Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Wow, its been a month...

Hi people...

Its been a long long time. Things are good, finally. For those of you who didnt know, Ghana had a little election about some 1 and a half weeks ago. The election was preceeded by a lot of political tension, excitement and fear. People were wondering...would the elections be peaceful? Would voting go smoothly? Would there be any rigging? Would the losing parties accept defeat?

December 7-9 came and went with little reports of violence or other election mishaps. However, there shall be a runoff on 28 December, as the two leading presidential candidates failed to achieve the requisite 50% + majority. Thus, there shall be no Christmas for me!

During the elections, I was privileged to have access to the CODEO (Coalition of Domestic Election Obserservers) headquarters. CODEO is the largest election observation team in Ghana, comprised of 4000 members and headed by CDD. So for about 4-5 days straight, I helped with organizing the various press conferences, comprising media lists, etc. It was hectic!! The night of Dec. 7th, I was up for 24 hours straight with Joy FM, trailing the radio journalists as they traveled from poll station to poll station, and was up with them as they compiled the ballot counting from their regional correspondents all over the country. I was lucky to be with them, as technically, I didnt have Election Commission accredication to be at the polls. The second night of the 8-9, I Was with Citi FM up all night with them as they covered the figures coming in from the country. I ended up sleeping at the house of one of the morning show presenters!! And then on the 9 or 10, I cant remember, I was back to another Press conference as CODEO announced the results of their observations.

A runoff, no holds barred. For my views on the runoff and the election, thats another post

Crazy crazy. And I have to do it all over again in about 2 weeks. Which is why I took the last 4 days off to do my nails, my hair, get a facial, sleep, and eat and chill. And then I will restrategize for my own project all over again. I think that I have been focusing too much on CDD, and not enough on my own project. I hope to correct that for the runoff. Otherwise, things are okay. Still dating a certain Malawi radio personality, but my dealings with the men here is a whole 'nother post. In fact I need to post about:
  • People's reaction to my identity (Am I American? Ghanaian? American-Ghanaian, Ghanaian American? Diasporan? Ashanti? Ga? Yoruba?)
  • My failure to assimilate sometimes (So what I like being able to get manicures and pedicures and eat hamburgers and sushi??)
  • Pluses and minuses of staying with family

More updates coming soon!!


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Heck-Tick, Heck-Tick

Alright, so im hitting a bit of a rough stretch until the elections so bear with me. The elections are in about 25, 26 days or so. This week, what am I doing at the CDD?

  • Helping to organize a press conference for those who will be involved in election observation for Dec. 6th
  • Helping to Prep the election observers spokespersons for dealing with the press and media
  • Helping to organize the Parliamentary candidates' debates in Accra for next week
  • Travelling to Tamale again next weekened with the Media Policy project for a review session with the journalists
And then theres still my project with the radio. When I can, I go to the radio stations to interview/observe. Every morning, I try to record audio from the phone in shows, but lately its been hard, so I am a little concerned about how that is going to work. Last night I went to observe the presidential debates from the CITI FM newsroom, but I was so tired I couldnt really think straight to take good notes or offer any good feedback. Tonight, there is a press dinner I will attend hosted by Nana Akuffo Addo, the NPP candidate for the presidency, and the incumbent. I mean, its awesome that I find myself having access to some of these things. .

But at the same time, its a lot of work. I'm gaining a reputation for being a work-aholic! I dont have time much to spend travelling or with family and friends. I'm banking that post election time will be less hectic. Im doing what I can to stay healthy and full of energy to push through the next 3 weeks or so.

Monday, November 10, 2008

To date on a Fulbright year or Not to date on a Fulbright year...

Uh...... I guess the question could speak for itself without going into too much detail! ;)


Saturday, November 8, 2008

Part 2....

Barack Obama.......

Nov. 4th, 2008 was a day I will never forget. Chicago, Washington, New York, we were watching you here from Accra. We here in Ghana, Ghanaians, Americans, Europeans, every one of us, we were watching. We cheered with each state Obama picked up. We were beyond elated when Republican strongholds such as Florida, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Ohio went to Obama. When CNN projected Obama as the winner, I saw people hugging, kissing, and crying. Then the crowd rushed to the front of the large projector screen and began to dance to Blakk Rasta's Barack Obama song. It was incredible. When McCain conceeded, we hushed to listen. Although some members of the crowd attempted to boo, the majority of the crowd hushed them up. I wanted to hear McCain's speech because in a democracy, elections are just as much about the losers as they are about the winners. I found McCain to be more gracious and classy in defeat than he ever was duiring the campaign. Although members of the audience were obviously upset, you could tell that McCain had had enough of the negativity from his own party. And when Obama took the stage, we cried. When the crowd in Chicago chanted, "Yes we can!", we in Accra were chanting, 200 strong, right with you. When Michelle and the kiddies came on stage, we squealed and clapped. When you guys in Chicago applauded, we were applauding right with you. It was truly a moving moment, a global moment, and I was so so so proud to have the opportunity to watch it from across the Atlantic, in the continent of Obama's forbears.

I was ALSO SUPER GEEKED TO BE A GUEST ON JOY FM'S election COVERAGE PROGRAM FOR THE NIGHT! I was also a guest panelist on Citi Fm's show the next my analysis of the election results and what it would mean for Americans.

In the eve of Ghana's elections, I see that Ghana views the US elections as an example of change coming to a country. Every politician with the obvious exception of the incumbent party sees themselves as the "Obama" candidate." The NDC, the main opposition party is allegedly is using Obama's image on party paraphanelia.

I have the pictures and video to prove it, but not the fast internet connection to handle the transfer......So check my Facebook page for now.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

LONG TIME.....and so much has happened.. (Part1)

....that much is obvious.

Let me start out by saying that my schedule has gotten even crazier. I have really been meaning to take time to write and digest all thats been going on with me here in Ghana. There are times that I am at the CDD til 7 pm at night. But let me begin by detailing the past two days, Nov. 3 and Nov. 4th, days I will never, ever, ever forget and I can say that I am truly blessed to be alive during these times.

Nov. 3rd- I got a call from the Embassy to give a presentation on Election day, Nov. 4th. I was asked to speak about my perspective as an American comparing the Ghanaian and American debates. I agreed, excitedly. I went to work in the Afternoon, and attended an election reporting conference in the evening. I didnt get home until 9 pm, and I did not have much time to prepare. I think I was up until 3, 4 am.  The next day, I went to the office in the morning to print my notes and make some changes. I left for the Embassy at around noon. I was thinking this event was going to be a small, in-house embassy discussion. 

