Just meandering through life…

So the rubbish internet connection I have here has really put a stopper on my presence online. When I can be bothered I get on Twitter a little, but I only have Wi-Fi access, not 3G, so I’m not tweeting out and about.

Instagram is a whole other story. Even over Wi-Fi, I can only upload photos when the network is quiet which is usually at either 11pm or 6.30am. During the day, I have practically no hope. And even at the late/early hours, I usually only manage to get a pic to upload after retrying it about 10 times.

I also can’t get any images on Facebook – not that THAT really matters to my readers here as I’m talking about my personal page and I barely let the two intersect.

And Skyping people is just a complete joke – think 3 minutes of “Can you hear me?” “Can you hear me NOW?” “No I can’t hear you, CAN YOU HEAR ME?” before the call drops out.

One thing that does work is if I take photos, edit them on my phone in Fotor or Camera+, then upload onto WordPress VIA MY PHONE, and then save the post as a draft. If that post survives the saving process, I can then come and edit that post on my computer and actually make a half decent post.

However if I try to upload photos through my computer to WordPress, is definitely one of those “press the button, cross fingers and walk away” kinda jobs.

I always enjoyed taking photos but seeing as I just can’t do anything with them, I’ve kinda given up a bit. I shall have to force myself to get back in the saddle, though, because such momentous occasions as The Sprog’s Birthday Party have passed us by and I didn’t even mange a mobile phone snap or two, let alone pulling out the real camera.

So that’s the state of things at the moment. I promise I will try harder this week. There are lots of crazy things to tell… Like the new shop I found that was full of literally everything I’ve not been able to find elsewhere, but none of my other necessities (think – it had beef stock and pita bread, but no milk…). Or the Sprog’s birthday party. Not to mention how every time I take the kids out they get chased around by locals wanting to touch their cheeks – they are appearing in photos all over Dili.

So things are plodding along, really.


And just like that, the nanny quit…

Remember how I said it was nice to have a nanny on board?

Well, things were getting a bit stressful. The Mr had warned me that it might take a while to find a nanny that I really like, and I understand this now.

The Sprog HATED the nanny. I mean, would scream if the nanny tried to help her (e.g. go to the loo, get dressed, bath etc). SCREAM. She also took to saying “I don’t like you” directly to the nanny, so there was no mistaking that the nanny was not the Sprog’s favourite person. So I had no relief on the looking after the Sprog front – she still came with me everywhere.

Harrie didn’t seem to mind the nanny, but she certainly never giggled or seemed truly happy in her presence. The nanny wasn’t too big on play, preferring to sit with the Sprog on her lap while watching telly. Poor Harrie loves getting around so I would tell her to plonk her on the floor, to no avail.

So this all made me a bit stressed out, especially to have it happening under my roof.

I had promised to give her a one month trial, and today the month was up. She got a mutual acquaintance – who speaks English – to call me this morning to say that today one month was up, she wanted her pay and then she would leave immediately.

And so that was it. I paid her, and she left. Goodbye nanny.

I don’t really NEED a nanny – but today I spent three hours traipsing the stores looking for groceries with poor Harrie in tow. She would have been far happier at home, I know. That’s probably reason enough for me to start the search again.

An expat week

Last week was what I’ll just call an ‘expat’ week.

It’s the kind of week I had semi-frequently in Ukraine and I’ve certainly expected them here too. After a month in the country, I closed up shop. Went all introverted and emo, and just shut myself off from the world as much as possible.

I’m not sure what triggered it in this case, but it could have just been the fact that it’s been a month and perhaps subconsciously I was like, “OK, time for a breather”. I don’t know.

Unfortunately, it’s harder to deal with this semi-depressed / culture shock / homesick state when you have two children. And a nanny who is here daily and thus a witness to my self-indulgent behaviour.

In Ukraine, the Mr always knew when I was on a downer because he would come home at 9pm and I would be on the couch with empty chip and chocolate packets next to me, under a doona, watching reruns of ‘Location, Location, Location’ while it snowed outside, and there would be no dinner cooked. And I would usually burst into tears when I saw him and cry about how someone was mean to me in a store, bumped me in the street, couldn’t understand what I needed at the bank, or mocked my Russian pronunciation at the markets.

Here, I don’t have those excuses. Firstly, the path I tread in Dili is very much geared towards English or Portuguese speaking expats (or both). It’s been a UN post for 10 years now, it’s a small city with a small population and the UN contract here has been extensive, so the effects of outsiders on the country seem to be very far reaching. There are still small misunderstandings, but nothing major like our phone or power being cut (as happened in Ukraine a few times because I didn’t understand how to pay the bill).

Still, it’s a different country and it takes energy when out and about because things are still foreign – even just figuring out what to cook with the ingredients that can (and can’t) be found here is a bit confounding at times. Not to mention the fact that I don’t have an oven or a grill.

So last week I retreated into myself a bit. I watched a lot of movies and TV, read a few books and a few fanfics, spent way too much time daydreaming and being all round self pitying. I fell off the radar, so to speak. This is a new week though, so I shall embrace it and rouse myself from my reverie.

Have a great week!

Driving around Dili

Potholes ahoy!

We finally have some wheels and yesterday the Mr and I left the kids with the nanny and took the car for a spin.

Mr Moi tapped into his sense of adventure and took me on the ‘main’ road east of Dili, which goes up over the mountains (which seem very Asian in geography – think the limestone karst shapes of Thailand and Malaysia. However vegetation wise, they look like Australian bush – dry with eucalypts).

What started out as a relaxing Saturday drive soon saw me experiencing my third ever driving-induced panic attack*.

See that road curving around the mountain in the distance? *spew with nerves*

The roads in Dili itself are crap, so excuse me if I expected the same fairly bad standard as we headed out of town. Instead, the roads were worse. Massive potholes, the edges of the roads crumbling away, no width whatsoever. But what really freaked me out was that the road rose steeply very quickly, and hugged the side of the mountain – a sheer drop at the side, with no railings whatsover.

We were on the sheer-side lane on the way over the hill, and everytime we had to pull over to let a car pass in the oncoming direction (yes, the roads are that thin), I pictured our car slowly rolling over and falling down the hill, getting faster and faster until we hit the bottom.

Yes – it was THAT bad.

Needless to say, I don’t think I helped quell the Mr’s nerves as he drove the streets of Dili for the first time ever.

Hi random goat!

And all this within 10kms of Dili.

* The first one was when we drove a highway frequented by bandits in Laos. The second was driving along the very dodgy roads of Ukraine, from Kyiv to Crimea. None a patch on this though.

An afternoon at the beach

On Sunday afternoon we ventured down to Areia Branca, which is on the east end of Dili.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Beautiful scenery, white sand, and beer (and chocolate milkshakes) delivered right to us on the beach. Not much more you could ask for, really.

(And yes, the Sprog really did insist on wearing that dress to the beach. Practical is not her middle name).