Hi, I'm Sarah and this is my blog. With nearly a decade of posts, Novakistan is filled with stories from my early days in Minnesota and then our Diplomatic adventures in the Philippines, Peru, DC and Malawi, our current home. I'm glad you're here and hope you enjoy our overseas adventures as much as we do!
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Airbnb for the Win!

Foreign Service LifeTravel

We’ve done a lot of poking around on Airbnb in the past but for one reason or another never pulled the trigger. Well, Cape Town changed that. We did Airbnb for the entire week (two different places) and were delighted by our experience. Our first lodging was a condo unit overlooking Fish Hoek Bay, about […]

December 3, 2016
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Backyard Birding

Foreign Service LifeMalawi

I’m getting used to bizarre animal encounters in Africa now. Here’s a story about one that occurred in our very own backyard yesterday. I was out talking to Davie about the yard when Nia runs up to me and screams “Mommy, come see the pretty birdie.” I tried putting her off, to no avail, so […]

November 30, 2016
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Cape Town Animal Experiences

Foreign Service LifeTravel

Cape Town is an animal lovers dream. Not only can you see all sorts of creatures, but you can have personal interactive “encounters” with many of them as well. Our little animal lover (who wants to be an Animal Rescuer like Diego when she grows up) was totally enchanted. Here are a few of our […]

November 29, 2016
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Cape Town Crush

Foreign Service LifeTravel

Hi all – We’re back from Cape Town and settling back into our daily routine. I now understand why everyone gushes about Cape Town. It was stunning! Reminded me of a combination of Hawaii, New Zealand, and the Amalfi Coast. So the visual appeal is definitely there, but then on top of that you have […]

November 28, 2016
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Our SCUBA Club Trip to Cape Maclear

Foreign Service LifeMalawiTravel

This past weekend we officially launched the Embassy Scuba Club with our first trip to Cape Maclear on Lake Malawi! I’d love to take credit, but my husband was the driving force behind this one. He researched dive shops and then partnered with the Community Liaison Officer (my soon-to-be job!) to advertise it within the […]

November 15, 2016
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Mua Mission

Foreign Service LifeMalawi

I had the most delightful cultural experience this past weekend. Our Community Liaison Officer or CLO (my soon-to-be title!) planned a fabulous day trip down to Mua Mission Cultural Center about 2.5 hours outside of Lilongwe. And while I’ve had lots of opportunities to interact with Malawians, I’ve had very few opportunities to learn about […]

November 7, 2016
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How We Ended Up with a Purple Garage

Foreign Service LifeMalawi

Our house is about 90% set up at this point and I’m feeling pretty good. It’s a strange house we have – quirky and small, and while I disliked it at first, it’s starting to grow on me now. Two of the things our house is lacking are a guest bedroom and a playroom space. In […]

November 2, 2016
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An African Halloween (complete with Trunk or Treating!)

Foreign Service LifeMalawiSocial Gatherings

Halloween is a big deal to Americans overseas, as it gives them a taste of home. The Embassies we’ve been at have always excelled at Halloween and Embassy Lilongwe was no different. In fact, we had not one but TWO nights of spook-a-licious fun for the whole family! Friday night was a costume party at […]

October 31, 2016
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