Boy was I wrong. 

I got to the room where the panels where and immediately saw TV crews, radio personnel, and reporters from the Ghanaian media crowding the room. At the front of the room, the panelists sat with microphones and recorders. I immediately freaked out and ran to the Internet resource center to really prep my notes, since I arrived early. Why the Embassy failed to tell me that the "in-house discussion" was really a media centered event escapes me. But I was glad I did it. I sat on the panel with Jean Mensah, director of the Institute for Economic Affairs, the organization that organized the Ghanaian Presidential debates, and Ebo Quansah, with the Ghanaian Times, who covered the debates in Oxford, Mississippi. I was nervous at first, but I got through the panel. My mother, fellow Fulbrighters, and CDD colleagues were in attendance. But that was only the beginning of my 48 hour minor celebrity status in Ghana.....

Monday, October 13, 2008


Its just one of those days again....days where things dont really go wrong, but dont really go right either. Things I wanted to accomplish I couldnt, and all I really did was pile on more obligations for tomorrow. Put on top of that the fact that Im aware somethings back home arent going correctly. A part of me is frustrated with the project and the way things are going with the radio research and such. My twi, while I know more than before, which was nothing...its still terrible. I try and try to balance my CDD work with the radio project, and its not quite right yet. Pair that with minor personal frustrations with people and its just no bueno. I sometimes want everything to be under control and things to be efficient and perfect, but Im going to have to realize its not going to happen the way I want it to all the time.

I need some ice cream. Or a shopping trip. Sometimes I wish I could just hop on a plane to go home for some McDonalds and Haagendazs and some good movies.....

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


iSo here is my first boxing post. Around spring quarter of my final year, I saw a flyer on Northwestern's grounds for the boxing club. I played sports in high school and due to a busy schedule during undergrad, I rarely had time for organized, normal club sports. (Or maybe I just didnt "make time"). Anyhoo, I'd always been curious about boxing, so I signed up. The first practice was absolute murder. I had been going to the gym pretty regularly, but I wasnt prepared for the type of workout we had on the first day. A ton of jumping jacks, squats and other warmup, followed by a mile run around the block, followed by endless jumproping and THEN we worked on punching technique. After that were more drills with the bag. Absolutely nuts.

But you know what, I went back. Most of the girls had dropped from that first session. But even though the workouts were intense, I really wanted to learn what this sport was about, and why I was so drawn to it. I ordered myself a pair of pink(!) boxing gloves and wraps and signed up for the club. Its a shame I was a senior. I really wish I could have had the time to train and to have competed.

To me, boxing is a pure sport. It taught me a lot of lessons in life. First off, it seems to be a sport that is more about discipline and mental toughness than one might think. Boxing is tiring if you arent in the right shape, and its easy to want to give up on hitting a target when your arms are dead tired and sweat is stinging your eyes. I dont know how naturally gifted I am technically when it comes to boxing, but the one thing I have going for me is that I hate giving up for any reason. You have to be sharp because unlike other sports that have all sorts of safeguards against players causing injury to another person, in boxing, if you take a hit to the face, sucks for you because you didnt guard yourself well. You take your licks, and learn to keep your hands up next time. Boxing is a pure sport because you dont have the added bells and whistles of special equipment, balls,fancy venues, rinks or courts, or teammates that get in your way. All you have is you against the other person. Its an intimate activity, in a sense. You study how the person moves from right to left, where their weaknesses are, where their strengths are. And be sure, they are studying you. Your sweat is on them, theirs is on cant get much closer than that. Its fascinating.

As for being a girl with boxing, sure people dont believe I really like boxing. "Its so violent!" or.."Your pink gloves are so stupid!!" But believe, those are the same people, both guys and girls, who come up to me like....."Can you teach me a few things?" or "Hey, lemme try on the gloves!" As a girl, it sort of teaches me that its okay to sweat and work hard and try something different. Sure it was awkward having to spar with guys. But more so because I wanted to do well...I didnt want for the boys to "take it easy on Peaches (my nickname) because shes a princess". I wasnt there for the aerobics. If I wanted cardio, I would stay home and pop in a Tae Bo DVD. I wanted to learn to be a fighter.

Boxing is super confrontational, and there are a lot of times in life where I hold back from asserting power, whether that be in taking control of my own life, or even in the ring where at first I was reluctant to hit hard. But again, boxing has taught me that its all about balance. You dont spend the whole fight swinging as hard as you can every chance you get. Youll get tired and weaken yourself. You have to mix in some quick jabs to conserve your energy and keep your opponent at a distance for a time. Just some lessons...

Here in Ghana, boxing is huge. Ive made it my secondary, or maybe tertiary goal to do a little investigating of my own as to what it would be like as a girl to train here. I see that here, almost absolutely no women box. I brought my gloves, Im super serious. My goal is to find a place where I could train, and write about how they react to me there, and whether this plan will work at all. So far, Ive heard the boxers train in Bukom, a slum not too far from Accra. The only issue is, im not sure how, uh, safe it would be for me to go there on my own. Also I heard that the boys can be a bit rowdy. I'm brave, but not completely nuts. But I will keep yall posted!


Monday, October 6, 2008

Back from Tamale!

Ive been gone to the Northern Region for the past few days on a work trip with the CDD. From Accra to the North is 10 hours of driving! And thats making good time. The thing is, the roads can be bad, accidents are frequent, and the lack of adequate lighting makes travelling by night a poor course of action. For this reason, its very common to have Ghanaians who live in the South all of their lives and never make the trip up North to Tamale, Bolgatanga, and the like.

The stereotype about people in Northern Ghana is that they are violent, aggressive people who are not too enlightened about what goes on in the South. And it is true that so far, the few bouts of political violence occurred in the North, in Tamale and Gushiegu. And it was in the North that people advocated for phone ins to be banned in 2004 during those elections. For my trip, I was helping to educate the Northern journalists on how to cover the elections peacefully. We briefed print and radio journalists on conflict reporting, issues of good governance, and economics. It was a successful turnout, and I am working on the report now.

