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Review: Skypro Limited

As I’ve mentioned in prior posts, it’s not all glamour and travel as an expat. Sometimes you have take care of business and get things fixed. A few weeks ago, my old Mac just stopped working.

Hmmm…what do I do? Well, this is something that’s a pain in the tush even back home. How do I take care of this in Nairobi?

It was easy. Really. So easy.

I called Abraham at Skypro Limited. (You can message me if you want Abraham’s direct line.) They took care of everything.

Because I am sometimes too lazy to put on pants and leave my house, I had them come pick up the Mac. A messenger came via boda boda (here’s where you have to put your trust in the universe and just go with it) and picked up my laptop. Abraham confirmed when he had it in front of him.

A couple days later, he contacted me to let me know what needed to be fixed, the cost, and estimated time. It wouldn’t take long at all. The cost was incredibly reasonable. And then, when it was ready, he called to arrange to deliver it back me.

It arrived via boda boda and everything was working again. Like I said, so easy!

The service was well prices, efficient, and very professional. I cannot recommend Skypro enough! They are amazing! If you have a Mac that needs some TLC, Skypro will take care of you.

 

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Paul Ryan Needs Postcards

A note about Paul Ryan: Democratically elected U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan has turned off all of his public telephones and fax machines due to overwhelming protests in favor of Obamacare/ACA, Planned Parenthood, and Medicare, other issues such as tax returns, etc. He is also turning away voters delivering signed petitions. And he refuses to hold any town hall meetings. 

Please mail postcards to his HOME address:
Paul Ryan

700 St. Lawrence Ave.

Janesville, WI 53545

Please paste and copy this info and share. Let’s see what 67 million cards in the driveway looks like.

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The Awkwardness of Saying Hello

I have friend back home. Let’s call her Kelly*. Kelly is originally from California. Kelly is a hugger. I am a New Yorker. I don’t touch people.

It took a while to get used to greeting Kelly. My usual verbal greeting would not suffice. Handshakes, fist bumps, high fives, none of that would work. She went in for the hug. I mean real hugs, not the quick 5 second hugs. I used to joke that saying hello to her involved getting to second base.

I do hug some people, close friends and family. Kelly is now a very good friend. I’ve accepted her cultural values of greeting people by West Coast Make Out Hug. Little did I know that this would be good practice for me.

I now have to physically interact with people in order to say hello. There is touching. There is a lot of touching. I am not yet used to it.

I’m trying. I’m really working on it. I think I can do the hug. I now know that I pretty much have to always hug. I’ve accepted it. I can do it.

What I still haven’t figured out is the kiss. Yes, there is kissing. And here’s the thing: everyone does it differently and I am supposed to just know how each variation. You see, it’s not just learning how to hug/kiss/greet people in the host country.

As an expat, you are surrounded by other expats as well as locals. You have to become fluent in greeting people from every culture. If you’re like me (not a natural hugger) it’s quite an adjustment. Also, it’s a bit tricky.

Sometimes, it’s two kisses. Sometimes it’s three. I recently learned that the Swiss do three. I feel I need some sort of cheat sheet so that I can know how to say hello correctly.

I tried to come up with my own version to limit actual touching. However, I was told that the Boca Air Kiss would not suffice and I should really stop embarrassing myself. I have to do the side of the cheek kiss on each cheek during the hug (or three, or whatever).

Like I said, I’m learning. I’m adjusting. But I still feel like this inside:

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*It’s possible that Kelly may be her real name.

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Making a Shift

Moving to another another country is obviously a big life change. But, sometimes, along with that change are other changes that have nothing to do the move, yet are affected by it. I’m going through one of those changes.

Work has not been the most important thing in my life, yet it has been pretty important and my career is what has always taken center stage and taken up the most time. When I first moved here my first step was to start looking for work—actually I started the job search even before I moved here.

The thing is, even back in New York, I was at a point where I wanted to shift things a little in my career. That got put on the back burner once I moved. Now it’s coming back in the forefront. How I work through that shift here is different from how I would have handled it back home.

Same issue, but it requires a different approach in a different environment. In New York, the change would have been more tied solely to professional changes. In Nairobi, it’s a more holistic change because it affects a bigger part of my life.

I’m still working. I haven’t abandoned my clients, just doing less. I’m scaling back and reassessing some things. I’m taking some time to figure out how I want to work going forward, the type of work I do, the level of engagement, and so forth. (That part is the same.) I’m also figuring out my new work-life balance.

I’m taking more time for life. I’ve been here a year-and-a-half and I’m just now making friends. This is all on me. I was too busy working to go out and be social. It has been really isolating.

That is changing. I’m making time for people. I’m making time to go out. And, I’m exploring more of my other interests. For the first time in my life, I’m going to work less invest more time in my own well being and social life.

It’s not easy to do. I feel guilty because there are so many women here who want to work but can’t or have had to take a lesser post (and here I am choosing to do less). I feel like I should be working non-stop (yes when I type it out and read it I see how toxic that sentiment is).

It’s an adjustment for me. But, I think it’s a good thing.

 

 

 

Moving House

We’re moving house soon. While the house we’re currently in is okay, we needed to move. The main reason is security (after a little over a year, the security for the estate/compound/community overall still did not meet UNHCR’s security requirements). So, we’re going to a safer place that meets the standards.

We’ll still be in a gated community, but it’ll be a larger one and each house within the community is a stand-alone house. The overall compound is gated and has patrols. Plus, we’ll have a guard at our house. Also, the house itself is bigger and in much better condition. This is a good move.

I know I gave a list of tips for renters a while back. Here’s a list of things I wish I knew before I moving into the first house:

  • No matter the size of your yard, you’ll need a gardener. So why not go ahead an have a lovely garden? I’m looking forward to this in the new house.
  • Being in a gated community isn’t necessarily safer than a stand-alone house. It all depends on the quality of the security of the community.
  • The quality of your neighbors matter. I originally wanted a community so that I’d have neighbors. In New York, I knew my neighbors and we helped each other. The community we’re in now…there are three or four nice people. The rest are actually quite nasty. I’m grateful and will stay friends with those nice families. The rest, I can’t wait to be rid of them.
  • Make sure the borehole is operational or that there is backup water. The place we’re leaving has a borehole but there is a lawsuit that prevents the community from using the borehole. Our landlord didn’t tell us about the lawsuit until after we moved in. We’ve had to buy water a few times as a result. And now, with Nairobi rationing water, we have to buy even more because we only get city water on certain days.
  • Dealing directly with landlords as you house hunt is better than going through an agent. Price negotiations are about the same, but there are other things you can better negotiate directly. For example, if you’re directly communicating you can work in things like painting in a specific color, or additions, or back up power, etc.
  • It’s a lot of work, but one of the best ways to find what you want is to drive around the area you want to live in. You’ll see signs for houses to lease. A lot of those houses never even make it up to the agents. We found our new house while driving around. It hadn’t even hit the market. (We went to look at one place, but it was taken. The caretaker there told us of another place and hopped in our car. He directed us to another place that wasn’t on the market yet but would be soon. Then he walked us around and gave us the owner’s name and contact information.)

I’ll write more after we move, including a review of the movers we intend to use. In the meantime, wish me luck as I pack up and then settle back in again after the move.