay outside on their “porch” together. However they were also only married a year ago, so I’m not sure how long this love fest is going to last. They also have a baby on the way…like tout de suite.

That is all. Hope everyone is enjoying the fall weather. We are experiencing a mini hot season. It’s really hot. I found out the past few days it has been in the mid 90s in Ouguadougou. I’m moving to the moutains.

September 25, 2010

Uber belated blog post. Sorry to all my beloved readers (aka Mom).
So I have finished training (which was long…really really long…I thought some of my 9 hour days in a cubicle were long, but at least I had copious amounts of coffee and the wonderful world wide web at my fingertips). I swore in as an official Peace Corps volunteer on a beautifully hot Burkina day in August. The ceremony and reception (yeah, there was a reception…fancy) was at the American Embasy. Some highlights include 1) having the First Lady of Burkina Faso show up, give a nice speech, and shake all of our hands, 2) Free food and wine…there was wine people! And champagne…like I said…fancy, and 3) seeing everyone look so pretty (it was like Peace Corps Prom, except we didn’t go down the shore the next morning for a weekend of debauchery… the debauchery is landlocked here).

So after swear-in and a day and half of searching for all the things we need for our houses that we probably wouldn’t be able to buy in village (such as Nutella, honey, jelly, cinnamon, cereal, and umm…a mattress) I was shipped off to my new home for the next two years. Yikes. It is crazy to think that I will be here for TWO YEARS! But then again, what else to do I have to do with my life? So I’ve been here since August 29th. I still sometimes pee on myself accidently when I use the latrine. But I scream less when I come along a cockroach in my house… they are usually dead by the time I find them anyways. I say hi to a lot of people every day…that is just the thing here…saying Hey, what’s up? How has your morning been? Okay, peace out, see you later. But in French. Since school hasn’t started yet my days have been pretty lazy and full of reading, eating, cleaning (sometimes), and napping. Oh, and hosting a ton of visitors. I have a bunch of volunteers who live near by and since you know, I’m cool, and well, have electricity, they come visit a bunch.

Okay so I’m guessing I should add in some pictures here or no one is going to keep reading. Just kidding… it takes too long to load. Just check my facebook.

Let’s see what else is new. The country is having a gas shortage. I still haven’t found gas for my stove. There are elections this November. I haven’t really paid much attention to them though. I have no idea what kind of exciting things are happening in the good ol’ US of A, except when I talk to my parents. But that only consists of New Jersey news, generally consisting of scandle, sex, and gossip. However I would really love to hear about what is going on in everyone else’s lives. Hint hint folks. Email me. And within approximately a month’s time (the closest internet to me is 75 kilometres away) I will get back to you.

Let me end this on a funny story. So to get to my village you need to take a 3-5 hour (depending on the driver, if it rained the day before, and the time of day) bush taxi ride (read: large van that fits one or two too many people in each row…and maybe a goat if you are lucky) from the capital city of Ouagadougou. So I needed the Peace Corps to send me some medication the first week I was here. And they way they send things to us is through public transport. So a PC person goes to the gare (bus station), gives the driver of the bush taxi a bag with my name on it, and in approximately 3-5 hours later I have to go the gare in my village to ask for this package. So I was supossed to get it Tuesday night….and I go ask about it Wednesday morning and the gardien of the gare says it isn’t there. I ask again later that afternooon. Nope. Thursday. No. Friday, no. And then I run into a super duper handy person who just happens to be the son of the chief of a neighboring village, who is friends with another PCV (Peace Corps Volunteer…I thought I could escape government acronyoms after Census, but apparently not), and he made some phone calls for me that I think didn’t amount to anything…..but then on my way back home I passed by the gare and this guy with a fanny pack (they are still in fashion here…that wasn’t the funny part) is calling out my name holding a very obvious Peace Corps brown paper bag! The name on the bag said “Christina Bollinger”, which apparently looks very similar to “Christina Boulangerie” because that is where my package has been the past 4 days..the bakery (aka boulangerie). The people at the gare had a nice laugh over that one. My parents however did not find this as funny. Maybe you had to be there. Or be a Burkinabè. But anyways, like my little brother, who goes by Mike B. so people don’t ask if he is related to me, I am now going by Christina B.