Speaking of reports, Im starting to feel a bit....taxed. My project alone is a lot to think about, and now I find myself working on a lot of other things with the CDD. Tommorow, for instance, I have to do a report from the weekend, finish working on the account budget, work on a newspaper monitoring assignment, and then potentially work on something for the Election Watchers here at the CDD. Jeez. I may take some time off to really refocus myself and think about how I want to spend my time here. Im a people pleaser, so sometimes its hard for me to say no when Mr. XYZ needs help with something in the office. But at the same time, I have a Fulbright project to do. The last thing I want to do is feel burnt out by the experience. I didnt travel across the Atlantic to be stressed out! I can do that very well in the United States!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Photos! Wait just kidding.

So I thought that blogger would let me upload the photos, but the connection is super slow. Anyway, yesterday was a holiday so I went to the beach with one of the Fulbright teachers and some of his friends. I'll tell you, swimming in Accra is not this leisurely floating-while-sipping-a-mai-tai-and-reading sort of thing. The currents are strong, the winds were high, the water is murky and the waves were coming right after another. Even if an experienced swimmer is out there, the water would be sure to have its way with you. Its the kind of oppressive water that will knock you off your feet, knock you into people, and will knock your suit right off. The water just......knocks!!

Back to work! (Yeah, Im at work right now!)


Monday, September 29, 2008

Sorry, its been a while...

Its been a while since I updated, partly my fault, for Ive been super busy. But also BLOGGER"S FAULT, since it deleted my post >:(. But a lot has happened in the past week, being my first week at the CDD!!

I love it so far. I really like the people, and Ive really come to realize that I've been blessed with this opportuinity to work with the media Monitoring project. In a nutshell I get to travel with the Media team to different parts of the country to train the journalists on covering more political issues more effectively with the upcoming elections. Last week, I was in Accra. Yesterday evening, I traveled to Ho in the Volta region to observe the presentation the CDD gave to the journalists this morning. It was quite nice, having an all expenses paid trip (hotel/food) to go and do research, in a sense. I took notes on the proceedings, and I will spend tomorrow, a holiday (Eid al-Fitr, I think?) typing the notes. This Friday, I will make a looooong trip all the way to Tamale to do a workshop for the media there. Ive never been to the North before. I hear that the North is a completely different world than Im used to here in Southern Ghana. Its about to bne a real eye opener.

Outside of work, things have been good. I hang out with the other Fulbrighters, going for dinner, concerts with the Embassy and the diplomatic contingent, plays, shows, and the like. Ive found a gym, so I can keep in shape, which is nice. I'm slowly getting used to waking up hella early like everyone does here.

So far, no marriage proposals coming my way, haha.

Otherwise, I have been keeping a close eye on whats going on in America. All these banks are falling like a house of cards! I often find myself fielding questions about what is going on with the banking crisis, especially with the people I work with in the media. "How did this happen?", "How will this affect Americans?", "Is this because of greed?" Questions like that. I also field a lot of questions about the elections. Of course, if Ghana could vote in the US elections, its easy to think who would carry here. I field a lot of questions/comments like, "Why do Americans like ignorant people (referring to Palin)?", "Are there still racists who wont vote for Obama?", "Obama will be much better for America, he is an inspiration, a sign that Americans arent stuck in their ways!" I know that if Obama doesnt win, or if the vote is really close, I will have to answer a lot of difficult questions. But I do the best I can.

This Fulbright thing is shaping up to be more fun than I expected! I'm really picking up some of the language, getting used to the food, learning my way around, and making a lot of new friends. Now that I'm figuring out my schedule, Ill send more updates.

Hope all is well with you guys!


PS Omg, pictures this week, I PROMISE!!!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

lots to think about

its been a crazy week. Well kinda.... I met with my friends from Citi FM this week to say goodbye to my friend benard from last year, who hosts the award winning breakfast show. He left for the UK today. But I did get a chance to meet the new host of the show. Hes been quite nice, and hes taking me to see a comedy show at the national theatre in a couple of hours. Fun times!

My mom and I bought a cute little green car and hired a driver for transport. A car, a used one, is around 6000 dollars, so its not bad. But now Im having second thoughts about riding around in a hired car all the time. This is the first time ill be LIVING here. Whenever we come, theres a certain shelteredness and isolation we have when I travel with family. "Dont go out! Its not safe!", "Ghana is dangerous!" This is coming from my mom. While I acknowlege that you do have to be smart about your affairs, this time I dont want to be housed in when I stay home, and shuttled around when I want to go out. I want to explore Ghana by myself, to really be immersed in the culture. I mean, thats what i did in Spain, right?

Monday, September 15, 2008

Second Week

Allo allo! I tried to post yesterday, but my time at the internet cafe ran out. Booo. But here begins my second full week in Ghana. Im pretty much over the jet lag, and so far I am concentrating on solidifiying what my schedule will look like for this project. I went to the Center for Democratic Development today and guess what? I start work at 8 am sharp next monday! Its looking like I will be working with their media and governing sector. Pretty excited about that. Im also pretty excited about the fact that Ill get to catch up with an old friend, Benard Avleh from the Citi FM breakfast show tommorrow. Hopefully he can catch me up to speed with whats been going on with the radio since last I left. That way, I can adjust my project.

The election season is crazyyy. The race is on between the sitting NPP party and the NDC, the party of the last president. Every newspaper, every radio station is sort of doing a double task, urging the public to remain peaceful and calm, but at the same time, these media outlets are still publishing unsubstatiated rumors and inflammatory remarks. I hope that things will remain peaceful for sure. I'll try to see if I can get to some of the political rallies/peace marches. Pray for Ghana!

Things I'm not excited about: Ummm.....well...1) No matter how much I try I cant get to liking Banku. 2) The Mosquitoes 3) The mosquitoes, 4) the mosquitoes 5) Random electricity/water shutoffs 6) The fact that Im eating wayyy too much 7) Missing Gossip girl...

But these are all minor things, lol. I think this is going to be a great trip. I think Ill stay with my family, despite my previous reservations. I thought that I wanted to be on my own, to have my own space, but really its good to have people around who I can talk to and ask questions about how to get around. In Ghana, it seems its all about having people around you can trust when youre an obroni like me (Yes, Obroni is not just for white people, its for people like me as well...more on that later).

On another note, I brought my boxing gloves. Ghana is known for its great boxers. I wonder if they will let me practice at one of the gyms. Women dont really fight here, so maybe men will think it it a side project if you will.

Thats all for now!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

In Ghana!!

Hi all!

