Saturday, May 23, 2009

Rummage Sale

The alarm clock blared at 6 am this morning. I actually got out of bed at 6:20 and our Saturday morning song by the Eels had never been played so early.

"It's Saturday morning, who's gonna play with me? It's 6 in the morning baby, and I got a long long day ahead of me."

Downstairs, 2 cardboard boxes sat filled to the brim with our stuff. Stuff we had accumulated during our time here -- mostly kitchen things, and stuff we didn't want to lug back to the states, freeing up valuable kilos for the trek home.

Our taxi driver arrived at 7:30 on the dot and we were out the door. We arrived at a local mission and set up on one of the few remaining tables. Rob helped me dump everything out and we started arranging and pricing right away as some early birds were already making rounds hoping to catch the good stuff before the doors officially opened. I asked Rob if he remembered our last yard sale. We were in East Point, we were moving, we had a ton of stuff to sale, and we were both suffering from a classified "mild" reaction to immunizations we received the previous day. Oh, we were so sore, nauseated, shaking with chills, and felt kinda out of it the whole day. It got worse and worse until we both ended up on an air mattress on the floor in the living room while people poked around in our stuff. I was so glad to have Rob's parents there to help us! We would have had to cancel the sale had they not been there.

I really enjoy yard sales. It's so fun to me to sit out in a chair and talk to people, make signs, have a money pouch, etc. But I must admit, it's also just a lot of fun to get money for things you want to get rid of. I can't wait to be on the shopping end when we get to Lancaster. If I'd had a goal in mind for our day's profit, it would be to recoup most of the cost of my internet modem and the one trip we made to T2000 (the chinese store) when we first moved into our house - Rob's goal was to get enough money to have one more dinner at Khana Khazana. Either way, it was going to be a fun day of hanging out with friends.

The lady at the table next to ours was selling homemade bagels in addition to her rummage sale treasures and rob and I each bought one for 300 RWF a piece and coffees from some cute girls at the entrance (their version of a lemonaid stand I guess) for 200 RWF. It was a wonderful breakfast. Later in the morning we bought some mollasses cookies from the same girls and the cookies tasted like Christmas. I have to get the recipe before we leave.

We couldn't resist doing a little bit of shopping too, while we were there. Rob bought a card game, "Mille Bornes" for 1000 RWF. A game I tell him I had as a kid but he refuses to believe I could be that cool. And I traded some sauce packets for 4 hair scarves. Actually, the lady just gave me the hair scarves, but I insisted she take something from my table. I've secretly always wanted to wear hair scarves, but I didn't think I could pull off "the look". But today, I felt brave and I'm rockin' the hair scarf.

Our total profit for the day - 62, 500 RWF. Pretty good considering we came home with a card game, scarves, bagel bellys, an unsold internet modem, and some other miscellaneous items. We're not done selling yet, either. I'm going to list a few things on our country's version of Craigslist and try to sell the others at my last bible study next month. I think I'll meet my goal before it's all over.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Other Uses for 'Sale Math'

Ladies, have you ever hit a good sale and went a little overboard, and before you know it your at the register and, whoops. Most of the time, when this happened to me my "sale math" was to blame

It's especially bad when a girl friend's with you and you confirm each other's bad math. Sale math really hurts you during the kind of sales where you buy 4 blouses and get 1 pair of trousers free. So you subtract the regular (outrageous) sale price of the pants from all 4 blouses, calculate how cute you'll look in them and how useful they'll be in your wardrobe, decide it's almost worth it, and then the sales lady says, "Oh, and did I tell you, If you buy over $150 dollars worth you'll get and extra 20% off". You get so excited; only thinking of how much your saving but absolutely blind to the costs. So you pick out a nice jacket and.. begin again with the math. When I was single these sales would get me every time, every time. I'm a HUGE sucker for that kind of 'sale'. Since I've been married though, we haven't done much shopping and I've only had to "sale math" my way out of one such experience. Rob totally didn't get my math, he's way too logical. No wonder you mostly see only women's clothing stores offering sales that appeal to our innate 'sale math' tendencies.