Zabré Zabré Zabré

July 11, 2010

So exciting news: Team Burkina found out where we will all be living for the next two years! I will be living in the city of Zabré, which is in the central southern part of the country, and apparently has a lot of peanuts. Score. I am also about 25-30 kilometres away from Ghana. This is also a score. AND my town is not on the paved road, so I get to take a bush taxi there too! This can only lead to good/crazy/why are you living in Africa again, Christina? stories. Besides that, I don’t know anything else about the place. And neigther does wikipedia. We will meet our counterparts (which are basically our new BFFs, tour guides, and probably collegues at our school) next week, and then we travel with them (via public transportation…which for me it looks like it will be a bus and then bush taxi) to our site, meet all the cool kids in the town, and then stay at our soon-to-be new home for the next two years! Then after all this excitement we have to return back to training (in a new location again….apparently there is a competition to see how many cities Peace Corps trainees can live in during stage (read: training camp…kind of like band camp but with French dictionaries instead of flutes)…and I heard through the grape vine that Team Burkina is winning across the globe. Once we move again in about a week, we will have lived in 3 different cities during stage…and we still have a month and a half left to go..who knows what could happen!)

Anyways. I found peanut butter at the marché the other day, and therefore lead to many Peanut Butter Jelly Time morning sandwiches. Yum. This, combined with last week’s lunches consisting of but not limited to 1) Hawai’ian pizza, 2) Club sandwichs, 3) Hamburgers makes me wonder what country I am really living in. This will all be gone once we move our training site again…but I might as well enjoy it while I got it, right? And also gain 10lbs in the process.

Blogging in Africa

July 6, 2010

Blog number one from Africa. My apologizes for waiting a WHOLE month before I posted something, but as you will see, I’ve been a bit busy….mostly just sweating a lot, pretending to speak la français, learning how Burkinabé learn, and eating lots of riz (rice), sauce tomat (tomato sauce), spagetti (duh), and mangos. Every day.

So we (22 Team Burkina Secondary Education Trainees) arrived in Burkina on Wednesday, 9 juin, nuit. I’m practicing my français here…just let it slide please. And it rained the first night. It was quite possibly the best thing that could have happened to us, because holy crap it is hot here. Like hot hot…I don’t have any sympathy for anyone complaining about the hot summer nights in the US. When you have to sleep in a room with a tiny window, no AC, no fan, and wake up in your sweat every day to the rooster outside your window at 4:30am then you can complain to me. However, this set up made me really really appreciate the morning shower. That, and the nighttime bucket baths. This was at my host family’s house.

Okay, so let’s start with the host family. We were living in Ouahigouya in the northern region of Burkina for the past 3 weeks and we each had a host family that basically fed us and helped us integrate (aka, learn french, cook, and do our laundry). My family was pretty young…my parents were probably in their late 20s and they have a 9 month old daughter (who is absolutely adorable and the most well behaved baby I’ve ever met). She was super close to walking on her own while I was living there, and it was really amusing to watch her try every day.

Food. Lots and lots of rice, couscous, and spagetti. And mangos. In addition I ate a lot of omlettes, benga (beans ), and cookies. And do to some issues I was told I’m not allowed to discuss here (but you are more than welcome to google Burkina Faso news from Thursday) we are moving to a new city for training. And during this transition we are basically being hooked up with AC, WiFi, and no mandatory daily French practice for the next week. I had to sleep with a sweatshir t last night. I’m am very spoiled right now…and I really can’t wait until I’m with a family again and waking up to bread, nescafe, and French for breakfast. Yum.

Schedule. This is boring, but while you all sit in your air conditioned cubicles, I am sitting in Burkinabé classrooms on hard wooden benches for 3-4 hours of French class, and then the other 4 hours we are learning about maleria, Burkina style division, how to fix a flat on our bikes, and how to basically not fuck up in this whole Peace Corps thing. Oh yeah, and pooping in a whole isn’t as bad or hard as it may sound.

More updates to come, hopefully this week. We are supossed to find out our permanate sites on Friday, so I will keep you all updated on that.

Oh yeah….where is my mail people?! Everytime someone gets a letter or package here it is the most excited thing ever (and I promise I will send a letter back)! And then the rest of us (read: me) are jealous because we don’t have any package/letter (read: love from friends and family). So please please please send me a letter, picture, love note if you want to make me feel better. If you REALLLY love me, please send food (peanut butter!, granola bars, whole grain chedder flavoured goldfish, dried fruit, tuna packages), magazines, PICTURES of you (and me ensemble), powdered drink packets, disposable razor blades, baby wipes, GOLD BOND (please please please..its hot here people), and any other fun stuff you want to send. 
Christina Bollinger, PCT
SC/ Corps de la Paix
01 BP 6031 Ouagadougou 01
Burkina Faso (West Africa)

ALSO, if you do send me packages/letters be sure to send it Air Mail (if that wasn’t obvious) and put some religious symbols on it so that the post office is less likely to open it (just do it).