I'm finally in Accra. I arrived late sunday, after taking a plane from Dallas to Amsterdam, then Amsterdam to Accra. Wasn't a bad flight at all. Being the impatient one that I am, I sort of convinced the officer in the immigration/custom line to let me through the Diplomat line to go through customs, teling them I was "with the Embassy". Which I was, right? Kinda? Okay, not really. But it worked!

The next day, I went with my mom to the embassy to be briefed on some matters like visas and permits and such. This is probably the first time Ive ever gone to another country and gone to the Embassy. This is definitely the first time where Im constantly reminded that I'm on an American program in Ghana. We are expected to attend Embassy events and connect with the expat community and such. Its kinda cool, puts a different spin on the experience. At the end of the month, all the Fulbrighters will convene for a more thorough orientation.

I havent really delved into my project yet. I'm waiting for a car, then I will hopefully be able to start next week at the CDD. So far this week, I've been taking everything in, and hanging out with the family and cousins. I'll have plenty of time to run around doing my project. But for now, before they are off to school, its nice to hang around and talk to everyone.

Oh and I'm learning Twi! Slowly but surely!

I'll try to post as often as I can, but Im finding out that I dont really fancy sitting in front of a computer all the time. That post about being addicted to internet? Yea, I was wrong. Real life is so much better. I'll try to post pictures too. Luckily there is an internet cafe across from my house. Hope all is well with everyone in the States. I took a moment to remember Sept 11th this morning, and I hope everyone did the same.



Saturday, September 6, 2008

"L'Ultima Notte"...(The last night)

This is it.

This is my last night in the States for a while, y'all. Today, I finished off my packing, took the car in to get serviced, and made sure everything was closed with my U.S. accounts. Ive been cleaning house for the past couple of hours, taking a break to eat (sushi of course) with my dad for the last time for a while.

But I cant go to sleep. My flight leaves in 12 hours. All of a sudden, I feel out of sorts. It doesnt make sense. Ive been to Ghana several times. Ive done research on this subject before. I have plenty of family over there. I have plenty of support, and really, a year isnt that long. And dont get me wrong, I thank God everyday for this opportunity.

But I cant help thinking sometimes, "What the heck am I doing going halfway around the world?! How did I get here?" I'm scared. Of what, exactly, I dont know. In many cases, this will be the first time I'll be on my own, and there are certain decisions I am facing that I have to deal with. But I have faith that Ill be able to dig deep and have a great time and learn a lot.

But I will miss everyone soooooooooo much! Scratch that, I already miss people, especially my pals/girls/partners in crime at NU, and the CES crew in DeSoto (I put on for my city), you guys are my <3.

If youre out there, and youre reading, leave comments or shoot me a message! I love to hear from yall and I hope you keep up with my adventures in Africa!

xoxoxo Karen

Thursday, September 4, 2008

And on another Note


"US Confirms Incursion into Pakistan"

Lord, help us all. This would be major news if it wasnt for Palin's speech, right? this the true reason why Bush and Cheney stayed in Washington? *SMDH*

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

3 days left....Why does the Republican National Convention make me want to Leave the US sooner?

Hey lovelies,

So I have a few days left in the US of A. Three to be exact. I find myself in a weird place emotionally with the departure. On one end, I find myself reminiscing about college, and about the good times I had at Northwestern with my friends. I'm going to miss the late night heart to hearts, wasting time in the Library, spending way too much time in the Black House, the Foster, Noyes, and Davis El stops, and Sashimi Sashimi. I find myself looking at my old coats and thinking that I'll even miss the winters (gasp!). At this point, Ill have to adjust to being without the more, uh, shallow things in life, like Gossip Girl and America's next top model, and Sephora. I should live, right?

But watching this Republican Convention I realize that both Ghana and the US share one thing:


I dont know if any of you watched the speeches tonight. Rudy Giuliani and Sarah Palin both delivered speeches that went heavy on the attacks on Obama and his experience. Giuliani said, and this is not a direct quote: "Here we have a gifted man (Obama), Ivy league educated, and he goes into community organizing?!" * Laughs derisively* The audience also begins laughing.
Palin threw similar barbs concerning Obama's service in South Side Chicago.

This is probably the first time where I have been furious as a result of politics and inflammatory rhetoric. I took the words personally, to heart, as if someone had insulted me and what I believed in. If it was not for Fulbright, I would be a community organizer, with the Chicago Federation of Labor, a position was excited about! How DARE THEY! My stress response levels still havent come down. My cheeks were burning! What was going on?

To a certain extent, I understand why politics can cause so many problems in other parts of the world. After watching the speech, I was furious with the Republicans. I felt my mind morph into an Us/Vs them mentality. I couldn't help but think that these people were against everything I stood for, which is social justice, anti-war, and diversity. So I gathered my weapons and fought back. Meaning, Im blogging, AIMing, Facebooking. I'm voicing my discontent online. In other parts of the world, Ghana included, people resort to other means. Violent political rallies, jailings and assasinations can be the fallout from politics in other parts of the world. Usually we think that its underdeveloped, barbaric nations that resort to violence during heated political times.

But sitting here, listening to some of those speeches, I wished I could deliver my pink gloved left hook to some of those right wingers.

Politics, like religion, can stir up something deep within us. Both say something about the fundamental way we organize our lives, how we manage resources, how we manage our bodies, our property, and how we manage ourselves in relation to others and society. I regret that we in this country have succumbed to partisanship, the exact thing that George Washington feared when delivering his farewell speech. After the speeches today, I see that this election will be nasty. Whoever wins and is sworn in in January, there will be a lot of hurt feelings to assuage. It makes for great TV and media coverage, but I dont know if this is what is best for the country, such divisiveness.

Looks I have another angle to view the Ghana elections with.


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

How will I stalk people while I'm abroad?

Okay so here is one of my biggest challenges about going to Ghana for a while is going to be dealing with my addiction(s) to social networking sites, blogs, personal webpages and instant messenger application. I'm a gadget fiend. I have two ipods, have owned more than 7 or 8 cell phones, and have had two laptops in the past 4 years. You can chat with me on Gchat (two gchat accounts), AIM, Facebook and Skype. ( I USED to have Yahoo chat and ICQ) I have a blog, a Myspace and a Facebook account. And this is barring my old LiveJournal and Xanga.

