Thursday, June 30, 2011

A peek into my future

So yesterday I had to accompany my brother to school for a disciplinary meeting. His mother was supposed to go but she had to work and I am the next oldest girl at home. So I was voted to represent mom. The thing is I have not been in a parent teacher meeting since I was a student and I was the one getting in trouble! Even in America I am not totally sure how these things are supposed to go.

My brother Jefferey had a note saying that he had been dodging classes many times and so his parent was needed at the school at 8 am on Tuesday and until then he could not come to school. It seemed strange to me to punish a kid for skipping school by not letting him come to school for a couple days. I got the story from Jeffery and he explained that he had been late for lessons on Friday morning so they would not let him in the classroom. Then Friday afternoon he and 12 other kids did not know there was an afternoon lesson so they had all missed it.

We showed up at the school at 9. One hour late but no one was bothered by this. An administrator immediately started scolding Jeffery and demanded to know where his mother was. I jumped in and said I am his guardian because his mother and father are both busy. Then I was scowled at and Jeffery was scowled at and we were left to wait on a bench while another parent got reamed out for her child's absence on Friday. Jefferey whispered a translation of their conversation to me. The mother was pleading saying that she beats her son all the time but he is still so stubborn. And the teacher was saying you don't beat him enough, discipline is the key to success.

So finally it was our turn and for some reason I was the one who was in trouble. How could I let my son (seriously do they not see the skin color difference?) miss school so many times??? I asked when did he miss school other than Friday? I asked and I asked and I asked. No one could give me an answer. I think in America I would assume that the teacher was telling me the truth. But here.... it seems that they want to be strict and they embellish the reasons for punishment.

Later I realized that I was supposed to be trying to get Jeffery back into the school. It was him and I against the school. They were threatening to kick him out for his "many absences" and I was supposed to plead and insist that I will punish him and they should let him back in. This is how it goes anytime you get into trouble. Your parent is also in trouble and you have to try to get not kicked out of the school. The school which you have already paid for and probably for many people can not afford to pay again somewhere else. So the teacher's embellish what the kid did wrong to prove their case that the kid should not be allowed to return to school because they are such a trouble maker.

Anyways they told Jeffery that he had to write an apology letter and then he was good to go. I had to sign book with lists of other kids names with their parent's signatures. Not once did I promise to beat him when we got home. :) I also managed to not yell at anyone or call them a liar throughout the whole ordeal. So I am going to pat myself on the back for that one.

When Jeffery got home from school that evening he said all the kids were saying that they did not know that he had a white mom. He said yep, my mom is white but I resemble my dad. Never mind the fact that I would have been 13 when I had him! Hopefully my future parent teacher meetings will be more pleasant.

- Kels

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Today was a good day. I hung out with Erin and went swimming for the first time this summer. I initially headed to Palatine (where Kels' parents live and where Erin lives) so that Erin and I could go swimming in her apartment complex's pool. Unfortunately, her pool was closed for cleaning. So we went over to the neighboring apartment complex's pool so that someone would let us in, but no one would let us in! We made eye contact with one woman in particular and I tried to mime with my hands that we forgot our key. She didn't care. She looked away. Erin and I walked like 15 minutes to this pool, we were sweating and this woman wouldn't let us in to the pool. Lame. Then I remembered that there is a community pool in Kelsey's parents' neighborhood. Erin and I got in my car, and headed over to Kelsey's parents' house. On the way we planned all the fun ways we could prank the woman who wouldn't let us in. I'm pretty sure there were water balloons and jello involved. We got to the community pool and literally walked right in. Afterwards, we stopped in to say hi to Kelsey's parents, but only Scotty (her little bro) was home. So, Hi Sally and Todd! I was at your house today! 

It was a lovely day filled with conversation, sunshine, pools, and running stop signs (oops).

Take a gander at my recent cravings. Some women crave french fries, others crave chocolate. I crave clothes and art. If you feel the Spirit moving you to buy me one of the following items (or all of them--who am I to draw limitations on the Holy Spirit?), I promise, I will not complain.

