Monday, October 29, 2012

Frankenstorm brings winds of change for Abdoulaye's K-1 visa!!!

This weekend I came down to Virginia Beach to celebrate my Memaw's 87th birthday and attend a dinner in my dad's honor (way to go you both!!).  Hurricane Sandy decided I shouldn't head back to DC until Wednesday (Amtrak trains canceled on Monday and not available until then!) and so I've been playing Clue and Trouble with my mom and cousin Elaine (in between writing papers for school :)

All of my activities came to a standstill when I received the following text message from USCIS regarding Abdoulaye's K-1 fiancé visa (I-129F):

Your case EACXXX is now updated.  Check "May Case Status" at

This means his papers are getting ready to leave the Vermont processing center and head to Senegal. After jumping up and down and yelling so much that John turned up the volume on the television, I caught my breath and called Abdoulaye to share the news.  What next?  he asked.  Good question!  Now I'll see what I need to do and we'll start planning for Abdoulaye's interview in Senegal - hoping he'll be here in early December!!  OAA is officially back on the move!

Sunday night Skyping with cousin-in-law Matt and Mom
John loves Skyping with Abdoulaye!
Trying to be as cute as this one.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Scrap DC

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Chilly weather makes me day dream about cozying up on the couch and knitting.  I don't know if that's going to happen but with my first nephew on the way and my wedding in May, I have some crafting to do!

Imagine my delight when I stumbled upon Scrap DC, a thrift store for artists and crafters here in Washington, DC, through the EcoWomen DC website.  I can't wait to check out their shop on Thursday on my lunch break to see what kind of treasures they have!

Check out Scrap DC on Facebook and Twitter or at their next Craft & Chat with the EcoWomen club on November 1st.
Another delight - a chance late-night Skype encounter!  Can't wait until you're here Abdoulaye!!!

Monday, October 22, 2012

this is how you keep her

Friday night I left work late and headed straight down H street to attend Supafrik for a great Friday outing.  After checking out the clothes, some art (including pieces by Stan Squirewell) and noshing on food by fojol bros (follow them on twitter if you like - over 12,000 people already do!) at Gallery O on H - I left with a smile on face and the ride home didn't seem quite so long.  I love the brick, white lights and hanging hardware of O on H.  They want to rent their space more so if you're looking for somewhere to hold a reception/party in Washington, DC you should check them out!

Saturday I checked out the Op Shop (so many treasures!), played some frisbee and met up with friends at Old Glory for drinks and dancing - my abs are still sore!  After Ruhi on Sunday I said bon voyage to a dear friend at District of Pi who leaves today for a year in Afghanistan.  It's such a blessing to be surrounded (emotionally and physically :) by treasure troves of sweet friends.

This past week the leaves truly peaked here in DC (though maybe even better is yet to come??) and we're in the home stretch for the first part of Abdoulaye's K-1 fiancé visa process - who knows what news this week will bring!  Tonight Cassie and I are going to check out Junot Diaz at Sixth & I - I feel a good week ahead, how about you?

Chinedu and Dingo.  Rad guys at a rad event. 

Friday, October 19, 2012


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Have you heard of the supafrik pop-up shop/gallery that's coming to Washington, DC this weekend?  My friend Beatrice told me about it and it looks like a show not to be missed.  I'm not sure what's in store except that the works will revolve around the subjects: urban, contemporary & African.  

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Learning English in DC: Language ETC

Can you believe we're already over the hump of October?  Is it too early to call it November?  Yes, I know it is.  While time is moving both quickly and slowly, and sometimes just right, I am still impatient for the handsome man you see in the picture above to get here.  Fingers crossed Abdoulaye will be here before the end of the year!

And while it's hard being apart, I know the hurdles won't stop once Abdoulaye gets to the US as he adjusts to the language, culture and work environment here but at least we'll be on the same continent (and even in the same apartment!) to jump over them together.  Also, look at our outfits above.  I mean, come on, we've got the matchy-matchy thing going on so we can scratch that off our list!  Abdoulaye is also one of the most patient (if not the most patient) people I know so I am confident that little by little, everything will be just fine (maybe some of his patience is even rubbing off on me :)

Critical to his adjustment to the US will be his English language skills.  While Abdoulaye knew some English before we started dating, it was a little rough around the edges.  Now, we can carry on a slow, basic conversation without a problem - learning English is the least of my worries for my cutie-pie!  Abdoulaye also speaks Susu, French, Toma, Pular, Malinke and Bambara so I think he's got the language learning thing down-pat.