So this information could mean several things. 1) Maybe I waste my money on too much stuff. 2) Maybe I have too much free time on my hands 3) I'm just so damn cute and popular, I must make a way to communicate with all of my fans and adoring subjects! 4) I am using these online interfaces to span my thoughts and ideas through what Arjun Appadurai calls the "technoscape" no longer needing to mind the limits of time and space, which are undergoing compression in this age of accelerated global flows and disjuctures.

Or maybe its a mix of all those sauces.

Anyway, I like feeling connected. I like knowing whats going on in the lives of my friends, family, friends of friends, siblings of friends, classmates, professors, co-workers, family friends, acquantainces, old schoolmates, one time hookups, the-person-you-liked-but-never-had-the-balls-to-act-on-it, exes, ex-flings, ex-flings of my ex-flings, the library janitor, the bus driver, as well as the friendly neighborhood SharPei named Chan Chan (He has 552 friends on Facebook) Point is: I'm a stalker.

I like to know what people are up to, what they are spending their time doing, or thinking about. I like to know their favorite things, bands, movies, their zodiac sign, and maybe "What Type of Sex and the City Character??" they score on those quizzes. Yea, with internet, I dont even need to talk to you to know these things about your life! Sweet and easy access to information. Or maybe it works the other way around. Maybe if I put up my interests, and you get a basic glimpse into who I am (at least at school) as a person and what I like, maybe its advertising to make people want to get to know you. Facebook/Myspace and the like act like "preview". You can see my profile and get a preview of me, like a movie trailer. If you like what you see, you can invest more (read: like, actually engaging me in conversation) and then, you shall receive more. Simple.

But on the other hand, maybe my dad is right. He posits that people who post online in blogs and journals and such are only in it for the ego. ( Ouch Daddy) Could be true. But I argue that perhaps the explosion in online networking, blogging, facebooking and myspacing is in contrast to what I would call the Cult(ure) of Privacy. Lets face it, in America, we are OBSESSED WITH PRIVACY.

Or at least we were.America is obsessed with privacy when it comes to mental health, phyisical health, disclosure of my school grades, gender orientation, STD testing, political affiliation, survey and questionnaire responses, telephone conversations, my activities online, boxers vs briefs, and female weight. We lamented at how certain government initiatives began to monitor ordinary citizens as an invasion of our Cult(ure) of Privacy. The first order of the CoP is that Americans, who prize individualism as a cornerstone of progress and democracy, are entitled to live their lives completely free of prying eyes and ensuing public judgment.

But are we starting to see the light and convert from this Cult(ure)? People now do not hesistate about posting their addresses, cell phone numbers, class schedules, gender orientations, political affliations, or their employment history. I can see whether youre in a relationship, or when you're single. I can also browse through your pictures and see that clearly while drunk last weekend, you Kissed a girl at the Keg and you liked it, and because of that your life must be so much cooler than mine. Even though we moan and whine about how the government is encroaching on our privacy, we live in a world where we ( me included) are obssessed with celebrity weight, eating disorders, pregancies, drug abuses. The fact that we have paparazzi willing to buy high powered lenses to get pictures of celebs flashing NSFW body parts exiting cars, sunbathing, picking their noses, and stuffing their faces, and furthermore get paid millions for some of these shots leads me to believe that we don't buy into the doctrines of our own Cult(ure) of Privacy.

Where is this coming from, this eagerness to share (read: overshare) about ourselves and our lives and stalk other peoples? Perhaps has this Cul(ture) of Privacy has eroded away our simple notions of community and connectedness and as a result, maybe we are trying to get it back? Or are we just self-obsessed narcissists?

Yup, the parents are looking for you too. Thought Mommy was computer illiterate eh?


Monday, August 25, 2008

2 Weeks out...!

Okay, so time is running out. I just got back from Atlanta last night, and I'm slowly freaking out as my time here in the US is coming to an end for a good while. Ive spent the last couple of months playing around in great cities like Chicago, Dallas, and Atlanta ( I wish I could have made the New York trip) and I think I'm going to miss America! More so for the fact that my friends and family are here. My family and I spent the last couple of days in Atlanta dropping my little sister off at Emory for her freshman year....and it just reminded me of all the changes that seem to be occuring at once this year....Im the first kid to graduate, now Im off to Africa for 10 months and now she, the baby, is off to start her adult life (sniff). Too much, too much!

Alright so, heres whats been done:

-Got my textbooks in. I ordered several broadcasting books in Africa, Communication research strategies, press freedom in Africa, etc etc. I dont think i'll be sending them through the diplomatic pouch, but maybe I'll just pay the extra fee to have another bag. I dont wanna have to wait six weeks for my books. I should have ordered and shipped them a long time ago.

- Gotta start taking the anti-malarial drugs this week

-Got my laptop all nice and fixed and pretty. Still gotta buy protective gear to keep dust and the like out.

-Got the medical records

-Got the GSM phone in the mail

I cant really think of anything else pressing I need to do right now. Besides get a swimsuit. And a towel. And facewash.


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

About 3 weeks out

Its been a while, but yes I have a little less than three weeks left until I'm in Ghana.

BTW, I had a blast at my little birthday party on Friday in Deep Ellum, Dallas. Cant go wrong with three of my favorite things in life, sushi, hookah, and sake bombs! I'll post about it later. As well as some other things that happened this weekend. But I digress.

As for my preparations, things are looking a little more....."real". I got my first Fulbright check in the mail (!!!) to set up expenses like housing, food, transportation and equipment. I'm all set with my visas. Ghana granted me a 5 year multiple entry visa which is awesome. Who knows, maybe they want me to work there in the future, lol. I've secured my health records, my quadband GSM phone. I'm still waiting for some textbooks Ive ordered in the mail that will help with my project. One thing about my project that is semi -exciting and semi scary is that there isnt a TON of information out there that has been written in the West about how the African media works. So while the other Fulbrighters talk of shipping boxes upon boxes of textbooks, I guess I'm not in that position. I will have to send the textbooks ahead of me in what they call the U.S. diplomatic pouch. Unfortunately my laptop is in the shop with multiple wears and tears so I hope that it can get as spiffy as possible before I leave. I'm a little nervous about bringing a Mac after my mishap last year, but Ive made double sure to have every thing backed up.

Other than that its a matter of beginning to think about what to pack in terms of clothes and other things. I've never been in Ghana during the dry season before, so this will be a new experience with the heat. And of course, being a girl, I have to strategize about my hair. Braids it will be for the first couple of months!

