28 November 2014

Thanksgiving: An African Remix

Living in Africa, Thanksgiving celebrations usually go over our heads. It's an American holiday so obviously we don't celebrate it. I guess we don't need an excuse to have a bajillion people over and have food in abundance. That basically Sunday lunch. Just kidding. Kinda.

But this year, mother dearest and I were invited to a Nigerian-American Thanksgiving celebration, which was honestly the literal bomb diggity! The last time we "celebrated" Thanksgiving was like in 2008...for reasons I'm unsure of. ANYWAYS.

Back to the thanksgiving festivities. We all sat down and talked for a few minutes on what we were thankful for, and ughhhhhhh it was so so so great because every.single.person had A LOT  to be thankful for, and it was even more amazing because we were all thankful to God for every.single.thing.

After that, we had a ton of food. There was the obvious turkey thing going on, but we also had a ton of Nigerian/Ghanaian food which was so yum ugh can't. So good. And there was baked ziti which honestly just stole the show.

After the food, was the main event of the night which was dancing. There's nothing like being shy of dancing when it comes to West Africans. Thoughts like "ugh everyones gonna be watching me I'd rather not dance" literally do not run through our minds once Skelewu, Caro and Personally are playing. So sorry. *click the titles to give these songs a listen! They are such jams I cant even*

The living room was cleared out real quick, tables were moved quite speedily and DJ Uncle U played all our jams! We literally only sat down to catch our breaths.

So that was my Thanksgiving! I don't have any pictures because I didn't have my camera with me :(

To end this post, I am thankful for the fact that I am ALIVE, for the hope I have in Jesus Christ, for my amazing family [because not everyone has that, I'm thinking of all the babies I work with at the children's home and it's heartbreaking yo], for the fact that I graduated from HIGH SCHOOL. YALL. High school was a struggle and 5/6th but man graduating was God's doing.

What are YOU thankful for today? Do you celebrate Thanksgiving? And if you do, HOW WAS YOURS? I really want to hear about it. Like fah real.

You May Have Missed:
11 Awesome Tips for a Relaxing Night In
A Heart for Missions // Meet Adora {A Guest Post}
An Open Letter to Senegal 

Be joyful always; pray continuously; give thanks in all circumstances. for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. - 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18

25 November 2014

11 Awesome Tips For a Relaxing Night In

Take a warm bath or hot shower //
Even if you don't feel like it, hot showers are the cure for almost anything, just ask my mom. Throw in your favorite bath gel to make things extra sweet.

Try this lip exfoliator //
I tried this yummy lip exfoliator and basically fell in love. It's super simple, and uses only two ingredients: sugar and coconut oil. UGH. YALL. It smells so so good because of the coconut oil and the sugar does an amaazing job of well... exfoliating! Mix the two ingredients [ 1 tbs sugar to 1tsp coconut oil roughly] and rub it on your lips for about 2 minutes! Dont rub to hard though and let it sit for a couple of minutes. You can wipe it off with a warm face towel. Then swipe on your favorite lip balm and TADA. Smooth lips!

Burn some incense //
My favorite is white musk! So good.

Bundle up in your softest, warmest pjs or sweats //
My cheetah print pajama pants are the winners. All day, every day!

Burn some candles //
Because you can!

Pamper your nails //
Apply some coconut oil on your nails! It will make them stronger and coconut oil smells g00d so why naht?

Turn off the tv..and laptop...and phone //
Mhm hm, all three of them. You can do it! Oh did you think I'd forget the iPad.. yea turn it off too!

Read a book you've been putting off //
I love reading myself to sleep, but nowadays I'm like.. what even is a book? So bad.

Spend some time journaling or drawing //
I used to write in my diary every night... when I was in middle school! I barely do that anymore but once in a while it's nice to just write it all out. Also my best ideas for blogging come up when I'm relaxing in bed and journaling/drawing.

Make yourself some chamomile tea //
Yall. Sweet Chamomile tea is the winner. All day! It has no caffeine and is super relaxing!

Play some chill music in the background //
Open up 8tracks/SoundCloud/Pandora etc. and play your chill music playlist. This could be some classical music or some nice indie vibes. But keep your laptop out of reach once the music is playing. Its tempting to open up Pinterest I know.

I'm such a homebody, but I rarely have a "relaxing" night in! The usual scenario is me scrolling through Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Bloglovin while watching Disney Channel and the Food Network. All of a sudden its midnight and nothing has been accomplished. Awks.

So treat yourself to a relaxing night in one of these days cuz hey, you deserve it!

Let me know if you try any of these :D

You May Have Missed:
A Heart for Missions // Meet Adora {A Guest Post}
Roadtrip Shenanigans
The Gap Year Grind: A Guest Post

Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. -Psalms 42:11

19 November 2014

A Heart for Missions // Meet Adora {A Guest Post}

Hi guys! Today I have Adora from Halcyon Bound, do a super quick, super slick guest post! YALL. I've known this girl for a year and a bit BUT WE ARE SUCH SOUL SISTERS ITS RIDICULOUS! She's so gorgeous it's annoying and HER HEART is so big and ugh she's basically the best! I thank the Lord for this shweeet friendship/sisterhood/jokership that we have! 

oh look here we are chilling at my graduation mquay
Hello! I'm Adora, and I have a little blog called Halcyon Bound where I share my writing, my love for Jesus, and my commentary on the shenanigans of life! I've been good friends with Norkor for what seems like an eternity and a half, so we're basically sisters. The moment the opportunity came up for me to guest post on her blog, I jumped on it with the enthusiasm of a sugar hyped child on a clown at a birthday party. I was very excited, to say the least. Something Norkor and I share in common is our love for children and any opportunity to share the love of Jesus. 