However, even though Abdoulaye's English is much better than when I first met him, he could still benefit from a few more classes once he gets here (couldn't we all!?).  Thus, I was thrilled when I learned about Language ETC, which is a "language, Education & Technology Center that offers adult immigrants in the Washington, DC area high-quality English language instruction."  And for cheap!  I learned about them through the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Washington newsletter, which was looking for conversation club volunteers, and poked around their website to learn more.  I checked out their brochure and here is an example of just how inexpensive their classes are:

September 10- December 6 (14 weeks of classes)
Monday-Thursday from 7-9 p.m. for $120.

That's 112 hours of English class for almost $1/hour.  Wowsas!  Check them out on Facebook,  tell all your friends and if you have time, check them out to volunteer (or take classes!).  Does anyone have any experience with Language ETC?  I'd love to hear what you think!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

what is the Skype ticker symbol?

On Monday, October 8th, Abdoulaye's father, Sekouna Bangoura, passed away at the age of 64 from complications due to high blood pressure.  He left behind a lot of loved ones - including the women you see in the screen-shot above me.  While Abdoulaye is Baha'i, which is a monogamous faith, his family is Muslim and his father had two wives at the time of his death (Nnande at left and Nna at right).  I feel so blessed that I had the opportunity to meet Baba in April when I went to Guinea; he is already sorely missed.

Abdoulaye and I use Skype almost every day to talk.  I can't get over the fact that even though over 4,381 miles separate us, we can see one another and I can greet his family (in my broken Susu :)  Dad and Sheri got to meet some of Abdoulaye's family this past weekend - who needs a common language when you have thumbs up and waving?  Thank you, Skype, for revolutionizing the ways families can connect; we are so lucky. 

One of Nna's best girl-friends and Baba's brother at center with Abdoulaye

Dad shares his Halloween decorations with Abdoulaye.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

wintergreen resort

 This past weekend I went on a Wintergreen adventure with my Dad, Sheri, Michael & Courtney and Lindsay & Dan.  There's no snow on the slopes but there are plenty of trails to climb and leaves to watch fall!  So we did both in between trying to consume 1/4 of the food Sheri brought along and drinking dark & stormies by the fire :)

Sunrise over the Blueridge Mountains

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

watermelons in Mali

The news coming out of Mali breaks my heart.  What will happen when ECOWAS troops come in to support Mali's army?  Hard to say.   All I can say today is it's October, which means fall in America and watermelons in Mali.  

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

lalla essaydi

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Last week before my Ruhi study circle I had about 15 minutes to wander around the National Museum of African Art.  Lalla Essaydi's show is one of the exhibits and I'm so glad it's up until February 2013 so I can go back a few more times (and bring Abdoulaye!).  Her work is stunning and provocative and exquisite.  I want to keep visiting because those are all things I want to try and be.  

Monday, October 1, 2012

fall for anything

 Weekends like this past one make me remember why I love having my camera close at hand.   Friday I visited the Fredericksburg Songwriters' Showcase to hear Laura Shepherd (along with Valorie Miller, Greg Trafildo and Aca Perco) and then saw Madi Wolf and the Pack at the Otter House (Wow, they really were awesome!).  The weather on Saturday was a dream - perfectly fall-like and made for a great farm party day (celebrated out near Tappahannock, VA).  What acrobatic move would you have added to our timed shot above?  Sunday I got to see some of my college besties at our alma mater, the University of Mary Washington - this time, with babies in tow!  It was only mildly surreal to visit campus 4 years after graduation with a toddler in tow and a baby in a holster - it was fun being Aunt Jennifer for the day :)
With Jackie and Sarah for a smooch and a squeeze
Making Campus Walk look good since 2004.
I hope your weekend was wonderful and your October is off to a great start!  See more pictures here from the weekend :)
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