Love you all lots! Pictures will be on a group website soooon.

En route!

June 8, 2010

I am on my way to Burkina Faso tonight!  Google it.

So after weeks of procrastination I finally packed. And by packed, I mean stuffed everything I thought I might need, want, miss, or just looked cool (including party pants and reinndeer antlers) into some bags on Sunday night/Monday morning…and then left for Philly a few hours later.  I was pretty lucky to be so close to the staging sight, and therefore did not have to fly there.  However this also meant my parents had to drive me, and although it was good to spend some more time with them, my mind just racing with thoughts of what was to come in the next two years…the people I will met, the languages I will butcher, the place I will live, the weddings I will miss (side story: So all my life…seriouslly all of it…I have wanted to be the flower girl at my uncle’s wedding.  Okay, so I wanted to be the flower girl when I was younger, and then it became an ongoing joke because it looked like my uncle would never get married (mainly because he kept dating significally younger women, who didn’t want to get married…my jokes about him dating younger women came back to haunt me as I now find myself dating significally older men).  But now he is getting married!  Yay! And I’m going to Africa for two years….bad timing dude! So my dreams of being his flower girl are lost forever.)  Okay, back to the ride to Philly..lots of anxiety, both good and bad. 

Staging yesterday went well ..met lots of cool people and stayed awake all day without one cup of coffee (success).  So now Team Burkina (as I have named our 22 person group) is headed to the airport for Paris (oui oui) and then Ouagadougou.  Yeah, try saying that one three times fast.

My 27th Going Away Party

May 24, 2010

So although my road trip has ended, my adventures have not.  So let’s update.

This weekend was my last (insert sad face) going away party.  And I’m sorry to talk bad about the other 26, but this one won.  Mainly because it involved flip cup, ice cream cake, and swimming.  In that order.  But first I had to head to DC for a hot minute and say goodbye.  It was really a hot minute.  Well, more like one day, but whatever.  Bringing my awesome new netbook on the bus ride the was a lifesaver.  Perhaps I should start from my travels to NYC first.

Okay, so I have to go into NY to grab to the bus to DC.  I figure why not see my favorite (and coincidentally my only) uncle for some good ol’ fashioned acupuncture.  I was due for some needling, and he just happened to be free.  He likes to use more than just needles too while doing this…including electrodes and heat lamps.  It is never a boring time with my uncle.

Okay, so I get to DC approximately 4.5 hours later and head straight for the sangria.  Obviously, it was Thursday. Except this Thursday did not end with sloppy drunks and embarrassing dance moves…a bit disappointing if you ask me.  However, I think I was to blame.  I should have taken a nap on the bus instead of gchatting people.  The next day I did the tourist thing and went to the monuments.  Tried to go up the Washington Monument, but by the time we got there all the tickets were sold out (stupid class field trips).  So we went with plan b and decided to just feel up the phallic symbol instead.   See below:

Marisa was gentle.

I was not:

So looked at all the pretty, slippery (why the F was everything made out of marble) monuments, ate a lot, and then drank some more.  I feel like this is a pattern for me.

Next day was party day, so I had to head back to Jersey.  I invited some friends from DC to this party, because, well, who doesn’t like to go to another party?  Marisa was coming up, and so was our friend Kermit (His identification needs to be classified for the following reason).  Kermit was in a bit of a pickle.  He has a Miss Piggy.  And Miss Piggy doesn’t really like me…for good reason too.  So Kermit told Miss Piggy that he had a “business trip” in North Carolina and will thus be out of town.  Due to the lack of cars that Miss Piggy and Kermit own, Miss Piggy had to drop off Kermit at Marisa’s house.  This resulted in me hiding in the closet just in case Miss Piggy wanted to snoop around the place.  Thankfully she didn’t.

So Kermit, Marisa, and I headed up to Jersey (which would not be complete without a stop at Dunkin Donuts…I blame this place for my inability to spell doughnut correctly for many many years).   Party time.  So lots of friends, stories, and pictures came out of the woodwork for this party.  My father found this gem and decided to not just blow it up, but also mat it to a peice of cardboard and have everyone sign it.

