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so, it looks like tonight’s my last day here in indiana before heading out on my grand adventure.

Niki, go conquer the world! hmmm. okay. i guess.

i bought luggage to replace the boxes i was using instead.  i skyped a good friend.  i went outside and tried to make a snowman (failed).  i hugged my grandmother, but carefully so as not to touch her sensitive post-op chest.  talked politics with my father.  i reprimanded my cat for scratching my mother’s favorite chair.  all done with a weird anxiousness that’s hard to describe.  i can’t even quite explain what i’m so nervous about.

true – there are the usual suspects – the war, will folks like me, the students, will i be effective…. all valid fears.  but really, none of that really shakes me when i think about it.  maybe its a sum of it all.  the unknown.  hoping for expectations to be delivered.  simply surviving the trek.

at this point, i’ve read countless blogs written by western men and women of several different backgrounds and missions who have spent time there.  as with anything, there are a multitude of opinions.  but.  all these voices-  as far as i could tell – were all white westerners.  kind of made me reconsider what it means to be “western.”  i mean, i know i’m american – but… am i really western?  i suppose so.  that i (my ancestors) was stolen from far away lands and made to be forced labor gives me an awkward relationship with that phrase.  western.  but then, if not western then what?  i’m not really african.  my bloodline says so, but physically, i can’t point to one country/tribe/tongue/family and say that’s ME – that’s MINE.  so, i think like many african americans, we’re kind of in a strange limbo land.  i know, most other americans don’t quite understand that.  they don’t get that there’s an unspoken sadness & anger related to our limbo land ancestry. so, when i go to foreign lands as a … a “westerner” – it kind of leaves this weird residue on my lips.  it could be the implied colonial/imperialism… perhaps.  it could just be the way on one hand there’s this odd aura of superiority.  the way “we” do things… or… hmm.  again, so many feelings i haven’t quite figured out the words to use to describe.  i hope this experience may lend a hand in that way.

so, as i venture out into the cold, hard world – what does that mean for me?  how will i relate (or not) to those around me? perhaps i’ll identify with some reality the kids face in a way i’d never even considered.  this will be interesting.  i have so much to learn.  i can’t wait to drink it all in.  it’s almost as if what i’m there to teach is secondary.  i’m excited and nervous.  and i suppose that’s ok too.  i’m a black girl from america traveling to a conflict-zone by non-military choice.  i wonder how many of us are there like that?  i wonder so many many things.

Off to see the other side of the world tomorrow.  What a traveling day it will be!

Written by Niki


I don’t think I could bear the thought of going to the complete other side of the Earth – about as close to war as a civilian should ever get – and not make a pit stop to see my parents first.

I will start by saying that I have some of the most loving parents any person could ever be blessed to be born to.

I think this is how your parents always see you. Forever and ever.

They have completely supported my crazy ideas in the past.  This time, I knew it was hard for them yet again to say “okay, we support you – now how can we help you?”  I can only imagine what it must feel like to send your child away to a place you don’t know, to a people and culture that couldn’t be more different than what they have ever experienced.  Moreover – to a place about as volatile and dangerous as the world has to offer.

That said.  We have done this before.  At 12 I had the bright idea that going to boarding school would be the best thing ever for my young developing mind.  And, surprisingly (and I’m sure very painfully) they let me go.  They encouraged me, supported me, always left the door open for me to come home… which gave me the strength to make it through to the end.  That experience was a wild ride.  A girl from Gary, Indiana (murder capital at the time) going off to some school that looks like a castle in the middle of nowheresville Minnesota – with people of a VERY different tax bracket? … not to mention races, cultures, and languages I’d never heard before all huddled into this 150 year old school.  Yes.  a wild ride it was.

This time, I’m sure their fears are different….but I have that same feeling I did all those years ago.  Ms. Niki – wanting to do something everyone else she knows would pass.  Willing to fail – knowing she will do whatever it takes not to.  So they stand by and support.  Financially, physically, emotionally, and in whatever other way could possibly be imagined.

For example, they’ve agreed to play grandparent to the only grandchild I think they’ll ever know for quite a while – my cat Willis.

The Magnificent Willis Maguillicutty

My father seems to be kind of grumpy about this whole portion of “support” but, he’s always like that toward the family pet.  However, he’s usually the most sad when they go.  It’s an interesting dichotomy to watch unfold.  My mother will spoil him rotten in between almost stepping on him.  Again, normal for how family pets are treated in this house.  It’s cool.  I know he’ll be safe.  He’ll be loved.  And he’ll he happy.

Just like me.  I’m loved.  I’m happy.