1). Kickass skirt: Isn't it awesome? I love the colors and the fabric seems thin and comfortable.
2). Braided Hair Print: I love prints. Does anyone know how to screen print? Will you teach me?
3). Pearl Ring: I like simplicity and I like pearls. This is a good combination of both.
4). Bird skirt: I like the contrast of the burnt orange and the blue birds.
5). Scarf: Versatile and lovely. I want to wear this with everything.
6). Awesome Coffee Cup: I just recently discovered that I like tea. What a better way to celebrate that than to buy a new mug to hold the tea?
7). Cool Dress: I love the pattern, airiness, and cowl neck. Love.
8). Grey Skirt: I guess I have a thing for skirts? I like this one a lot.
9). Owl with Glasses: In 3rd grade we did a project where we had to look through owl pellets to figure out their diet. It was gross, but I've liked owls since then.
10). JUST KIDDING: This is a classic example of what NOT to buy. No one should ever, EVER buy these. Who thought sequin, skin-tight, short shorts would be a good idea? Let me tell you this: It is not a good idea. DO. NOT. BUY. THESE. SHORTS.
11). St Augustine Quote: I love this quote and the background. I want this on my wall.


Monday, June 27, 2011


This past week was one of those unexpectedly busy weeks. It was a really good week, but much busier than I anticipated.

I mentioned last week that I hosted my sister's baby shower last Sunday.

Monday I had training with Gap.

Tuesday my sister (Tiff) and brother-in-law (Davey) stayed with my husband and I in our apartment. Last weekend was the first time that I've seen my sister since my wedding last August. So it was the first time that they have seen us in our own space and married. It was the first time, for me, to see my big sister pregnant (she looks so beautiful) and in the role of a mother. There are so many new changes, but they are so good. Our husbands hung out and talked music while she and I went out shopping. She was looking for stuff for the baby and a couple of other really specific things. It was nice to have some alone, sister time in the midst of their busy stay in Elgin. It was great to just sit with my husband and talk with my sister and her husband. And it was amazing to feel the little baby moving! They left on Wednesday.

I forget what happened Wednesday.

Thursday I hung out with my friend Rebeca and another friend, Casie, came in from out of town. Casie studied abroad with Kelsey in Uganda, so that's how I know her. I have made so many connections through Kels. Seriously! Casie, Joanna, Kels' family, the list goes on and on. It's interesting to think that if I never knew Kels (or knew her well), I most likely would not have these people in my life. I digress. Casie stopped at my apartment on her way home from her road trip. She taught me how to make homemade notebooks, we watched a movie or something, and we talked about life. It was nice. She left on Thursday.

Friday Frank and I went to a friend's birthday party in Wheaton. We met some really interesting people and had some great conversation. At this party, we were also given swing dancing lessons. Super cool. Then later Friday evening, my friend Margaret arrived from St. Louis for a weekend visit. Visiting with Marge is always lovely, and this time was no exception. We talked, cooked, ate, crafted, napped, and laughed. I love the name Margaret. It's classic and lovely and it's not lacking in the nickname department. I call her Marge, Margot, Maggie, Mags. A name that naturally provides a plethora of other name options is awesome. Way to go Greg and Joanie (her parrents). This visit might be the last time I see her for a while, because next semester she is studying in New York City. I want to go visit her in autumn. Can you imagine New York City in the fall? Mmm, I want. Maggie stayed until Sunday.

While this week was indeed busy, it was also full of friends, laughter, and joy. It was so nice to have so many people I love in my home. If you ever find yourself in the Chicago area and you need a place to stay, mi casa es su casa. Seriously. For realz.


Oh yeah. By the way Kels, keep an eye out for a package coming your way. I mailed out a lil' somethin' somethin' for ya.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The things I carried

This post is in reference to the Poisonwood Bible. The first time I came to Uganda I had to read that book as an assignment before the semester began. It is about the Price family who are missionaries in 1959 in Belgian Congo. There is a chapter early in the book called "The things we carried" about all of the things they packed and how they carried them. I believe they wore all of their clothes on the plane including some of their belongings tied around their necks. When they arrive some of the things they carried are useful and some are ridiculous.

When I got to Uganda for the first time I remember getting to my host home and finding out we had no power. I remember seeing light switches but looking up and seeing no light bulbs. As I unpacked it got darker in the house and I remember unpacking all of my electronics onto the bed. I had two phones, a camera, a computer, a plug in flashlight, an ipod, and a battery charger. I could use none of it at my home. I thought about the Poinsonwood Bible and the things I carried and how ridiculous the situation was.