Two summers ago I had the amazing opportunity to team up with the Global Missions Project and go to Curitiba, Brazil on a music mission trip. We played at Churches, schools, and community centers all over the city. We were partnered with the Life In Music Space program that takes children off the streets and gives them an opportunity to learn an instrument. This program was so great because I got to meet so many adorable little children who really just had the toughest lives, and just being able to make them smile made the whole 19 hours of flight so worth it. 

Some of these children had lost their parents, or lived in abusive households, or were part of gangs, but the Life In Music Place program gave them a place to go after school where they could learn something instrumental (no pun intended) to their personal growth. I've played brass for nine years now, and I know how therapeutic it can be and how much I enjoy it, so teaching these kids and watching them grow was such a humbling experience. It's not easy being a teacher, no matter how good you are at what you do. Patience in such circumstances is definitely a virtue. And luckily towards children, I have abundance!

They were so cute as they took huge gulps of air before trying to play my french horn, and still only getting air through. My favorite part was watching their mouths drop open in an "ohhh" when I played for them. Being able to show a child something they've never experienced before is such a gratifying experience, I've decided that I might just have 10 kids! But realistically I might only pull off 4. 

When we weren't performing with the local orchestra, performing at schools and community centers, or giving private lessons, we got to tour Curitiba. My hands down favorite place was the botanical garden. It was a large steel framed, glass building and housed an assortment of plant life. It was so serene in there, I felt like I was in the Garden of Eden (minus Satan, thank the good Lord).

My experience in Brazil was unforgettable, and I can’t wait until my next mission trip. Seeing how God works in the lives of people all over the world really just inspires me to live my life for Him every day! But you don’t have to travel far to make a difference in someone else’s life. Just look around you. Adora.

You can follow Adora's adventures through her last year of high school on her blog, instagram, tumblr and pinterest!

You may have missed:
An Open Letter to Senegal
Road Trip Shenanigans
The Gap Year Grind: A Guest Post

Since you have accepted Christ Jesus as Lord, live in union with him. Keep your roots deep in him, and build your lives on him, and become stronger in your faith, as you were taught. And be filled with thanksgiving. Colossians 2:6

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16 November 2014

An Open Letter to Senegal..

..in light of two years since our horrible break up.

Whew, today marks EXACTLY two years since I left in Senegal, my home away from home. I can't belieeeeeeve how far God has brought me and UHHADJFHUELJDUE man. God is good. So grateful for the time spent in Dakar.

Senegal. You already know this, mais tu me manques trop quoi! I never thought that after two plus years with you I'd ever want to walk - correction trudge- through your sand-covered streets so bad! I miss having our neighbor's sheep wake me up in the morning even though Tabaski [Eid-al-Adha] month was no where near. Fun times.

Man oh man, do I miss hearing the call-to-worship every morning at 5am on the freaking dot. Eventually we unconsciously stopped hearing if but what I would do to hear our neighborhood's mosque's call to worship. Good times. I miss getting mistaken for a Senegalese by any and all taxi drivers because of my height and skin complexion. They always tried to convince me I was Senegalese.

But Senegal, you taught me everything I know about bargaining with taxi drivers because honestly if it's 1000FCFA to get home from school, it is what it is. Any taxi driver attempting to get 500FCFA more would receive a frown, a side-eye and a slow backing away from the vehicle, until he relented/came to his senses and told me to get in. Such wonderful tactics. Worked like a charm, most of the time.

I miss your Dakar beaches and the waterfall in Kedougou and the mangroves in Sine Saloum! Walking a kilometre at the beach were fun times, but going hyena watching and riding at the back of horse carts were shenanigans^892. Also, hiking up 90 degree angle mountains and camping under the stars were some great memories, Senegal. Gosh you're such a stunner!

I also miss downtown market adventures, N'ice Cream and your stifling heat, but praise the Lord God for the Atlantic Ocean and it's glorious breeze.

Senegal, despite our *ahem* differences and a few eye-roll worthy experiences, you were good to me. I made friends I couldn't have made anywhere else. Sometimes I honestly wonder what I'm doing so far away from you, but God had bigger and better plans for me so it's really all good in the hood when you think about it.

 Thank you for all the sweet memories, the adventures and the people I got to meet. Also, shout out for keeping me skinny because bacon and sausages were non-existent in our relationship and walking/running were daily. TBH, Kenya needs to take notes from you cuz she isn't really doing well in that department. Mais bref.

I miss you, I love youuuuuuuuuuu and grace a Dieu, je reviendrai bientot.

Love, Norkor.

