Thanks Emirates. 1 Day in Dubai

A 22 hour layover in Dubai on my way to America translated into a free day trip with my hotel on Emirates’ tab. I was exhausted, but I couldn’t waste this opportunity on sleep. I did nap for a couple hours, hopped in the beautiful hotel shower, did my makeup to attempt to not look out of place with the Dubai beauties and hit the town.

Dubai is HOT. Whatever hot place you’ve lived in or traveled to does not compare with Dubai’s heat. WOWZERS. Luckily you don’t have to stay in the heat long. This is not a town people walk around, they get in their luxurious well air conditioned cars and quickly enter a luxurious and well air conditioned building. Even the taxi I took was luxurious and it smelled so good. It smelled how I imagine Idris Elba or an equally modelesque man must smell.

I went to the Dubai Museum and learned about the development of the country. Dubai is a very young country. The Museum had several exhibits dedicated to beautiful jewelry and handmade clothes, so yeah I was in heaven. After the museum I went on a hunt to find the fabric souk. It was a beautiful and completely overwhelming experience to do by myself. I didn’t stay long, before my trip my aunt warned me that women don’t tend to wander alone, this was true…and I started to feel awkward…so I found myself in a sea of throw pillows in a fancy hotel that had wi-fi to wait for my friends arrival. The lack of free wi-fi I found ironic for a country that appears so wealthy, it’s something I hope they change very soon.

I met up with Shakira, a family friend who lives in Abu Dhabi, and her a family and they showed me the town. We went to the Dubai mall and the hours flew by. In the Dubai mall I got Garrett’s popcorn, a Chicago delicacy, and had dinner at The Cheesecake Factory. The Dubai Mall was all of America in one place. They have an incredible aquarium. I love aquariums. I spent a minimum of 6 hours in the mall and it felt like minutes.

Before I knew it it was time to head back to the hotel to pick up my bags to go to the airport. Even though I arrived at the hotel later than my check out time I still squeezed in another shower and it was completely worth the angry call I received from the front desk.

Thanks Emirates!

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My Visit to America

I went to America in June a week or so after my 1 year anniversary of living in Kenya. It was a much needed homecation. I flew into DC and that moment of readjustment some volunteers talk about was not necessary, as soon as I saw my friends it was almost as if I had never left. Not sure if that’s good or bad.

I think I’ve said this before but my friends are AMAZING. My friends, the dynasty, threw an elaborate cocktail party in Rochee’s perfectly decorated apartment catered by a professional chef to celebrate my visit.  The menu? Crab deviled eggs. Lobster mac n cheese. Cornbread muffins with a collard green filling. Chicken and waffles. I could go on but that really doesn’t seem fair. I’m obsessed with upscale soul food and I love when someone is able to add a new take on a classic. Kudos to the chef. Double kudos to my friends.

The timing of my visit was perfect. I was able to meet up with my H.O.P.E. family to scout venues for our 3rd anniversary event. Missing H.O.P.E. events comes in 3rd place for cause of sadness right after missing family and friends. It was so nice to jump in and be a part of a major accomplishment for our organization.

Of course I went back and visited all my friends at my pre-PC job Banner & Witcoff. Oh man, it was like old times. I was so fortunate to have an amazing supervisor and so many friends during my 4 years at the firm…I mean they have to be awesome to make intellectual property fun.

DC was just the start of my journey, I spent the majority of my time at home in Oakland, CA. My mission was to see family and friends, help get my brother prepared to start community college, and eat all my favorite foods. I think I would claim victory for all three categories.

Jetlag hit me in CA. I was tired and so appreciative of everyone who understood and let me rest a bit, unfortunately that cost me a few visits with some family and friends.

I went skating with my cousin wearing matching outfits, and by skating I mean I put on skates and hung on the sideline while she grooved around the rink. She convinced a couple of really nice guys to skate slowly with me while I held on to their arms for dear life. I had a blast.

I returned to DC for my last hoorah before returning to Kenya. I did a lot in a relatively short period of time. Visiting home was refreshing and it made me excited about continuing my work. I took pride in telling people about the work I did in Kenya. I took pride in truly believing that I am doing something that I think will make the world a better place. And it was home that made me realize that Kenya has changed me for the better.

DC: Cocktail Party

DC Cocktail Party: warm greetings

DC: Cocktail Party, The Dynasty

DC Cocktail Party: The Dynasty

DC: Cocktail Party, crab deviled eggs  cornbread and collard green muffin

DC Cocktail Party: crab deviled eggs and cornbread and collard green muffin

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DC Cocktail Party: chicken and waffles

DC Cocktail Party

DC Cocktail Party

DC Copper Canyon: Beef medallion salad with sesame dressing

DC Copper Canyon: Beef medallion salad with sesame dressing

DC Creme Brunch: shrimp and grits

DC Creme Brunch: shrimp and grits

DC: The H.O.P.E. Team

DC: The H.O.P.E. Team

CA: skate night

CA: skate night

CA: theme park

CA: theme park

Masai Mara Safari

A couple weeks ago we took off our volunteer hats and put on our tourist hats. We took a safari on Kenya’s famous wild life park, Masai Mara. Fun fact, the Masai Mara and the Serengeti are the same park only separated by country borders.

4 days in the park gave us the opportunity to see so many animals and as if a part of a scheme organized by the animals each day topped the day before.

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croc 1 DSC09702 DSC09760 elephant 1 elephant 2

DSC09401 giraffe 1 giraffe 2 guineafowl 1 hippo 1 hippo 2 leopard 1 lion 1 lion 2 lion 3 lion 4 lion 5 topi zebra 2 zebra 3lion feastlandscape panny