This is my fourth time to Africa so I carry slightly different things than I did at first. I think in some ways I have become much less practical. For instance I forgot to carry any shoes that are not sandals. I have nothing to walk in when it rains and becomes muddy. I also only brought one flashlight. That is just dumb. Here are some of the things I did remember to carry, practical and not so practical.


My Camelbak waterbottle with a built in filter!
Sunglasses from Free People. Sunglasses are essential for
boda boda rides. Also they are cool.
The few books that I have brought. Books are
Just one pair of the multiple non practical shoes
I brought.
A jewelry box. There is really no need for this. It is almost
empty. But look how pretty!
These tins are from Ikea and they are hella useful. Keeps out
bugs and looks pretty. Gotta find more of these.
My tins are filled with spices, drink mixes, and condiments.
These are probably the most useful things I carried.
A ring from my dad. I am obsessed with this. Its the perfect
My perfect perfume. Just because I am in Africa
doesn't mean I can't smell good. I have never
had a perfume that I love so much.

This K hangs on my wall. I love 3d wall decor.
Flat things are lame.

Paper source calender that I fell in love with when I saw it on
Joanna's wall. If I could go shopping in one person's house it
would be Joanna's.

Friday, June 24, 2011

60 Things I love about Summer

1). drinking hose water
2). ripe fruit
3). full, green trees
4). dresses
5). sunsets
6). bonfires
7). swimming
8). weird tan lines
9). warm rain showers
10). people outside
11). air conditioning
12). bike riding
13). cool summer nights
14). grilling
15). the smell of watermelon
16). bright flowers
17). cold beverages
18). leisure time
19). thunderstorms
20). aloe vera
21). vacations
22). Lakeside
23). top down convertibles
24). laying out
25). summer movies
26). night time walks
27). hearing kids playing outside
28). needing a cardigan in restaurants
29). weddings
30). tank tops
31). frizzy hair
32). open toed shoes
33). no school
34). jeans are too hot
35). visiting friends
36). running outdoors
37). driving with the windows down and music blaring
38). drive-ins
39). crafting
40). sun dried clothes
41). excessive pony-tails
42). the smell of water from the hose
43). (my husband says,) the 4th of July (he loves our independence day)
44). melted ice cream down the face or hands
45). road trips
46). sandals
47). hammocks
48). painted nails
49). star gazing
50). fresh corn
51). fireworks
52). skirts
53). picnics
54). catchy pop songs
55). flying kites
56). swinging
57). (Casie says,) catching toads
58). the smell of cut grass
59). sunglasses
60). life

Am I missing anything? What do you love about summer?
Have a lovely weekend!


Thursday, June 23, 2011

1, 2, 3 contact me. 1, 2, 4 contact me more.

Hello ladies and gentleman. I just wanted to write an update with my contact information. If you feel like calling me, and I hope you do, this is my number


The cheapest way to do it is using a phone card from NobelCom. Or text me. But check with your provider. Or if calling is too expensive you can add me on skype.

Skype username = luvbugkgl

Or if you feel like mailing letters or things this is my address. It is Denis' box so his name has to be on it. But you can put mine under it or in parenthesis or something.

Denis Otim
P.O. box 1563
Jinja, Uganda

In my experience letters do not make it here but packages almost always do. So if you feel like sending a letter stick it in a padded envelope and its almost sure to make it. If you feel like sticking something else in that envelope I do have a request. I miss condiments from America. The ketchup here is so not ketchup (its like Wendy's sweet and sour sauce). Anyways someone gave me the idea of grabbing the packets of condiments from restaurants. They are the perfect size for a meal, they don't need refrigeration, and they are free. I love free. Next time you are at breakfast grab the peanut butter packets and syrup and all that jam and stick them in your purse. Seriously I think the weirder the better. Although ketchup would be really nice. And good mustard. And hot sauce. I'll take anything.

The condiments I brought.

If stealing condiments isn't your thing then send chocolate. But don't steal that. There is not a single decent piece of chocolate in this entire country. It all tastes like wax. Also I would love to have pictures of you. Michelle and Joanna you need to send me new pics of your kids! If you want to get letters from Africa message me your address. I have envelopes stamped and ready.