That said, I’m also growing more and more nervous the closer I get to my departure date.  How will I make it with all these bags?  Will the people hate me where I’m going?  Will I be effective?  Will I truly be in harm’s way?  What if it’s just plain old hard to live there and I hate it? I’m brown – will folks treat me more harshly because of it?  I’m American – will the kids I work with (or their parents) hate me too? None of it too major of an anxiety… just thoughts that pass through my mind.  Especially the one “Niki, what are you thinking?”

Whelp, I leave on this epic journey in 4 days or so.  So many little details to remember and tie up.  I know I’m up for this challenge.  I can’t wait to see how this story unfolds.  I want to really suck up every moment of it.

Written by Niki

When YouTube came up with the slogan “Broadcast Yourself”  I don’t know if they fully understood what glory and light their site would be responsible for bringing to the world.

Friend of the Flyverse, DJ Kaleem slid us this tasty morsel, and well, we thought we’d share the joy!

Michael Jackson can RIP knowing that Roye APOSTRPHE l can carry his sangin, dancing, twirling torch.

I think you’re ready.  You’re ready.

Not to seem unappreciative, but here are just a few of my thoughts upon experiencing this joyous gift.

  1. Is one leg a prosthetic?  Or could he just not find matching kneepads?
  2. You know how when you were a kid and you were so excited to do the Easter speech that you got out of breath just thinking about what you had to say?  …. Yeah.
  3. Chew love.  Is in my whirl.
  4. She?  This girl? Really?  Methinks you have the wrong word.
  5. Scarf(Shorts + vest) = Delicious
  6. Heeeiiiiiiyyyy – Teach me summathem steps!
  7. For whatever reason I fainted and hit the floor around :37
  8. The purple and gold reminds me of how GRRRReat the Flakers are.
  9. As soon as I revived myself, at :57 I was back comatose again.
  10. Now let’s get this brutha some werk!

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Written by Niki

I get that living in a big city means I have to put up with a higher than average ratio of numbnuts.

I get that everybody is raised differently, has different cultural practices, and views the world differently.

That’s all fine and dandy until it means that you put me in physical danger or make me have to put up with the negative effects of your behavior.

I need to find out where I need to apply to get these entered into official law; punishable by fine or a good shoving into a cold body of water.

Here’s my list….

Thou shalt not:

1.  Open your car door all the way on a busy street while traffic is whizzing by. Wait the 5 seconds until traffic comes to a halt or clears.  Anything to be removed from the backseat, you should grab from the other side near the curb.  So you know, if I hit you, YOU’RE the one that will be found at fault.  You make me want to plow right into you.  Thankfully for you, because I don’t have time for bull, I don’t.

2. Stop walking in the middle of a crowded walkway. Yes, I will run into you and crash.  Since it’s crowded, I won’t have room to go around.  You make me want to push you down.  Sometimes, I do just that and keep it moving.

3. Go through a the light after it has turned red. Yeah, sounds like common sense.  However this one especially pisses me off when I have a 7 second green turn light on a busy street.  When you hog the intersection, it means that I miss my turn.  It makes me want to plow right into your car just for the aggravation of an accident.  But again, I ain’t got time in my busy day for alla that.

My sentiments exactly:

4. Smoke or pee in a crowd. I don’t care about your lungs.  I do care about my own (and my shoes).  I don’t care what you say, it is extremely rude to expel toxins in my face.  I am still trying to figure out how or why it’s acceptable for a person to be so obnoxious/indignant about such activity.  It makes me want to put the cigarette out in your eye.

…and for the love of all that is good, WHY do people smoke around babies and children?  I am still trying to figure out how/why this is ok.  I can’t think of a single argument for giving your baby smoky lungs.

5. Walk out into traffic or across parking lot lanes without looking, pausing, acknowledging that you are on a roadway. In most instances, YOU THE PEDESTRIAN has much more control in terms of SEEING and REACTING to the danger.

Why you think the rule that Pedestrians have the right of way means that you are covered by some sort of bubble is beyond me.   That’s why your parents taught you to look both ways before crossing the street.  As a driver, there are a million and one things a person must pay attention to – even if they aren’t on the phone, eating, applying makeup or changing the radio station.

Call me an ass, but unless you the pedestrian keeps your part of the roadway bargain, I don’t feel bad when the news reports you hit.   Usually, it’s because you walked (ran) out into the street without looking or paying attention.   And don’t get me started on fools in black at night darting across.

It’s especially frustrating when you walk down the middle of the parking lot wandering, searching, gabbing, strolling, etc etc.  What is so hard about walking off to the side so cars can pass?  What is so hard about at least pausing before stepping into the oncoming parking lot traffic?