*In other news, I did a recipe guest post for Ms. Katie over at Lublyou and its a SUPER YUMMY HIBISCUS FLOWER DRINK FROM SENEGAL/WEST AFRICA. So minty, so refreshing! Go look at it here*

12 November 2014

Road Trip Shenanigans!

Over the weekend I attended a traditional Kenyan/Kikiyu/KiEmbu wedding which was the actual bomb diggity. Like I mentioned in this post, I'm learning so much about Kenyan culture its fab. The drive literally seemed endless but the scenery made up for it so hooray! I also love how the wedding was supposed to start at 11 but didn't actually start until we got there which was at 3. African timing is the best. Sometimes.

 I got a few photos of the actual ceremony but then I got tired. We ended up spending the night because aint nobody got time to drive back in pitch black. It also rained through out the night so we couldn't leave at 7am like we wanted to. We actually overslept because the rain was so therapeutic. I felt like God was just telling us to relax and enjoy this time with our hosts! We sat down and had a lovely breakfast and just relaaaaxed. So good and so needed.

I took my film camera along with me so those photos should be A+.

These rice fields went on for miles!

the car started giving us attitude so we stopped to get it fixed

oh okay you do your thang Embu.

this tea masala with cinnamon and Milo was so good ugh

I love you bougainvillea ugh

oh hey its me

for the first time I wasn't scared of these huge chickens

heeeey Mr. Goat watcha up to?

rice was abundance

So yeaaa that was my weekend. At the end of it all I was so sick of being in the car for long periods of time. Fun times fun times. My mom and I casually fell in love with the #villagelife because growing your own dinner is for cool people only. I wouldn't mind, tbh, if we had wifi...and maaaybe tv. 

How was your weekend? And would you ever consider living on a ranch/farm? 

You may have missed:

For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy towards them that fear him.As far as the east  is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. - Psalm 103:11-12

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7 November 2014

The Gap Year Grind: A Guest Post

Hello! Today I've having my very first guest post here on Voyageur Africaine! Ms. Kristel over at Glowing Light also took a gap year, and today she's sharing her experience. In other words, gap years are the bomb dot com.

When I first “met” Norkor she told me her blog was a lifestyle/gap year blog. My immediate thought was, “what in the world is a gap year?” But as she explained it I realized I had also taken a gap year. And it was really one of the most valuable years of my life.

I graduated college when when I was 21 years old. I knew I wanted to go on to grad school but I also wanted a break before pursuing that goal. 

In that year after college I began working as a preschool teacher to save up some money. I never imagined myself as a preschool teacher but it ended up being a great experience. In many ways that time prepared me for being a mother to my own children. 

I also spent that year planning my wedding. My husband and I had a ten month engagement, which may seem long to some, but it was perfect for us. Marriage is such a huge life change. It was nice to have all that time to really focus on preparing for not just a wedding, but a marriage as well. I’ve met so many couples who are so stressed about wedding planning and I’m glad to say that I didn’t feel that stress at all. We took our time making decisions and really enjoyed our engagement. 

At the end of my gap year I got married, moved to another state, and started grad school. I felt refreshed and ready to take on new challenges. I really feel that anyone who is able should take a gap year as well. You can try new things, take a break from “regular” life, and learn a lot about yourself. 

Have you take a gap year? What did you learn?

Kristel Acevedo is a wife, mom and blogger living in Miami, FL. You can keep up with her on Glowing Light, her personal blog, where she writes about faith, family and all the fun in between.

Follow the rest of Ms. Kristel's adventures on her blogFacebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter

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3 November 2014

Life Lately | Vol. 1

// 1. Succulents may or may not be my love language. There I said it.
// 2. I have much love for Chocolate Digestives.
// 3.  Shopping by myself is so fun cuz no judgy looks from mom and no telling me to put them back. Holla!
// 4. I MADE INFUSED WATER. It had apples and lemon and ginger. It was actually horrible, but nothing a little simple syrup couldn't fix. I'm pretty sure that's defeats the whole purpose of infused water but whatevs.

// 5. Oh look, that one time I went out to the pool/ left the confines of my living room. I'm such a homebody.
// 7. I'm making wall art for my room to cover up the ugly green walls.
// 8. Gap years are so great.

// 9. I did a photo shoot for a post that may or may not happen and I discovered how awkward I am in front of cameras its great.
// 10. Ellen the Giraffe is Kenya's Next Top Model and she doesn't even know it.
// 11. Caramel corn is also my love language. Make it and I will probably love you.
// 12. Brunch-a-lunchin' with mom is the best.

// 13. I love making dinner for my mom and eating said dinner on the porch holla.
// 14. Oh yes we also hit the Animal Orphanage real quick and took selfies and the such with Simba.
// 15. I tried this Rooibos Latte thing and it was interesting.
// 16. I think these fireworks were for Diwali but I'm naaaht sure.

Okay bye. :3

You may have missed:
#FireworkPeople Blog Tour: A New Found Passion
It's a Beautiful Day Not to Be in High School
The Gap Year Grind: 5 Lessons Learnt

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and Redeemer. - Psalms 19:14

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Maira Gall