Monday, September 21, 2015

100 posts and life lately

So apparently this is my 100th post. It only took 6 years of very, very irregular blogging to reach this stage. I don't have anything significant to say other than the last 6 years of life have been very fully of interesting adventures, people, and learning experiences.

I am not in Somaliland anymore although I still have lots of thoughts and stories that I could still blog about. It all feels like a foggy (kind of bad) dream. It didn't take much time to readjust to washing my hair regularly and happily leaving it down, wearing jeans, showing my elbows, wearing a bikini and shaking hands with men. So I guess this confirms that I probably did a poor job of integrating and didn't stay long enough. Currently, I'm enjoying Kigali, Rwanda, a place that surprisingly snuck its way into my heart this last year or so. I've suddenly found myself overwhelmed with the process of starting a business (I have no idea what I'm doing even though I thought my courses, internships, and summer schools on entrepreneurship prepared me), taking on side projects and lectures, finishing up reports from my job in Somaliland and relishing in the perfect weather before going back to Holland. A week ago, for the first time in more than year I woke up feeling energized, refreshed, excited, busy and ultimately like the Rachel I've always known. It was a great feeling after more than a year of foggy confusion, anxiety, instability, stress and uncertainty. :) So a bit of what I've been up to these past few weeks since leaving Somaliland.

  • Running around trying to pay the right fees, go to the right people, and fill in the right paper work to register my business. Although apparently it's super easy to get a business started here there is still bureaucracy and mostly nothing is clearly listed online. So I feel confused 90% of the time. 
  • Discovering how computer illiterate I am. We got a group of Carnegie Mellon University Rwanda students to help as build an app for our business as part of their studies, which is super exciting (we even got the only female in the entire graduating class) and I realize how clueless I am about programming and computer related jargon and skills. But it's great because now I have the chance to learn. 
  • Learning about all the tools Facebook and social media has to offer for marketing. Another thing I've been clueless about. 
  • Taking on extra projects like giving a lecture on my thesis and energy in Africa for CMU (as a distinguished lecturer apparently), and pitching an idea completely last minute for a friend in a funding competition. Like I said Rachel is back! 
  • Meeting new people and getting exhausted networking and arranging meetings. 
  • Enjoying the perks of havin an oven and blender in my new house. 
  • Happily running in the sunshine through the hilly and clean streets of Kigali most mornings. 
  • Eating giant avocados. 
  • Rationing my consumption of the most delicious burritos (seriously who would have thought they'd be in Kigali)
  • Studying French with a cheap private tutor. 
  • Learning more about Rwandan culture.  
  • Reading books on entrepreneurship and attempting to fill my brain with new knowledge that allows me to at least pretend I know what I'm doing.
Things I HAVEN'T been doing (and should be) include searching more diligently for rooms and apartments in the Netherlands (I go back in two weeks :( ), thinking about my upcoming PhD, focusing on finishing a report for the start up in Somaliland, and going to the pool more often.

Back to work!