Alright, ill be in Atlanta for the next couple of days helping my sister move into Emory. But yea, these are the last few weeks y'all! :) :D :0


Thursday, August 14, 2008


As revelatory and fun my birthday was on Tuesday, Wednesday was a completely opposite story. All the sparkles, glitter and rainbows from the 12th were replaced by some tough realities on the 13th. Probably the crappiest day I've had in a while.

I dont want to get into details of what happened yesterday, but all I can say is that I'm tired. Tired of trying to do or to be what everyone else thinks I should do or be. I'm even tired of myself, trying to become what I think I should be. Because unfortunately many times who you think you should be is often inextricably attached to what you think people think of you. Does that make any sense? Its like taking those quizzes like uhh..... "WHAT KIND OF FLIRT ARE YOU??" and only picking the "B)" responses because you know in the end, "B)" r that will make you look like "Congratulations, youre a Super Sexy Flirt!!". But in reality, youre a mixture of the "A", "B" and "C" responses, which leaves you with: "Congratulations, You're a Send-Men-Running-and-Screaming type of Flirt!!" or maybe, "Congratulations!! Youre a Coldhearted-Prudish-Gamekiller type of Flirt!!" No one wants people to think of themselves as one of the last two answers.
I'm not the type to quit, but this time around, I give up on trying. I'm folding. Theres no amount of fighting or trying that I can do to change certain things. For certain people, no amount of doing or trying on my part will please them. Theres no amount of conformity or rebellion that will do it, because in either case, I'm accepting that there is a standard, or a point or a level that I should be at. So the choice is to either conform to that standard, or rebel against it. I've done both......and...I'm tired. So I'm going to fall back...and just be.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Happy Birthday to me!

Yea, okay, so today is my REAL birthday. A lot of people have been giving me grief that I have been calling myself 22 since May or something. Kinda like when youre a little kid and youre like, "Im not 5! Im 5 and 3/4ths!!"

I used to hate my birthdays. Only those who know me really well will know why. Anyway, this is perhaps the first year that I can remember where I feel pretty content with things. 2008 has been really good for me. I've gotten everything I've wanted this year since my birthday last year. I had an excellent senior year, what with doing well grades wise, and being president of the African Student Association. I got my first apartment, which was so much fun. I got my first job offer in the real world (in Chicago, which I didnt take for obvious reasons). I found out boxing is one of the most awesome sports ever. And of course, I GRADUATED from NORTHWESTERN! It must be said though, probably the biggest and most obvious present was getting the Fulbright. But it wasnt the most important...I would have to say...

But the first thing I thought about when my birthday hour arrived was not so much about what I wanted for myself in terms of material things, but I was thinking about what I've been so blessed with this past year. Even though much of 2007 was really difficult, Ive realized in 2008 that what brought me through was the love and support of family, friends, teachers and just other pretty nice people. I have some of the coolest friends ever, especially those I met at Northwestern....Nikki, Ali, Adrienne, Marissa, R, Kelly come to mind right now, and of course plenty more that have been there for me. I think the coolest gift is not necessarily something you can pick up at Nordstroms (although there is this purse I kinda want), but realizing who you are becoming. (Sounds Cliche, but its true!) In the same vein, I've gotten rid of some toxic people in my life, and found new ones who have had much more positive impacts on me. I've reconnected with people from my high school past, which is important, because in high school, I spent much of my time quite closed off and distant. I've spent my college years trying to correct that.

Its about to sound really lame, but every couple of years I make a powerpoint, where I take inventory of goals Ive already accomplished, and make lists of things that I still want to do. I dont share this with anyone, but the last one I made, my sister found on my harddrive. I had long forgotten what I had written, but she was like, "Karen, do you realize youve done most of these things on here?" I asked her to read it to me and I had accomplished a lot of what I had written at the time when I was 18 or 19. Well at 22, its time to take restock and figure out what I want for myself in the years to come, and give God thanks for what I'm "workin' with" so to speak.

So as I get ready to embark on this trip of a lifetime, I know it wont be my last adventure. I have a great team of friends and family behind me. I hope you guys will all still be on my team in the future! (Well, Family, you have no choice!!) Its y'all, with the calls/wallposts/texts that make the birthday happy, nothing that I could really do. So thanks! :)

Friday, August 8, 2008

HAPPY 08/08/08

Wishing you all new beginnings, happiness and prosperity.

Watching the Olympics makes me feel all warm an fuzzy inside. Yay for humanity..!


Thursday, August 7, 2008

Hell "No No No No....."

Beyonce kinda freakumed me out..........

So have y'all seen this picture of her posing for L'Oreal? Its been blowing up the blogs. People are crying foul at the L'Oreal ad for retouching Beyonce to the point that she looks white. I personally had to do a double-take to authenticate this as really Mrs. Shawn Carter herself. I'm not a Beyonce fanatic, nor am I particularly a hater. She has emerged as an international symbol of beauty. However, I personally will fall back on flipping out about this ad. Heres why:
  1. The color palette of the ad itself has Bey Bey wearing white, against a white background.
  2. Bey Bey is in this 3/4 pose, making her nose look quite straight. Plus, there are rumors the girl had a nose job a long time ago. Not L'Oreals Fault.
  3. That freaking hair color! Blondish? That would ash me out too
  4. Beyonce is of African American and Creole descent. Have you seen her mom? Her mother is quite light. Its been said that her mother would send her to tanning salons to look better on stage in her outfits.
  5. Ummm...I don't particularly expect big beauty corporations to have a responsibility to me to represent images of authentic "blackness" when clearly we still have issues denoting what blackness is. Now If I saw this picture and the caption under it said, "Kelly Rowland of Destiny's Child is sporting Color Essence #3242", then I would be launching some fireworks...
Okay, if the ad were for a beauty company made by and for black women, like Iman's line or even Carol's Daughter, I would have have a problem. But I have never expected the likes of Revlon (Halle Berry, Major spokesmodel) Covergirl (Tyra Banks, and Rihanna, major spokesmodels) or any of the others to have a responsibility to promote black beauty. I'm being cynical, I know. But lets face it....they don't HAVE TO. All these brands will continue to make money and stay in business, supported by the mainstream who they cater to and those of us who arent so mainstream looking who arent content with standing on the banks of said stream.

