Of Water Guns and Top Ten Lists.

Matt after getting doused by the SP.

Yesterday, Matt Schneider turned 23! Clearly that was the only excuse all of us on staff needed to steal away and celebrate for a

The birthday kid and I right before heading downtown for his birthday dinner yesterday.

couple of hours. We took Matt to the nicest [read: only] Italian restaurant in Dakar-a cute little place called Café de Rome. I think the SP staff were mildly ecstatic at the chance to eat something that did not entail fish or rice! After dinner, all of us headed back to the hotel where the SP had [unbeknownst to Matt] decorated the lobby, managed to track down a French vanilla concoction masquerading as birthday cake, and filled up about a million water guns. Matt innocently sauntered into the lobby and was immediately doused-happy birthday, kid!

In other news, I fly home in four weeks and six days! Christy and I move into our new, not-quite-so-ghetto apartment this coming Monday, and apparently the SP men are going to come lug all of our stuff to our new apartment for us! That elevates them to hero-status in my mind-those sweet guys are turning what would have been an all-day affair into about a half-hour process.  About two and a half weeks after Christy and I move, my team and I are heading off  with the SP to do some work in Senegalese villages. What all of that boils down to is that time is going to quickly fly and I’ll be hopping on a plane before I know it! It’s starting to hit me that it’s almost time to go home-yesterday morning on skype, Danielle and I started figuring out some sort of “I’m home!” dinner so that I can see all of my NC friends at once. It’s absolutely unbelievable to me that it’s about time to start planning something! [So North Carolina friends—get ready. I want to see all of you!]

 Confession: I sometimes slip into daydreams about the things that I miss from home during particularly dull meetings or exhaustingly endless, hot afternoons. A perfect storm of the two of those things several days ago gave me a brilliant excuse to pen a top ten list of non people related things that I am silly excited about…

Top 10 List

1.Running to Breugger’s Bagels and Seattle’s Best Coffee in the NY airport for a toasted onion bagel with plain cream cheese and a large skinny caramel latte with whip. Mmmm.

 2. A steaming hot, apple scented bubble bath. Actually, I should expand this to simply being clean. I can’t wait for a hot shower [though, come to think of it, I get one in less than a week when Christy and I move!], and a washing machine to wash every scrap of clothing I own in. I may wash everything twice for good measure!

3. Getting my hair cut. I know that’s girly-but that’s just it. You don’t get to be girly in Dakar. Which is fine, but the heels and dresses are making a comeback this summer!

4. Going to Southpoint [my favorite mall] for shopping and chocolate chip cookie dough cheesecake from the cheesecake factory.

Christy and Katie after going to town on each other with the water guns. Note Katie's expression.

5. Seeing a movie in a theatre. Here in Dakar, Christy and I spend anywhere from seven to forty eight hours downloading movie rentals off of itunes.

6. Driving on 751-a really beautiful, back country road that I take to get from my parent’s house in Cary to the Chapel Hill area, where some of my best friends still live. And with that, country radio! Something about summertime simply begs for winding, back country roads, bare feet, windows rolled all the way down and Tim McGraw cranked all the way up.

7. Cooking! I love to cook-it’s going to be really fun to have variety in the foods I eat, and a kitchen to cook in. Sautéed spinach, here I come!

8. Long afternoons in coffee shops curled up in an overstuffed armchair with a stack of excellent books.

 9. Smelling grass-really, just seeing all of the beautiful green in North Carolina! Senegal is so dirty and brown. Along the same lines, I can’t wait for weather that’s not simply sunny and hot. I have had the same day every day since moving to Dakar-I’m ready to mix it up with some rain and [be still my beating heart] the very beginning of some breathtaking, chilly fall weather right before I fly back to Dakar in October!

10. Walking around UNC’s campus. It really is one of the most gorgeous, incredible places in the whole world. [And it doesn’t hurt that you can get the best white pizza in the entire world at Franklin Street Pizza and Pasta…]


  1. Kristin says:

    So, one of those coffee times better include me!

  2. Well, duh. :) I can’t wait!

  3. NotBenOber says:

    I have an inside tip about #3. Your split ends are stressing out your teammates. FYI.

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