7 months and an election: Or, Where I’ve Been

There’s plenty I should have updated about, and many pictures that were taken, and I’ve just kind of forgotten about it.  Part of it is that my life got VERY busy in the run-up to July parliamentary elections here.  Part of it has been dealing with some (long-standing, recurring, annoying) health issues.  So, to try to sum up:

In May, we had a wonderful party celebrating the Kentucky Derby.  As a kid growing up in Louisville, I never did anything for Derby if I could avoid it; but now that I’m abroad I want to share the best parts of it with everyone I know and just remember home.  I made a ton of mint juleps, we ordered fancy hats for the ladies, and we watched the race live on AFN.  I also recorded it, and the day after we had an official Embassy party at the horse club to show the race to Togo.  We ate “Chocolate-Pecan-Bourbon Pie” (if you’re from Louisville*, you know the one, and why I can’t call it by its real name*) and drank mint juleps.  It was funny watching everyone react to the juleps; even though I told everyone what was in them, the constant reaction was “that’s strong!”  (Seriously–mint, sugar, bourbon, ice.  Yep, it’ll be strong!)  Becca made cake pops as well, which really wowed everyone.  Everyone, even all the Togolese, many of whom had never heard of Kentucky or Louisville, got really into the race.  A very successful event.

June and July were devoted to preparations for the legislative elections here.  I took part in countless preparatory meetings, wrote endless reports, and in the end observed the election process here in Togo.  It was interesting to see it happen, but in some (fortunate!) ways anticlimactic, as nothing really happened.  It was gratifying, though, to see how seriously people took it!

August was slow, with many people on vacations and the country still deciding how to respond to the elections.  September, however, was our Big French Adventure, which I think will get its own blog post when I get around to it.  (Hopefully soon!)

If you have any questions about any of this, if you want me to expound, feel free to comment!

*I have been told that not everyone from Kentucky gets this reference, so I changed it to Louisville.  Also, to explain:  around Derby time, there’s a popular dessert made all over the city that’s modeled after a famous pie made by Kern’s Kitchen, a local business.  Kern’s Kitchen is famously litigious over its trademark on the name, “Derby Pie,” and so I can’t claim that what I made was a Derby Pie.  But damn if it didn’t taste good.  (For more, see here.  “Most litigious dessert in America!”)

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