Month: August 2015

A Rough Start to House Hunting with a Zen Finish

We kicked off the house hunt! I don’t mean just the research, but actually going to see homes. The first place we saw was in a nice gated community in a good location for us. Unfortunately, it was not all that great. The area for the stove, I mean cooker, was odd. You would have to squeeze into a narrow slot to reach the stove, and you wouldn’t be able to easily open the oven door. That was the immediate deal breaker. Also, the laundry room didn’t have a sink – another deal breaker. On top of that, the house overall wasn’t in great condition. I’m hoping to see better places as we continue our hunt. We may wind up in an apartment since a lot of those are newer and thus have modern kitchens and bathrooms. I’m hoping we’ll find a house and simply trade off having a mature garden in exchange for the kitchen and bath. (Mature garden = the trees in the garden are grown, thus also an older house.) After seeing two places in the complex …

Staying Fit

When we were researching temporary housing, we knew we’d need a gym. I’d go crazy without one. I was prepared for the worst (lots of Pinterest research and creating a board just for hotel room workouts). But, I really wanted a place with some kind of gym. We found a couple places in the area we needed to be in (or thought we needed to be in – but that is another story) and they both had gyms. Success! We were pretty excited when we saw that the complex we chose had a spin bike in their gym. Yippee! I was naive to think that it would work. In fact, it’s not the only piece of equipment that doesn’t work. The elliptical trainer and two stepper type things are also inoperable. There are two working treadmills, but sometimes they randomly don’t work. My grand plan of doing high intensity interval training in between weight workouts as my fitness routine is not going to be possible. I’ll have to figure out something. I’ll use the treadmills when I can. On …

88mph

A Visit to 88mph and iHub

I want to keep work separate from this blog. However, I find myself in a bit of a gray area. As a designer, design is part of who I am. In that vein, I’m going to share a bit that’s work-related. On Monday, I went, guided by the smart and helpful Wallace (thank you!!), to 88mph and to iHub. The goal was to get a sense of both places, meet some people, and start to connect with the design and tech community in Nairobi. I won’t go into the details, and both are much more than what I’m describing here, but overall they are both incubators and collaboration spaces. Both are filled a ton of creative energy and really smart people. Even the initial introduction reawakened my design senses. We were able to spend more time at iHub and got more of a tour. Here are some pictures from their UX Lab. Take note of the whiteboards and post it notes (love at first sight for me). It was great to go see both places …

The First Real Weekend in Nairobi

This past weekend was technically my second here, but I consider it the first real one, after spending a full week in Nairobi. It was filled with exploring neighborhoods, errands (yes, more Nakumatt!), and some fun thrown in. Here are the fun bits. Driving around was awesome. It sounds as though it should be mundane, but it was really beautiful. We are house hunting and the main areas we’re looking at are north of the city. It’s really pretty in that area. The best way to describe would be quiet and green. I’m pretty sure that’s the area we’ll live in and I look forward to being there. On Friday night we went to a seafood restaurant in Westlands called Ocean Basket. It’s located in The Oval (one of the many malls/shopping centers in Nairobi). The restaurant had cool, laid back vibe. Service was great. The food was excellent. As you can see, I had no trouble clearing my plate. (I broke my rule of not taking pictures of my food, but I’ll allow it this one time.) Saturday, in …

Oven with the top up

Learning How to Cook – Adventures at Altitude with an Unfamiliar Ovens

I know how to cook. I’m pretty good at it. Well, this was true up until my arrival in Nairobi. At first I thought all I would need to do is look up Fahrenheit to Celsius conversion. That part wasn’t so hard. I compared a bunch of tables that I found online. They varied slightly but were close enough for me to know what degree setting I needed. Then I realized that Nairobi, at 5,500 feet, is at a high altitude. (I believe anywhere 3,000 feet and higher is considered high altitude in regard to cooking.) Okay, I’m not baking right now, and that’s the one thing I know is an issue. So, regular dinner that’s not baked goods shouldn’t be any different from what I’m used to, right? Wrong! Altitude affects all cooking. It’s all about the decreased atmospheric pressure. Liquids evaporate faster and boil at lower temperatures. Leavening gases in breads and cakes expand faster. As a result, how you cook food can change in three ways: time, temperature, and recipe. For what I was making …