- Kels

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Current Obsessions


The following are things that I currently love (they're in no particular order, as I try not to play favorites with my favorites):




1). Ohio Necklace: My love for Ohio has not decreased at all since I've moved to Illinois. If anything, it has probably increased.  I'd love to have this necklace with a small house or heart imprint over Norwalk.
2). Melon Necklace: Isn't this necklace adorable? I want to wear it with every single outfit I have.
3). Alexi Murdoch: Have you heard this guy's music? Ohmygoodness, it's so good.
4). The Gap: Alright, guys. Confession time. I might have a problem working at Gap. This whole employee discount thing is not good for my checkbook. I went (again) to Gap today to see if they had any jeans on sale. They did. I bought some. Shhh, don't my husband.
5). Apothecary: I love this. 'Nuff said.
6). Bee Beard Print: This print is lovely and I want to hang it on my wall forever.
7). Desk Lamp Fabric: This fabric is unique and funny. I want to make a wallet or something out of it.
8). Away We Go: Have you seen this movie? Well, you should. It's funny and real and it has an excellent soundtrack (Alexi Murdoch does most of it). I have watched it like 3 times in the past 2 weeks. 
9). Chevron Necklace: I would wear this everyday. every. single. day. 
10). Glow Globe: I have always wanted one of these. I love to travel, I love globes, I love light. This is perfect for me.
11). Drift Embroidery: I love the idea of having embroidery as home decor. I fully intend on making this myself.
12). Sunglasses: My husband generally loathes big framed sunglasses. But I adore them. They take me back to a different, simpler, carefree time.

Feel free to buy me anything from this list and I will love you forever.
Have a happy Wednesday!


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Yes, Please!

My sister's baby shower was on Sunday and boy, am I glad it's over. That sounds really bad, but you might not know that I hate Hate HATE planning, coordinating, and orchestrating events (granted, I haven't had that much experience planning events, but still). For my sister's shower, I baked and cooked for three whole days, I made that cute bunting, and I worried about what games to play, if people would show up, etc. But the shower was great! My sister really enjoyed it, the games were tasteful, and I made way too much food.

Yesterday, I started training at Gap. Yeah, that's right, I finally got a job. I watched some training videos, filled out some paperwork, and bought some clothes. My first day I bought new clothes. But you would have gotten some new clothes, too! There was a final 50% off already on Sale items. And I get an additional 10% off sales, that's 60% off sale items. $20 shirt for $4? Yes, please!


p.s. Kels, to answer your question, I chose glasses #4. I just need to order them.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Birthday Photos

Sarah did you ever tell us which glasses you chose? You need to post a pic of the winner.

Here are some pics from my birthday

My birthday cake was made by a woman named Santa. As in Santa Clause. This is funny to no one here because there is no Santa Clause. But I crack up every time someone says Santa is coming. SANTA IS COMING!!!!! FYI Ugandan birthday cake is NOT the same as American cake. 

For my birthday God made it rain. The best gift of all. I love the rain.

Rain pouring off of our roof

Family hiding from the rain. I love that when it rains no one can go anywhere. Inside the house it is too loud to talk and outside it is too muddy to move around. Love it.

Chickens also hide from the rain. Wimps.
Then it began to hail and we picked up the chunks of ice out of the mud and ate them. It sounds gross but it was delicious.
This is the view from my bed. I love my life.
Double rainbow.  DOUBLE RAINBOW!
- Kels

Saturday, June 18, 2011

African Advertising

African advertising cracks me up. Sometimes its the subject of what is being advertised, like gaining a juicy booty, sometimes it is just the way it is advertised. But I think I should do a weekly posting of signs and ads in town. I often wonder either Why would I want that? Or what are you selling?

Do you long for a butt like this? Do you feel ashamed of your flat behind?

Well never fear, now you too can gain hips and bums!

I should probably call that number. I am not satisfied with my bums.

- Kels

Friday, June 17, 2011

Get Cho Craft On

Yesterday was the first day in a long time where I wanted to make something. There are some awesome DIY crafts on the website This website collects DIY projects, among other things, to inspire and help people create. The best part is that when you make a username you can "favorite" certain projects and craftgawker archives them for you so you never lose the projects you love. So yesterday I decided to start to make some of my favorited crafts.

My first project was this cute (and easy!) paper garland that I made with the help of a couple of my girlfriends (shout out to Rebecca and Lindsey!). I wanted to make it to decorate my sister's upcoming baby shower. This is how it turned out!

I like that the one all the way to the left is wonky. It adds
some character.

