Category: Travel

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Painless short trips – Sondjo style

I am a planner, but I hate putting shit away. My husband is a fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants kind of guy, but can’t stand a mess or a disorganized room. Between the two of us, we’ve finally got our (short) trip routine down to a science. Or at least, as much of a science as it can be with toddlers in tow. I usually take care of the up front planning and packing,...

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Malaria Meds and the Foreign Service

Malaria.  Yikes.  Scary.  Especially when you have kids.  And for whatever reason, easy to understand information on the options for prophalxis for FS families can be hard to to find.  I got an email a few weeks ago asking my opinion, and since, as my loyal readers know, I am a woman of STRONG opinions, I thought I’d turn the email exchange into a blog post (with my interlocutor’s permission,...

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Happy Independance Day!

What an amazing way to celebrate the Fourth. The last time I was in the States for Independence Day, I was in college. Since then, I’ve elebrated as a Peace Corps Volunteer, as an entrepreneur abroad, as a local hire at a U.S. Embassy in Cotonou, in Freetown as the GSO (logistician-in-chief), and now, back in the States as a plain-old-regular American Citizen. Lemme tell you, it is AMAZING celebrating...

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Crystal City Farmer’s Market

One of the best things about living in Crystal City is the amazing farmer’s market.  Sure, it’s for rich yuppies who have more many than sense, but I live in NoVa, so that’s basically everything here. Every Tuesday, from 3:30 to 7:30, about two dozen vendors line a shady sidewalk to hawk their wares.  There are lots of organic vegetables, but also artisanal cheeses, breads, and yes, delicious pickles. Even...

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What’s the ONE thing you always pack in your suitcase when PCSing?

  I can’t live without coffee. More precisely, my family doesn’t want to live WITH me, if I can’t have coffee in the mornings. And good coffee is hard to get in a lot of places in the world. Like a rest stop in London. WTH? How is it that hotels in London only offer Nescafe and other variants of instant coffee in their rooms? THAT IS NOT ACCEPTABLE COFFEE...

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Good-bye, Seattle

Last day in Seattle. It feels like it should have been a whirlwind trip, but getting two extra days here really made a difference in how relaxed we are. Case in point, I am at a cafe this morning, drinking a delicious latte and typing this blog post. I have been surprised at what an amazing city Seattle is for kids. Last night, we said good-bye to Liz and Mike...

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On election night parties.

Election night indeed. When informed that the Ambassador would be throwing an election night party at his house from 10:30 at night to 3:00 in the morning, I cheerfully told the CLO exactly what I thought of that idea. Boy was I wrong. My “job” during the party was to explain the electoral college. I had a blast explaining to Sierra Leoneans, Brits, Kiwis, and yes, even Americans, exactly how...

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Rants and raves about raising a baby in Freetown

Every eight weeks or so, I get a barrage of emails about raising small children in Freetown. I suspect that it’s closely linked to how often Freetown shows up on A-100 bid lists. In any case, I brought Freetown’s youngest baby since kids were allowed to come back in 2010. Jasmine came over at 10 weeks, and we haven’t regretted it for a moment. Just remember that I write this...

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I like snails. Eating them, that is.

Allada is famous for its escargot (snails). Every well to do traveler stops there on their way up North. Only an hour outside of Cotonou, it’s an ideal place to buy food for the rest of the trip. Or, if you’re Jean Marc, Helene, Bertrand, and myself, an ideal place to waste an hour drinking beer while eating delicoius snails, snail eggs, and fried cheese.