So there was delicious Italian food (including but not limited to: calamari, backed ziti, chicken parmesan, and apparently eggplant parmesan which was never uncovered and we found the next day),  flip cup, ice cream cake, a very drunken “thank you all for coming” speech, and then swimming!!!  And by “swimming,” I mean 5 of us floating around in the hotel pool at 1 in the morning with whatever we were wearing earlier that day.  No one brought bathing suits.  Improvising was key here.

The next hungover day started with biscuits and gravy, a doughnut, some hiking, and yummy leftovers.  It ended with a gatorade and a 3 hour nap.  I call this weekend a success.

Signature Room, Bubble Swords, and Famous Last Words of Dating

May 20, 2010

Since have four hours to kill on my way to DC, let’s catch up on my travels.

Chicago…Part 2.  So we left off with a nap.  I wake up to see Allison in a black dress and turquoise tights.  She says we are going to THE Signature Room.  Not just any room…this is the fancy shmansy restaurant/lounge on top of the John Hancock building..where people go to the bathroom not to powder their noses, but for an incredible (and seriouslyincredible) view of the city.  At this point I don’t put two and two together, and remain dressed in my jeans, sneakers, and t-shirt.  I mean, it’s not like Allison was particularly classy, but I was definitely underdressed for this night on the town.  Don’t worry ended with pizza and karaoke (I just ate…mostly to avoid singing). 

Before we went to THE Signature Room, Allison showed me some other awesome sights of the city.  And she also brought along her bubble sword.  Yes.  It was a sword, filled with dish soap, attached to a wand that you can blow bubbles through.  This is now in mostly every picture from my visit to Chicago.  I feel I should preference this with the fact that Allison has been refered to as “a 13-year-old boy” at times by a mutual friend of ours.  Perhaps this is true.  Okay, fine. It is true. And this only means that when we hang out I also act like a 13-year-old boy.  What?  When I was 13, and a boy, life was grand! I just want to relive the good ol’ days.  Basically we are just two goof balls together. 

So bubble sword in hand…we visited the University of Chicago campus (totally puts my alumni’s campus to shame…even though we still have a better mascot..go cocks!), a park that I don’t remember the name of but it had a cool fountain, her new office building, her old office building (the new one is infinitely cooler looking), Millenium Park, The Bean, and finally the John Hancock building.  This would be a perfect place for a picture.  Too bad.  I’ll post some when I get back to Jersey.

At THE Signature Room we had to wait in a line to get into the elevator.  A line for the elevator! Who does that? Well, it gave us ample time to stare at and judge the people in their fancy dresses and suits anxiously awaiting their fancy overpriced dinner.  Let me remind you I was still in a t-shirt and jeans.  It’s okay though..there were some other people in jeans.  The dining room was for the people who remembered where the hell they were going that night and decided to dress up…the lounge was for people like me.  So when we got up to the lounge we waited on another line before we finally got two seats at the bar.  Now if you go to a fancy place like this it is only right to order fancy drinks.   After using “fancy” for the um..4th time in this paragraph I realize I need to broaden my vocabulary.  Anyways, we got our fancy (damnit) drinks and an appetizer.  Let’s take guesses on how much two fancy (crap) drinks and an appetizer at THE Signature Room costs shall we? I will hum (I try to whistle but I’m bad at it) the Jeopardy theme song while you guess….lame guesses.  Fifty bucks.  Ouch.  But totally worth the view in the ladie’s bathroom..even though Allison was a little nauseous from it.  Not from the smell of the bathroom..but from the view. 

So then we were really hungry (go figure..a margarita and some crackers and cheese didn’t fill us up), and decided to get pizza and listen (well, me listen, and Allison sing along) to karaoke.  Evening complete. 

Now the next day I was supposed to have this lunch date with the guy I had dinner with on Thursday night.  However the night before I was one, super exhausted, and two, tired of having to wake up to Allison’s roommate’s cats staring at me each morning I was there.  So when I woke up at, like, 6am on Sunday, I decided to peace out and just drive back to Jersey (it was only 12.5 hours away…or so google maps thought).  I knew Allison wouldn’t care if I left early, but I felt bad for bailing on this lunch date thing.  And this is the part where karma will again bite me in the ass sometime soon I’m sure (however, my track record with guys has majorly sucked in the past two years, so I don’t know if it can get any worse…oh, wait, let me move to a different continent). 