The easy tutorial can be found at Discover Paper's blog!

My friends left, I took a run with Frank (the husband), and then I returned to our apartment to begin another craft. I made a super cool necklace with the help of this tutorial.

I really like this necklace, but it will take a few attempts to make it perfectly. But for the first time making it, I think it went well. Enjoy your Friday!


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Stop peeing on me

This child will not stop peeing on me. Its becoming a problem.

Baby Alisha

People in Uganda  generally believe that diapers are not good for a baby. Plus disposable diapers are crazy expensive and wasteful so almost no one uses them. Baby pee is treated like something other than urine. If you get baby pee on you it is no big deal. You just wait and let it dry. If anyone here got adult pee on them they would immediately wash themselves and their clothes. But baby pee is like water for some reason.

Getting her third bath of the day
I first discovered this through my friend Amanda. She came to school one day and reported that when the babies peed on the couch or on the floor it was just left to evaporate. This was/is confusing because Ugandans are like the cleanest people on the entire earth. People take at least two baths a day and the floors are all mopped 2 or 3 times per day. I mean in America I mopped my floor twice all year. And I generally shower like every 2 or 3 days. Anyway baby pee. Its hard to get used to. The first time a baby peed on me I was in the mountains and I immediately handed the baby back and changed my clothes. People stared at me like I was crazy.

This is evil laughter. She is thinking about how many times she peed on me today.

Yeah you better run!
Maybe I should start taking more than 2 baths a week...

- Kels

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Ode to Sar

I’m stealing your format. It looked so nice.
She's beautiful (Also she totally stole that scarf from me)

Sarah is in my phone as Sarahwilleatanything Offanysurface. And it is true. I once saw Sarah drop ice cream on the ground at the Forbidden Temple in China (thousands of years old and sacred) she picked it back up and popped it in her mouth. It wasn’t like a non porous item like a gumball. It was melty ice cream, on the ground, where millions of Chinese have walked. Just saying…

 Cake on her face in China. She did not eat any of this 
off the ground. Chinese cake is Gross.
Sarah is married to a wonderful man named Francis (who does not eat things off the ground). He is from Uganda and he is a freaking talented musician. Go here. They married last August in a beautiful (handmade) wedding in Ohio. Sarah always says she wishes people knew how strange her husband is.

Sar and Francis
Sarah is wonderfully cynical. I love this about her. Her cynicism is like a breath of fresh air in my life. She doesn’t sugar coat things. When she tells you something it is never fake.  She is probably the most genuine person I know. I think part of Sarah’s charm is that she says the thing that everyone else is thinking. Sometimes it gets her into trouble. But I think mostly it results in her having really authentic relationships.

Sarah is from Ohio, which if you have spent any time with her at all you probably already know.  She is obsessed with all things Ohio and she hates all things Illinois (small exception for Chicago). You should message her and tell her how wonderful Illinois is. She would LOVE that.

She doesn't love you IL.
Sarah is crafty. We once spent an entire month sitting in our apartment sewing (her) and beading (me) and watching ridiculous amounts of Gilmore Girls. She is crafty in an etsy sort of way, not in a scrapbooking sort of way. Scrapbooking is like the antithesis of Sarah. Making quilts out of vintage handkerchiefs is like the essence of Sarah. Also she has excellent taste. I would love it if Sarah picked out all of my clothes. She is bohemian classy. 

Sar in my fav shirt
Sarah has been all over the world but isn’t finished traveling. She sent me this message yesterday, “I have a really big itch to travel. Like, real bad. Freaking JenlovesKev (a blog) are in Paris right now to celebrate their anniversary. I'm drooling with jealousy. My jealousy has caused me to have a stroke and now the right side of my face is numb and so the drool is dripping from my paralyzed face.” Hahahahaha. Soon she will be in Uganda with her husband to visit family! I cannot even wait.

This is her paralyzed face

Sarah facts
-          She hates sangria because of an incident in Haiti
-          She has had cake smashed in her face in China
-           One day she will be a rich photographer and will give me 10% for discovering her. Seriously.
-          She grew up with all women. This has various fun implications.
-          She likes old things. She is on a first name basis with the owner of Elgin Antique   
-          She has Amazing hair. And gets it cut by the fabulous Tracy!
-          She and I will be in Paris by the end of 2012. I predict it.
-          Soon she will be an aunt!

- Kels