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

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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

We went on an unannounced hiatus for a while – but then, something amazing happened and we felt the need to share it all with our faithful readers.

Here are the basic details….

Yes, fantastic it shall be.

1 – The GingerFly* is about to embark on an epic journey.  We’re headed off to Kabul, Afghanistan to help an amazing organization.  We’ve been cautioned against giving too much description – but let’s just say that it fantasically combines so many of the things we love.

2 – This space is where we’ll document all of it as best we can.

3 – We hope you enjoy this new chapter of The GingerFly…No matter what, we guarantee there will be lots to share!

Do you know where to find Kabul on the map?

Here’s the thing – I get that our country is engaged in a war there.  And yes, we’re nervous.  But – it should be said that we’ve got an odd sense of peace about the whole thing.  The plan is to love, learn, teach, laugh, listen, play, pray, and eat…. in no particular order.

*(well, half of us)**

 

**You do realize there’s only two of us… so this time, it’s just Niki.  YIKES!

For all of you that don’t know how to read an email conversation, you gotta start at the bottom and read up.

here’s another example of the fabulous fish i have to choose from in the dating world.

at this point, i only keep my account open for the entertainment value.


To: Chocolateonu

Subject: Re: Read This

I should tell you the same thing.

…talkin’ ’bout kids and ish ‘fo you know my first name.

Who are you? Where are you from? What’s your favorite music? Any diseases I should know about? Since we’re talking kids gotta make sure you’re clean enough to occupy my eggs.

How much did you report on your Income taxes for last year? better yet, What is your social security? You know, just in case you try to bail on taking care of the rugrats.

hmmm.. what else do i need to know to determine your father eligibility.

mamma and daddy’s name? where do they live?

…..ooooor maybe we’ll just start with:

Hi. How are you? Your profile seems interesting. What are you up to on a random Tuesday afternoon? I’m at work… trying to make it do what it do..

whew.
—— Original note ——

From: Chocolateonyou
To: niki
Subject: Re: Read This
Well why dont you take the time to get to know me then

—— Original note ——

From: niki
To: Chocolateonyou
Subject: Re: Read This
LOL!!!

“have our kids” um. fresh outta the gate its like that?

boy get outta here.

you could be the spawn of satan for all i know. what do i look like saying yes to some random Omari man from XYZ?

LOL…. crackin up over here.
—— Original note ——

From: Chocolateonyou
To: niki
Subject: Read This
Hello how are you doing? Omari is my name! I would like to know if you would love to have our kids.

Written by Niki

Ok – so I signed up at a new dating site.

I secretly held high hopes for my brethren.  Not that really expected to meet the love of my life, but rather – perhaps have some interesting/stimulating exchanges? A fun date or two?

I’ve been sorely disappointed in the quality of humans to be found there.  Or maybe disappointed is the wrong word.  I just shake my head mostly.

I just have a few questions –

1 – do women really go for this stuff?  it’s super corny/coonish/silly…. if it works then go ‘head – but none of the women I know would be turned on by this buffonery.

2 – if i had a dollar for every time I was asked – wanna come over and watch a movie?  IN THE FIRST CONVERSATION/FOR THE FIRST DATE – I would certainly not be having this current economic crisis in my bank account.  Seriously.

3 – there really is something going wrong in the American school system.  I’m all for slang – no doubt about it.  But this right here is just a different language.  I find myself squinting when I read this ish because it makes my brain hurt.

4 – who are the women related to these fools?  don’t none of them (yeah, I know) have the good sense to slap these fools upside the head?

first, i present you with a sampling of the screennames.  yeah, I probably shouldn’t, but they are just too good not to, you know?  I modified them a teeny bit to help mask – but the general intent of name is the same.

Leaveemwetta69    – uuuuh no.  this name gives me instant sahara crotch actually.
LILKILLA2 – sorry, not trying to be on the first 48.
20TWINTWIN  –  hayle naw.
deification10 – no words.
MRFOOTLONG- while i appreciate the sentiment, this is not a porn audition –  and while we’re on the subject, what about the girth?
now the wonderfully harvard grad level messages:

Subject: WUZ UP SEXY

DAMN YOU FINE

…what are we?  sitting on the passenger side of your best friends ride?  cuz that’s what this reminds me of…

Subject: No subject provided

whats up babigirl hi u doing how has ur day been i cant comploaine me for the most part feeling blessed to wake up anyway u have a interesting profile i like it u keep it real and u do it with style that whats up ma keep lookin good and doin ya thang get back at me maybe we can get to know each outher as friends so holla back my name iz shamon dre

le sigh.  did you know that there are periods, commas, dashes, and all SORTS of wonderful tools for your use on the computer keyboard?  that is all. not really, but a great place for this one to start.

Subject: hi

hello nic one how are u today? i hope all is well with u .am Simon and am new on here..and i saw ur profile and got interested .u can em,qail me on yahoo id seshie14yu@yahoo.com or u can add me on there so we can get to talk so we know more about urselves utill then stay blessed

i didn’t have to look @ location to know you weren’t on this continent.  how are we gonna do anything if you’re in africa?

