I have a litany of excuses. I'm in Uganda. I didn't understand the rules about overseas absentee ballots. I expected the California primary to take place in March. The bottom line is this: for the first time since I became eligible to vote, I really, really want to vote; but I can't.
Last night, I sang karaoke in public for the first time. It was also the first time for a couple of my friends who were with me and the predominantly Ugandan audience was very kind to us mzungu performers. Even though I've belted out "Hotel California" in the car and in the shower more times than I can count, singing it into a mic in front of a group of strangers was an unexpectedly challenging and hilarious experience. The karaoke tape did not edit out any of the guitar solos, so I spent a good 5 minutes on stage, drumming my fingers and, finally, playing air guitar to amuse my patient audience.
Earlier this week, my colleagues and I went to court for a hearing. The courtroom was overflowing with spectators because, according to a friendly news reporter, a high-publicity case was set to be heard. When that case was called, the defendants' lawyer announced that he was not ready to proceed because he had been "disorganized" by the holidays. The case was rescheduled. As the defendants were making their way out of the courtroom, they were attacked by some people in the gallery (many who are plaintiffs or sympathizers). There were no bailiffs, no security personnel. People clamored and climbed to take a swing or get a better look. Eventually, the defendants managed to exit the courtroom and the commotion continued outside.
I traveled to Kenya and Tanzania during my year-end holiday and spent Christmas in Zanzibar. Saw incredible wildlife, gorgeous beaches and met some great people. After living out of a duffel for two weeks, I found myself ready to go home. To go where I know the taxi driver who meets me at the airport, where I know the places to go to find things I need and the fair prices for these things, where friends and familiar faces abound.
A parcel from my mom arrived a few days ago. Wedged in with packets of taco seasoning, parmesan cheese and various Chinese snacks were dietary supplements that "enhance memory, support healthy aging."