I know I'm getting a little itchy to find an apartment because I've began using the same logic with our rent... it's all heading south. Recently, we agreed on the monthly rent we'd both be okay spending. Actually, we tried to go under the 30% rule, both picked figures in our heads and came out with the exact same deal - rent with a major utility (HEAT!) hopefully included.

But recently, I was thinking. Say we get into an apartment and we don't like it! That's a broken lease penalty of a month's rent, a uhaul, time and effort of looking for a new place, etc. What if we take that amount and just add it to the amount we were originally going to spend... Sounds reasonable, right? Or! What if we were planning to stay in a hotel for the first month while we looked for an apartment. Whoa, we can add a lot to the amount we originally agreed on and pick from the plethora of expensive apartments now. Or, how about we price out how much value we place on certain features. For instance, I'd totally be willing to up our monthly rent if it meant we'd have a yard, extra bedroom, or the ability to have a pet.

Fortunately or not, sale math does not work on husbands. After my presentation, "We're going to be patient" was the resulting concensus. You're right, probably is the best decision. Way to go not being swayed by tempting 'sale math', husband.

I'm Failing Apartment Hunting 101

How does one shop for an apartment a half a world away? Any good ideas? We've been scouring Craigslist for the past week and it seems that we're either sketchy prospective tenants because we're in Africa, too late to catch the good deal, or we're the perfect candidates for the generic 2 bd/2 ba and we just need to send in credit reports, social security numbers, and money....

We're getting a little trigger happy with our apartment hunting as well, which doesn't mix well with scamming attempts. Even after we confirmed our latest apartment love was a scam, Rob returned the scammers email asking for a picture of the back yard. It was a really beautiful apartment. Almost worth the scam.

Since these run-ins with scammers, I've assumed the role of vigilante and have been flagging apartment listings left and right on Craigslist. If we were in Atlanta (or anywhere in the States) I'd give Clark Howard a call and he would sound the alarm. By the way, my apologies if your apartment listing wasn't actually a scam....

If any one knows of a good way to shop for an apartment (a legitamate apartment) in a city to which they are not "local". I'm all ears to hear suggestions.

Or, if anyone knows of an apartment on the upper east or west side of Lancaster on Orange, Walnut, Lemon, Chestnut or James; we'd definitely be interested, as those are my favorite streets. -- Please no inticing scams or outrageously expensive apartments as my fragile heart can't withstand it.

Monday, May 11, 2009


An entry of pictures. This is our recent trip to Akagera National Park.

Tortilla Night

In a far, far away land, where Mexican food does not exist...

sometimes you have to improvise.

My mom sent some fajita seasoning packets through the mail, and Rob and I were all set to enjoy a Mexican night at home, but then, I remember we have no tortillas and no Kroger down the street to provide said tortillas.

What's a girl to do with a tortilla-less Mexican night? I pulled out my 'Cookin' in Kigali' recipe book and got to work making my own flour tortillas.

Flour, margarine, baking soda, salt and water. That's it. mix it all up, knead it, divide it into 12 balls, roll them out as thin as you can and then fry in a dry skillet.

A lot of work! Rob liked them and I thought they were okay, much more chalupa-like than tortilla, in my opinion. Next time I'll have to roll them out thinner. Next time? I think I'll just wait for another Mexican night until we have a grocery store nearby.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Back in Rwanda

We landed in Kigali around 7pm April 28th. I spent the next few days recovering from jet lag and a cold. Life is now returning back to our version of normal and I'm really happy having had the chance to visit home. It was great to see family although much much to short to get everything in.

Sunday morning as we flew through Atlanta on our way to Philly we were able to grab a Popeye's chicken biscuit and Sunday paper. Oh, that one hour layover - drinking coffee, reading the paper, in the bustling of an early Sunday morning airport scene was one of the things I enjoyed most while home.

Rob returned to playing ultimate yesterday, I'm still on the DL. Although thanks to my nifty new brace I'm healing faster than ever. Our ultimate group has changed locations to a secondary school up the hill from where we used to play. Students come out in droves to learn the game.

We've been playing a lot of Dutch Blitz lately, a card game Rob got in his goodie bag at the directors' retreat, and we're back to having nothing new to watch. We went through season 4 of House and Season 1 of the Big Bang Theory in about a week. Good thing a new Lost will come on Wednesday which means we'll hopefully have it for Friday night.