So Thursday night guy.  I texted him and told him I wasn’t feeling well and that I was leaving town early.  And he texts me back “I’m sorry you don’t feel well”, which is all fine and dandy…but then he sends: “You are an amazing and beautiful woman.  I am so happy that you spent some time with me. I’ll miss you.”  Hmm..flattering or creepy? You decide.  Okay, so it is flattering when someone informs you of how attrative they find you, but umm…perhaps this one was a bit much with the “I’ll miss you,” considering our record of interaction includes one drunken night in San Antonio and and a dinner.  I’m trying to put a positive twist on this, but all I could think about when he sent me this was why the hell can’t guys who I actually like send me shit like this?  I think I figured out my dating problem though.  I like a challenge, and men who are too easy don’t intrigue me.  He was too easy.  Not easy like “get in my pants” easy, but he just liked me too quickly.  Famous last words of my dating life…”he just liked me too quickly…that is why we broke up.”

Chicago (Part 1)

May 18, 2010

So I finally made it back to New Jersey last night.  Google informed it would take 12.5 hours.  It took me 11.  This can only mean one of two things, google maps lied to me, or I am a reckless driver.  Google maps has never lied to me, until this day.  Just kidding…I may have been speeding a little.  Speaking of speeding, I just paid my ticket from Arizona.  It cost $80.  But after tacking on all these extra fees, it really cost $122.  Another reason to hate Arizona.

So my last stop was in Chicago, or Chi town (which I think is a stupid name, but whatever), or The Windy City, or the most sprawled out city ever.  You pick which one you like best.

I stayed with my old roommate Allison while I was there.  The first night I had a date with this guy I met in San Antonio who just happened to live in Chicago.  Well I believe it was a date.  There was no outward even attempted leg touch or hand hold (I guess people don’t hold hand anymore, but you know what I mean).  Some may interpret this as “he just not that into you.”  But I don’t think so, and I will explain later.

Okay, so the next day Allison and I journeyed off to Gary, Indiana to see the birthplace of Michael Jackson… Borat pause….NOT. But we did go “hiking” in the sand dunes out there.  Hiking in sand is a lot different from, well, any other hiking experience.  When I was at the Grand Canyon part of the Bright Angel trail was sand (I guess I was by a river) and it was just as challenging as I imagined it would be.  Well, we hiked a bit in the sand dunes, journeyed off the trail a bit to find a short cut to the lake (this is one of those times where I was okay with going off the trail because, well I was surrounded by sand and not very tall trees and could see Chicago in the distance…I wasn’t worried too much about being on an episode of “I shouldn’t be alive” in the near future), and ate some lunch (bagels with cream cheese and cucumbers– this is very typical Allison lunch…did I mention she is Jewish and from NY? Perhaps that explains it).  Anyways, after that we met up with one of my friends I met in Botswana for happy hour.

Happy hour started around 4pm.  It ended about 5 hours later.  We met my friend Carol, who is probably the best story teller I have ever met, and also has the best Chicagoan accent I have ever heard.  And her friends were pretty awesome too.  My glass never seemed to be empty, as we switched to pitchers at some midpoint of the evening…and then we decided to order pizza.  The bartender just happened to have a whole portfolio of places we could order from that would deliver to this bar.  This is very strategic thinking…because now we didn’t have much of an excuse to leave, and an even better excuse to drink more.  So we order the typical deep dish Chicago pizza, which after we consumed all of it, I was informed that it wasn’t that great anyways.  I had to be informed it wasn’t great.  That is how clueless I can be about food sometimes.  For the most part I will eat anything, or at least try it..except Taco Bell.  I’ve never eaten there and I’m completely content with my life if I never do.  But anyways, when it comes to stuff like pizza, burgers, normal all American food… you can’t really mess it that much.   I’m not going much further with this let’s move onto the next day.

The ZOO!! Who doesn’t love the zoo? We saw penguins (yay!), lion, zebra (which aren’t as impressive anymore after I was inches away from several in Africa…sorry to be awesome like that), gorillas, baboons, rhino, flowers, and I had a coffee (it was cold that morning).  Then we went for lunch at a local brewery that I can’t remember the name of because I suck.  Allison and I had these delicious veggie burgers!  Homemade, so many veggies, and to top it off (literally) they put salsa on top! I’m now putting salsa on top of all my burgers, veggie or not…it was genius.  Then I went home and took a nap.  That is how good the food was, and how tired I have become on this trip.