I find it it somewhat hypocritical, all of this. I say, Why criticize L'Oreal when I still see black hair and skin care stores selling skin bleach right next to L'Oreal? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I've never heard of a protest against CVS or Albertson's for selling Ambi. Why do we criticize L'Oreal for what they may or may have not done to Beyonce with lighting and computer effects when so many darker-skinned women of many races attempt the same in their bathrooms every morning with harsh chemicals??? Im not even going to talk about people who photoshop their own facebook pics or purposefully pick foundation that is three shades too light but just the right shade of ridiculous. Because its easier to blame someone else...the media, culture, the fashion industry, white people in general.....rather than do a gut check and realize that blacks all over the world still hold on to particular notions of beauty.


Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Officially one month and counting...

Today is August 6th, which means I leave the US in exactly one month!!. I still have to...
  • Fax a release for my medical forms
  • Tune up my computer
  • Buy clothes
  • Get in contact with my host institution
  • Wait for my visas
  • Figure out what to do with my hair
  • Oh and uh......figure out how to do my research for a year.

Yea...thats about it.


Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The Countdown!!

ONE WEEK UNTIL MY BIRTHDAY!!!!!! The big 2-2!!

Tattoos: Thinking about My Ink (Part 2)

Where did we leave off? Oh yea, I felt bad about how my mom would feel. She's staunchly against it. If anyone knows anything about African culture, tattoos and body markings are looked on as rather taboo, a thing for hooligans or people who worship idols. So my plan was to hide it from her.

Too bad I confessed in July. I may sometimes act like a badass, but I hate lying or covering up something I've done. My mom was naturally upset, but at the same time, its not the worst thing I could have done in the world. Naturally, she is the major reason why I have a laser removal appointment on Aug 18th.

I still have mixed feelings about my tattoo. No, I don't have pictures, and I don't think ill post them because to me, body art is highly personal. On one hand, getting it done marked the end of a phase in my life. It marked a drive that I had to take control of my own body, away from bad relationships, overprotective parents, negative media images. I told myself that if I won the Fulbright I would get inked (I also said I would get a Kate Spade Passport holder. I think my tatt is cooler). I'm reminded of how I struggled to make it this far, and that if I can achieve this then I can do whatever God strengthens me to do. At the same time, even though more and more girls from all walks of life are getting inked up, I know there is still a stigma attached. Women are supposed to be soft and smooth, with no hair, no wrinkles and no blemishes. But we have an emergence of women who are challenging this...with women like Kat Von D, or Angelina Jolie even. Little Miss "Good Girl Gone Bad" Rihanna has talked to the media about her tattoo obsession.
Right, right, I know I'm in the real world unlike these celebrities, and no I'm not saying I did it because they did. I don't intend to get any more body art. This is my limit. I have this weird dichotomy, where on one end I want to be free to express myself. I wanna wear the hair I want, the clothes I want, the body jewelry I want. At the same time, especially as a woman, you feel so much pressure to conform, ESPECIALLY PHYSICALLY, to appear to be wholesome, virtuous, but yet desirable at the same time. And that's where I'm stuck.
This tatt represents some good things, some not-so-good things. Perhaps it represents my own struggles with who I am and who I want to become. Its the straddle between using your body as a tool of rebellion or a representation of conformity. Its an expression of achievement, but a reminder of struggle. That's why I'm just as mixed about removal. Its going to be painful and expensive, I know. I'll only be able to do one treatment before I go abroad. This is the first time I'm submitting myself to pain where nothing good or pretty will come out of it, like a piercing or tattoo. I'm not happy about that. But at the same time, unfortunately, my mom believes that this Arabic tattoo means that I have pledged myself to the terrorist spirits of Islam and I must get rid of it right away because in no way is Islam compatible with Christianity in her view.
Bah. I'll let y'all know how it goes.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Tattoos: Thinking about my Ink (Part 1)

Okay, so in exactly three weeks, I have a 5:00 appointment at a laser tattoo removal center in Dallas.


Lets backtrack and trace to how I got to this point, shall we? Rewind to last year. Around springtime I was going through a lot of issues. My first relationship ended pretty badly. The process of ending a relational situation that made me miserable in the first place ended up being an equally taxing task. School was tough, per usual. I had tons of duties in student leadership, and like I mentioned in my last post, this was the time when I was trying to square away my research project. I seemed perfectly okay on the outside, but inside, I was screaming for something to stop the inner emotional hemorrhaging. One day during spring break, I decided to go get a navel piercing.

I don't know why I had that impulse. I wasn't necessarily in it to look cute/sexy in bikinis or those ridiculous midriff tops you wear to the club. But the adrenaline rush of the piercing felt good. I liked the atmosphere of the tattoo shops. A couple of weeks later, I had some new ear piercings. I thought to myself, "What else can I do?"

A tattoo....!

Unlike most tattoo stories that involve the words "laser removal", mine wasn't an impulse decision. No. I spent a year fascinated by tattoos. I researched the history of tattooing, and the process. I knew exactly what word I wanted, and I was determined to get it in Arabic, so I spent months reaching people who could do the translation/calligraphy for me and make sure it didn't read "dog food". The difference between the tattoo and the piercings were that the piercings were complete impulse; I didn't tell anyone what I was going to do. With the tatt, I made it public that I was going to get one, and went so far as to challenge friends/siblings with reasons why I shouldn't. I hate not finishing what I start, so I went and made an appointment at the Tattoo Factory in Chicago for June 24 with Dawn.

I was so nervous, but I wasn't backing down. I'm good at silencing that alarm in my head. I sat in the chair and had the stencil done. I looked at it in the mirror for maybe like, 2 seconds. Back to the chair. BZZZZZZ!!! Wow. It hurt. But again, it was a rush. It maybe lasted 10-15 minutes max. Its a small tatt, so it wasn't that big of a deal. Then Dawn finished, applied the disinfectant, bandaged me up and sent me on my way with some tattoo factory goodies.

But all was not well. On my way back home, I started going into minor shock, the unwelcome words creeping into my head that no one wants to think after doing such a thing....."What have I d....." I don't think it was so much instant regret as it was shock that I actually went through with something so final, so permanent, so ballsy. But yes, my mother's face ran through my head. I knew she wouldn't approve.....

(Part 2 Next!)

