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!

Nia Sees First-hand How the “Circle of Life” Works

Foreign Service LifeTravel

Hi everyone – Sorry for the break in posting. We’ve been busy showing my parents the best of Africa. Of course, no trip to Africa would be complete without a safari, so after a few days in Lilongwe, that’s exactly where we took them. We took them to South Luangwa National Park in Zambia for […]

November 14, 2017

Nia’s 10-year-old OBSESSION

Foreign Service LifeMalawi

I’ve noticed a fascinating new trend lately. My daughter is no longer interested in playing with children her own age, she has become obsessed with befriending “Big Girls”, especially ones who are about 10 years of age or so. This is not super surprising, because she’s long been obsessed with Michelle, the 10 year old […]

October 16, 2017

Reading Day Fun!

Foreign Service LifeMalawi

This past Friday was Reading Day at Nia’s school. Each year on this day, students dress up as their favorite book character and bring a corresponding book. Nia insisted on being “Shine” from the relatively new “Shimmer and Shine” series on Nickelodeon. For those who aren’t up on their children’s programming, Shimmer and Shine are […]

October 10, 2017

Making Magic with Mud and Bricks

Foreign Service LifeMalawiVolunteering

You should be impressed with me because on Saturday I helped build a house out of literally 2 things – mud and bricks. And in the 8 hours we worked on it, the house went from looking like this…. to this! How cool is that?? This was old-school building, Africa-style. And I actually genuinely enjoyed […]

October 3, 2017

The 4th and Final Miller Girl Wedding


I’m pretty sure my Dad breathed a sigh of relief as Jenna Miller, the 4th and final Miller gal to get married, walked down the aisle last Saturday. With all 4 of us officially handed off and the ‘no return’ policy in place, I think he’ll finally be able to sit back and relax a […]

September 23, 2017

The Problem with Having “Teenage Drivers”

Foreign Service LifeMalawi

So, if you remember back to one of my earlier posts, we decided to part ways with Davie, our Gardener/Driver. We found a replacement gardener/driver relatively quickly but unfortunately he had crashed our SUV on the 6th day of employment. It wasn’t terrible and is still driveable, so we’re just ignoring it for the time […]

September 21, 2017

Lilongwe Happenings

Foreign Service LifeMalawi

Hello everyone – This post was supposed to go out Saturday, September 2nd but never did for some reason. I decided you probably won’t mind that it’s a little late, so I’m still publishing… It’s another glorious day in Lilongwe and I continue to be oh-so-content with life here. I am pleased to report that […]

September 20, 2017

Nia Goes to “Big Kid” School!

Foreign Service LifeMalawi

Ladies and Gentleman- We officially have a Kindergartner in the family!   Nia loved going to preschool, so we made the assumption that the transition to Kindy would be easy peasy. Man were we wrong! We started to notice her behavior deteriorating rapidly about 2 weeks ago, as soon as preschool ended in late July. […]

August 17, 2017
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