And WHY do you have 10 kids at every age between 0 – 9 trying to run against the light or a blinking DON’T WALK HAND?!!  unless you are trying to catch the elusive Los Angeles Metro Bus, there really is no excuse for such tomfoolery.

on the other hand,

6. HONK at me while I allow someone the courtesy of crossing the street or entering traffic. Or actually stop at a stop sign in a residential neighborhood. I don’t let everyone by.  But if there is a human being trying to go about their business within the rules of the road, then I allow them to do as much.  Especially since I hope for and depend upon the same respect.

7. Spit your gum out  on the floor (indoors) or hawk a loogie right in the walkway of where everybody is trying to go. That just is so uncouth there is very little else to say on the matter.   I can never figure out who are the people who think this selfishness is acceptable in a civilized society.

8. Throw your trash (especially fast food and Yaki hair) out the window or leave it on the side of the curb.

To me, it means you have no respect for yourself or where you live.  ::le sigh::  And.  The tumbleweeds of hairweeve I see blowing across the street is the is a tragic low in hood living.

Your trash does not disappear when you do.  It sits there and rots.  It makes my city look ugly.  It means that sometimes, I’ll open my car door to your leftover shake and have to do gymnastics to get out of my car and around it.  For people like you, it should also be no wonder why people in other countries look down on American culture.  We’re so selfish and lazy, we’d rather live in a dirty city than wait until we can find a trash can.

At least she's running after the po chile. Oftentimes I see the parents carrying on as if nothing is happening.

9. Allow your children to roam freely in the store or parking lot. Why do I have to take responsibility for watching out for your rambunctious offspring?  Their monkey swings off of the clothing rack aren’t cute.  When they run free around the restaurant while you engage in idle chit chat you look like a dummy.  Trust me, everybody around you is annoyed and wants to throw tomatoes at your head. I love the chirren, BUT no wonder they get snatched up by crazies in the store!  They aren’t kept in a stroller or reprimanded for running out of sight.

When your child wanders away from you, and I see you picking over the latest fashions like you walked in here alone, it makes me want to take your kids to security.  Let them sit in there while you figure out how to get your ish together and what you did wrong.  I get that you need a break.  Really I do.  However, I shouldn’t have to put up with your periodic lack of desire to parent.  Take a class or read an article or something to help rectify this problem.  PLEASE.

10. Lick your finger to turn a page, then hand said page over to me. Gross.  Just gross.  It turns my stomach every time.  Is that the ONLY way to separate the pages?  I promise I’ll wait patiently while you find a better way to give me the intended sheet of paper.

Those are the first set of 10 – can any of you think of any?  I know I left off some rude behavior that needs mentioning...

Yeah, pretty much – People suck.

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Written by Niki

Thanks Fresh.  This was too funny for me not to jack.

I just wonder if the commercial they intended to shoot was the one they got.  That and I can’t figure out why the water is doo doo brown.

The problem is, you know these fools thank (yes, thank) they’re smart cuz they know how to find CNN on the basic cable dial.  The reference to the thrown shoe does not erase the image I have of the five thoothed blonde lady’s perfect goose neckin.

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Written by Niki

1. Don’t swallow bags of weed, ok?  Especially if you know you are prone to being pulled over or just don’t take ish from anybody (even if they are a cop with a taser/gun/handcuffs) Like it or not, they will tase/pin/shoot your ass, and you will choke.

2. I know times are hard, but just take the fine when caught with weed.  You gotta pay the cost to be the boss right?  If you know you got warrants and whatnot, then try to only partake indoors, alone.  Otherwise, it’s just not worth it.

3. I get that tasering people is better than shooting non compliant suspects, but this ish right here…. It seems like every other week there is another story of tasering gone wrong.

4. There are so many vidoes that capture a person’s death/ass whooping/most embarassing moment these days.  The video was removed from YouTube, but the fact that the footage remains still kinda freaks me out.  Yeah, I’ve watched Faces of Death too – but now it’s almost becoming shall I say… commonplace?

5. See the reason why NOT to take certain professions, isn’t always because it’s wrong… but because well, do you want THIS to be the aggrigated headline all up and down Google when when you die: Gay Porn Star Andrew Grande Dies After Trying to Swallow Pot, and Getting Tasered Didn’t Help

6. Dang TruTV ya’ll got/see/shoot errythang!  Can you please not find me ever?  Kthanxbai!

7. Ummmm.  I’m all for a Drug Free America.  But I think I care less about making sure this numbnut doesn’t get high on his own supply and more about all the Bailout execs who refuse to give me back my damn money.  I wish we could leave the potheads to their own lazy devices and spend our time, energy and resources to get our money back. I’m just sayin.

People Suck.

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Written by Niki