Life Unparalleled

Loving Life as a Foreign Service Family – Current Parallel 41° 23' N – Barcelona, Spain

More New Experiences


We had gone dark for a while, in part because we were out of Nigeria on our R&R vacation to Denmark and the US.  We told ourselves that we might make a blog post from the road, even said we’d at least put up our Denmark photos while we were in America, but somehow the relaxation (and million things-you-can’t-do-from-Nigeria-so-you-have-to-do-them-while-you’re-in-the-U.S. that we were taking care of) won out, and we haven’t done it yet.  We’ll have a whole series of travel posts coming sometime soon.  For now, though, I’m back in Nigeria, my family is still in the U.S. (I only had so much annual leave), and I’m back with my nose to the grindstone.   Having worked exclusively at small law firms and then for myself, I’ve never really had paid vacation before I could take time off whenever I wanted, when I ran my own shop, but then I paid the price in that no money came in the door. It was glorious to use up all the annual leave I’ve earned over the last 15 months or so. (New Experience Number 1)

I did look up the total of my adjudications before leaving for R&R, as we passed our 1 year anniversary from our arrival in Lagos while we were back home, and in my first year I adjudicated a bit more than 27,000 visas.  The other significant thing that the 1 year mark means is that my first performance evaluation (EER) is due in just under a month now.   Again, having worked for myself for the bulk of my professional life, and also for very small firms before that, I’ve never gone through a formal written work performance evaluation process before, and it’s a bit daunting.  Not like it’s a high pressure experience through, right?  My obtaining tenure with the Foreign Service so that this new adventure can continue beyond the 5 year point just rests on the outcome of my next few EERS.  I’m sure I’ll get through it, and I think I’ll probably be pretty likely to get tenure in a few years when I become eligible, but for now its not much fun.  (New Experience Number 2)

One of the perks of living in Nigeria (as in many countries where labor is particularly cheap) is that, even though we pay more than most Nigerians (based on my anecdotal evidence from questioning domestic worker visa applicants) we can afford domestic help here.  Our steward (as housekeepers are known here) has taken great care of me in the absence of my family, including cooking me some meals.   Earlier this week I had requested that she make a Ghanaian dish.  This evening I arrived home to this:

Rice and Groundnut Sauce with Chicken Drumsticks and Smoked Titus Fish

Groundnut is another name for peanut, and titus fish is another name for mackerel (according to google).  We went to a Ghanaian place when we were back in DC, and I have to say, based on these 2 experiences, I think I like Ghanaian food.  (New Experience Number 3…mmmmm)

Tomorrow I’ll be working a rare Saturday, as we’re having a “super Saturday” in which we opened up extra visa interview appointments to try to give an opportunity to all of the aspiring students to get an interview before schools start next month in the U.S.

Here’s hoping our next year in Nigeria is as great as the last year has been!

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