What a coincidence! It is our 23rd day in Nigeria and I am turning 23! Call it kismet :)
Well, what are CnL doing on this fine Friday? Casey is at work this morning, but he only flies two legs today, so he will be home early. I haven’t done much yet, since it’s only 11 AM as I type. When he gets back, we’ll figure out what to do. We have a “just add water” brownie mix, so maybe I’ll make that to celebrate!
What have we done the past few days? We made pancakes on Tuesday morning! They were very dense and doughy, but the Aunt Jemima syrup tasted great. We had to use a random pancake mix called “easymix flapjack” since we couldn’t find anything else but, luckily, we found Aunt Jemima’s Original Pancake mix yesterday. We will be making those soon.
Then we went to the office! We have almost been here for one month, which means that I need to get out of the country in order to renew my stamp on my visa. I’m only allowed to stay for 30 days at a time. We had the option to pay N24,000 ($152) to extend my stay for an additional two months, but we decided to try a different route: leaving the country for at least one day and then coming back. I could fly to Accra, Ghana since it’s the closest city to fly to, but any country would be fine. Since we need a lot of household items anyway to make this place livable, we decided to try to fly to New York next week! That way we’ll be able to buy a lot of cheaper items in the states and renew my stamp at the same time.
Our plan is to leave next Friday, the 14th, and fly to JFK for the weekend. Then we’ll leave the US on Monday, the 17th, and arrive back in Lagos on Tuesday, the 18th. It will be Casey’s four-day rotation. We had to go to the office to fill out staff travel forms and get them approved by his bosses. They love filling out forms here and leaving a paper trail, and we need a bunch of random signatures to give us permission to go. We filled out of the forms and left them with the Chief Pilot who said he didn’t mind us going, but he would need to discuss it with the DFO. We thanked him and proceeded to wait in the transport room for a ride back home. The transport room is where all the drivers sit and wait for people to take.
There weren’t any drivers available to take us back to House 69 just yet, so we walked to MM2 (the domestic terminal) for lunch. Casey ordered a beef shwarma, which was surprisingly tasty. Usually we would order chicken, but they were out, so we thought we’d give beef a try. It was tender and didn’t have too much fat, so I was pleased. Shwarma are very similar to gyros, except with a different sauce. Once we finished, we walked back to the office and were able to get a ride back home.
We didn’t do anything special on Wednesday, but Thursday (yesterday) we made Mama’s Oats for breakfast! Casey was sooooo happy to have this! It tasted slightly different, we think from the milk, but it was still very good.
After that, we went to the office again to check on the status of our forms. The Chief Pilot said the DFO approved of our travel request, but I needed to fill out a non-staff travel form instead of the staff travel form. The papers look exactly the same, except one says “staff” and the other says “non-staff.” I just copied my information verbatim. We obtained the Chief Pilot’s signature on our forms, and then left them in the DFO’s office. He wasn’t there at the time, so we left them on his secretary’s desk, who wasn’t there either.
As of now, we have verbal confirmation that we’re allowed to go, but we need the forms signed in order to get tickets. (Did I mention that they love filling out forms!) We have one week until our departure, and the approval process should only take one day, but you never know with this company! We will most likely have to go to the office sometime this week to make sure our forms are signed and tickets are “purchased.” I use quotes because no money is actually involved. Staff travel is free for Casey, and my ticket will be free too since Arik is “buying” it. In a perfect world, everyone would be on the ball and get the forms signed without us watching them, but we have to double check their work and make sure we get what we need!
We stopped by Goodies afterwards to buy some more food. We had lunch first, which consisted of a frappuccino for Casey, a chocolate milkshake for me, and a cheese pizza on Lebanese bread! Delicious! They don’t use any tomato sauce, so it could be improved upon, but who cares at this point. It was good!
We were unable to get an Arik driver to take us back, so we used a taxi instead. The driver was very nice, and we got home quickly. Luckily, Goodies is only 1-2 miles from our homestead, so it is in a very convenient location. We made cranberry chicken for dinner, another staple dish courtesy of Mama Rose. It’s a very easy, one-pot wonder: chicken breasts, onion soup mix, French salad dressing, and whole berry cranberry sauce. We couldn’t find the onion soup mix, so we just used the French dressing and cranberry sauce. It didn’t have quite as much flavor, but it was still very good. Next time, we’ll use more cranberry sauce and then it will be better. We both LOVE cranberry sauce, so smothering chicken in it will be delicious. We were so happy when we found whole berry cranberry sauce at Shoprite too! The photo below of the cranberry chicken isn’t the best picture of the dish, but trust me, Casey was a happy boy!
I will keep our families posted about our trip next week! I wish we had time to visit the west coast, but we need to make this trip short so they agree to let us go. Ciao for now!