Archives for January 2012

Kiva Loan: January/February

1 down, 5 to go!

This year instead of feeding more money into my Kiva account I’ll be relending the money recipients have paid back to me. This is what makes Kiva so amazing. It’s a cycle!

For January/February’s loan I decided to lend to the Philippines. I cannot tell you how many times a day I’m reminded of how badly I want to go there. Between travel blogs, the Filipino restuarant down the street, and the friendly Filipino population in Abu Dhabi, I’m pretty confident it’s one amazing place. Until I can make it there a loan will have to do.

Photo from Rosa’s Kiva listing

Not only does Rosa have 8 children to raise, she’s also runs a general store. She’s a hard worker who has previously requested and paid off 13 loans. That’s a pretty impressive track record. She plans to use the money to buy snacks to stock her store.

Valentine’s Day is coming up… a Kiva card could be the perfect gift!

xo, jill

Hey, guess what?

Yep. I quit my job. In November I submitted my 60 day notice and a few days ago I was free. And freedom? It feels pretty good.

xo, jill

Photos taken by Molly

Sneaking off to the neighbors

But can you blame me?

For the past several weeks the cutest little cat family has been hanging out around my apartment building. There are plenty of street cats in Abu Dhabi but seeing cat families together is pretty rare. You might see a mother with her kitten but usually it’s just that… a kitten. One. Typically cats have between 2-6 kittens per litter… so, well… you know. Not very many kittens make it.

So imagine my delight when Mike discovered these kittens right next door. At first he thought there were 7(!?) but I only counted 5.

Unfortunately, by the time I took these photos about a week later the litter was down to 4. It was pretty clear on this day that one of the kitties was fading. He was by far the smallest one, eyes covered in yellow goop, and his mother had already written him off. Passersby were probably amused at my lecture to the mom cat, “Take care of your baby!”

See? He was a pretty sad sight.

The next day the fourth kitten had disappeared and it was clear that my favorite kitten (the one with black spots) would be the next to go. I haven’t checked on her in a few days but I’m pretty sure what I’ll find. Her weight gain was not keeping pace with her healthier siblings and her eyes were beginning to puss over.

The two healthiest kittens.
Mama loves the healthy ones best.

The cute thing is that I’m not the only one in the neighborhood to fuss over the kitties. There are several men who take even more care with them than I do. Several times when I’ve brought out breakfast or dinner I’ll find that at least two other people have already served them a meal. One man even built them a little box house and then improved upon the model a few days later.

No offense to the Finnemans, but these cats are the cutest neighbors I’ve ever had.

xo, jill

PS. Remember these adorable cats in Jordan? And Azerbaijan?

Night’s nice for making a wish

and here’s why.*

Turtle Tower sits to one side in Hoan Kiem Lake in Hanoi. This is what it looks like at night.

xo, jill

*from Night’s Nice by Barbara and Ed Emberley

Hanoi Hilton

Lost in translation.

A very interesting site in Hanoi to visit is the Hoa Lo Prison. I didn’t take too many photos because really, it’s kind of an eerie place. Before visiting I only had a vague idea of the prison. I knew it was where American prisoners of war were kept, but that’s about it. Turns out, before the Vietnamese used the prison to jail the Americans, the French used the prison to jail the Vietnamese.

Built in the late 1880s while Vietnam was under French rule, the prison was used to detain Vietnamese political prisoners. Naturally, the Vietnamese people wished to govern themselves and to be free of foreign powers. The French did everything possible to prevent that from happening. Torture, executions, and miserable living conditions were the norm. For example, the prison was built to hold 600 prisoners but in 1954 (when France withdrew) it held 2,000.

This is a sewer drain that Vietnamese political prisoners escaped through.

The displays at Hoa Lo Prison are quite somber…that is until you get to the American side.

John McCain’s flight suit.

The Vietnamese are eager to show how well American prisoners were treated during the Vietnam War. There are photos of Christmas parties and cheerful artwork made by prisoners displayed on the wall. You’d think they were having a pretty good time. A video even stated that the prisoners were so well cared for at the prison that they gave it the nickname, “Hanoi Hilton.” I think sarcasm must get lost in translation.

Pulling John McCain out of the water.

Christmas parties.

I will admit to being really confused. Although I’m not a Vietnam War scholar, I learned enough during high school history class and the McCain campaign to know it wasn’t all ping pong and dance parties for the POWs. When we returned to our hotel room a quick Google search confirmed what we already suspected. It was actually a pretty nasty place.

Visiting the Hoa Lo Prison was a good reminder for me that there are many different perspectives to history.

xo, jill

Temple of Literature

Reading is sexy.

After lunching at KOTO, we crossed the street to the Temple of Literature. The temple was first built in 1070 and is dedicated to Confucius and scholars. In addition, the Temple of Literature was the first university in Vietnam. It focused on training princes and other talented men with the focus on benefiting the country.

Photo by Mike

The next stop on our sightseeing itinerary: the Hanoi Hilton.

xo, jill

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...