Subject: Hi

Wow Boo you are real cute. Holla back at a brother.

wow foo.  hayle naw.

Subject: No subject provided

hi, how r u today? ill be in l.a. n a couple weeks, i dont really know any1 but lookn for sum cool friends to meet n maybe show me around. im archie, holla back at me

so let me get this straight.  i’m supposed to give up my weekend for you mr. random internet dude?  and you’re looking for a harem of “friends” to show you around?  really?  me thinks not.  why did you take the time to type this?  my name is not kat stacks (look it up) and you are not bow wow.  please try to go find a life and get out of my inbox.  kthanksbai

Subject: kay

whats good

for sure not you.  i have nothing more say really.

Subject: Lady of my dreams

I tried to IM you, maybe it’s not working. Yes, I’m sure of it; it’s you. Your hiar, your lips…You are my girl. I have been looking for you for 33 years; now that I have found you.

When I first seen you I said wow! it’s like I new you. Please understand I’;m real.

xxxxxx is my name; meand diamond in english. I have to talk to you, please please call me.

714 xxx xxxx. or txt….so that I can make you believe. your my soul mate, I can feel it.

PC is running slow going to turn it off

please txt me, get to know me…again like we use to know each other in another life.

Yeah, and these are the kinds of dudes who say that women don’t want a sensitive man.  How you gonna pop outta the gate with alla this extra info MAYNE?  Do I know you?  Why are we going to talk?  #getalifedude  you talkin bout soul mates and all kinds of stuff that makes me want to take all my photos down from everywhere.  really this is some scary ish if you think about it.

ok – i’m going to nap now.  iCan’t handle all the tomfoolery.

Written by Niki



Don’t you just love a boyfriend who cares?  I oft wonder – where’s the chivalry gone these days – and then I read tales like this.  Just LOVELY!  I’m tickled rouge with delight.  yum-O!!

Do you know how to enlarge webpages in your browser?  This little gem of tale is worth figuring it out for…  click the picture for a somewhat larger image.

Written by Niki

The thing is – there is just certain music that makes me feel like I’m contributing to the downfall of society.   … I’m troubled / conflicted/ confused at times because some of it I love.  While I do believe there is a place in the world for all forms of self expression, some of it points to the worst values society has to offer.

After looking over my list – I think it’s more of commentary on where hip hop (music in general) is these days than anything.  Is it that I”m embarrassed to still love it as an artform?  I don’t know… still need to figure that part out.  Either way… here it goes…

1.  Teach Me How To Dougie (Aw lawd I’m old, is that what it’s called?)

Somehow, this song magically transports me to the way I used to feel in 1990 Gary, Indiana.  In my jellies or Converse outside in the middle of the street learning some new dance from the older neighborhood girls. … and then how super excited I’d be to test it out later at whatever school dance the nearby school was having.    At this point in the game, I’ll just have to remain happy testing this one out in the car with my steering wheel on the way to work.  I don’t know how I can keep my fabulous swag in the club with this one… wait… what’s that you say about that club down on 109th & what?  Hmmm.  Maybe I can get away with it down there.   I know Keisha will go with me….

2.  Imma Be

Yeah yeah yeah.  There used to be a time when Black Eyed Peas was hip hop with a little soulful flava.  Now, they’re just some auto-tuned white bread poppy something or other.  I hate to admit it, but I have been known to jump over folks and scale flights of stairs (even in my 5 inchers) in the club to run go dance to them.   Say whatcha want but that Will. I. Am. somehow finds that BEAT that gets me wanting to work it out.  … hmph I’m liable to forgive all the people who drive like fools on the way to work  if I’m engrossed in my daily morning my-own-personal-club ritual called Ms. Ac(ura) when this is on the radio.

3.  BedRock

Okay.  I can’t say that I’m necessarily embarrassed to love it… I think I hate that whenever I hear this song I see visions of rooms full 8th month pregnant-by-Lil’ Wayne-women standing next to chirren with tattoos all over their faces all speaking at once. … with VO from his interview on”Behind the Music” playing in the bg… too much? The truth is, I just feel icky.  But dammit if I don’t do a little extra left hand in the air “Oh that’s my jam!” when this one comes on…

4. Gangsta Love

I friggin love this song.  Please don’t ask me to explain myself and please #dontjudgeme.    These days, Snoop mostly makes me giggle with his personae, doing bollywood, singing the One Life To Live song, and is really the epitome of why that OG/pimp routine is coonery to the 100th degree (101st, 102nd, 103rd.. and on)…  but when he goes “She say my name loud, I say her name low.”  …. I don’t know…. I just wanna… 🙂 YEAH.

5. Brick By Boring Brick

Not hip hop – but.  Is it rock?  Pop?  What is this mess?  Sounds like a showtune. ………. aaaaaaaaaaand that’s why I love it!  I know they think they’re being all emo and serious and Avril on us.  I get it.  But really- I go up and down the streets of LA going Ba-da-da-Da-da da da daaaaaa.   🙂  I have no idea what the song is about.  A fairytale?  Castle?  what?  No idea.  Just Ba-da-da-Da-da da da daaaaaa  DA DA DA DA da-DA-DA-DaaAA!

Written by Niki