Sunday, August 3, 2008

A Look Back....At how I got here

So, how did this all start? Well really it all began when I was looking for something to do in the summer of 2007. Like most Northwestern students, you dont spend your summers twiddling your thumbs back at your parent's house. You go get an internship. You go do research. You go get a job. You do whatever you need to do during your summer vacations to prepare you for that long long long vacation called "post-undergraduate life". So thats what I was doing.

I found information at Northwestern for a Undergraduate Research Grants that gives students 3000 U.S. dollars to fund original research grants, including international ones. This was around Feb/March of junior year. Since it was 2007 and Ghana's 50th anniversary, I wanted to do a project that would perhaps, help to commemorate that, and to shed light on what was going on with Democracy in the country. How do you "study democracy"? At first I thought, "Oh, I'll go around with surveys asking how people feel about democracy!" Too broad. Try again Karen. I tried again, this time zeroing in on radio and media. "Okay, I'll do a study of radio broadcasting, and how they cover democracy...!" Closer, but do better.

One day, I was locked in the library studying articles on radio and media in broadcasting. I found that people were talking about these phone in programs that were popular in Ghana. Bingo! I developed the idea into my final project proposal for the URG. Specifically I wanted to explore the nature of these new shows, how they operated, and why they were so popular. I turned in my proposal, got my professor to recommend it (Shout out to Barnor Hesse, Prof. of African American Studies, much love).....and won a grant!

However things didn't stop there. I was approached by my school (School of Communication, what what!) and the Office of Fellowships (pictured here. Dont let the pristine image fool you. Read on about how I was semi-hazed, lol) about the project. It was those in the Fellowships office (F.O) that really encouraged me to look at Fulbright to expand on this. I knew about Fulbright before, and honestly...before this project, there was no way I thought that I could possibly have a shot at something so prestigious. But in the interest of positive risk taking, I decided to start the application process in June 2007, after much encouragement from those in the F.O.

Okay, I'm going to fast forward through spring quarter...through the drama, breakups, um...hospitalizations.....(thats another post) and skip to around August/Sept 2007. I'll tell least for me, the hardest thing about applying around the July-Sept time is getting all those recommendations (both electronic and hard copy) and the affiliation letter (hard copy only). I rarely consider myself an aggressive person, but wow. I was sending constant emails...almost harassing Professors to get their recommendations in on time. People like to take their time, I understand. But I was like..."Um, do you not understand that you taking your time could, like, ruin my future?" Ha. I'm half kidding. But looking back on it now, perhaps I agitated my recommenders a bit. I guess the end justif.....I kid, I kid. I will say that I probably would have quit on the Fulbright if it were not for me getting in touch with two of the former Ghana Fulbrighters (one an NU alum) who really really encouraged me and helped me with my project. I'm eternally grateful for their help.

All those who are thinking of applying, find out who the alums are! Reach out! (Ahem, you have one blogging right here!)

Coming back to school, the NU vetting process is tough. The campus deadline is a month before national deadline. But the office was good about keeping up to date with what materials you had in/what you were missing, etc. It can be frustrating though....when you know yourself that you don't have everything in, and then to get a flaming email from the F.O. reminding you that you're kind of sucking at this Fulbright deadline thing. And that barring the gazillion revisions you have to do, as well as the panel interviews. However, it was worth it. The F.O. is toughest on those they think have the best shot. I'll admit though, I did break down into tears when I got an email saying, "Your project feels incomplete. You need to find Professor _______ at all costs before 5 pm tomorrow when he leaves town. Do everything in your power to get in contact with him. He has the key to make your project better. Good luck." I'd never met Professor X. I left all sorts of messages, went to his office, sent emails, everything. I finally ran into BY PURE LUCK that evening at an African Studies function. But point is, I was definitely hazed by the Fulbright office, lol.

Fast foward to deadline. Then the waiting game begins. You hear nothing from Fulbright until January, informing you of your first round status. Its the first and largest cut. But Oh-Em-Gee-Golly when I got that email saying I passed the first (hardest round), I think it was the first time where I was like..."Wow, I have a shot at this, for real?" It was awesome. But it meant more waiting.

February...nothing. word. At this somewhat sucks. I began making Plan(s) B, C, D, and so on and so forth. I applied for other jobs, began applying for graduate school (not the greatest idea). Actually, I got a job working with the Chicago Federation of Labor for a year. I was psyched about it. And then April 11th came...

" have been selected......" Its rare that I have breakdowns or freak out. My friend who I was talking to at the moment I got my letter can attest to this fact....I couldn't breathe. I kid you not. I couldn't speak coherently. I got teary eyed and immidiately called my mom. She pretty much caught the Holy Ghost. Its the best thing thats happened to me for a good while (ranks up there with getting into Northwestern, and perhaps discovering all-you-can-eat Sushi buffets). I never thought I'd see my name and profile on the Fulbright website, or on the O.F. website or in newspapers and stuff. (Well, I take that back. Google me in a few years, I'll be all up in the news, lol)

Like I said in my last post....after graduating and partying/playing/chilling in Chicago for the past few months, its time for me to refocus on my project and preparing for my trip. This blog will help me, I think. Just to keep track of what I've done and what I still need to do. I still need to revise some aspects of my project. I still need to make some contacts over in Ghana. I still need to figure out certain things about housing and transportation. I need to figure out how exactly I'm going to learn more Twi. But its not a stressful place to be. I'm not saying I'm totally ready...but I'll get there.

Thats all for now,

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Welcome! Wilkommen! Bienvenido! Bienvenuto! Akwaaba!

Hi! This is the first post of my blog that I'll use to document my time while abroad for a year in my motherland of Ghana. I guess technically the journey began in June, when I went to Washington D.C. for the Orientation and met the other Fulbrighters. But as those of you who are familiar with my recent alma mater, Northwestern University in Il, we work on the quarter system and school was in full swing until late June. Now that I have finally graduated and am back in my home town of Dallas, Texas, I am finally mentally preparing myself for Sept. 7th 2008, the date when I'll touch down on Ghana soil to begin my year abroad. My mom will be flying with me and staying for a month (!). 2 of the other Fulbright students are leaving in 3 weeks.

Wow, I still can't believe this is all real. I never would have thought I would actually get the opportunity to live abroad for a year and get paid for it! Its one of those things that you know will be life changing, and I intend to take full advantage of everything. Not a day will be wasted!

I'll be posting pictures/thoughts/fears/embarrasing moments, etc etc. Perhaps in my next post, Ill detail a little more about my project and what it was like to apply.

Thats all for now!
xoxoxo Karen