Life in Uganda: Months 3 & 4

Hey guys! So I’ve decided to resume my monthly recaps! My recaps will cover the highs and lows of living in Uganda, as well as recap where I’m traveling and what I’m reading. I’ve also decided to change the title of this series as it’s looking like I won’t be moving to Kenya any time soon – so Life in Uganda it is!

A day in the life in Kampala, Uganda

Umm hi guys! Please excuse my absence. I know I haven’t touched this blog in… months. And honestly, it was because I was having too much fun living my life to bother writing about it.

Basically, a switch flipped in Uganda back in April. I went from third-wheeling my aunt and uncle to having close friends and fun plans every weekend. I’m an extrovert, so having a group of friends makes all the difference.

And although it’s mid-July, I did want to recap May and June because it was a great period of my life that I know I’ll want to remember.

To minimize confusion, I’m been back in the US for three weeks and return to Uganda next week. During my time in the US I was in Montana for five days for a wedding and have spent the rest of the time with my family in Michigan.

Where I’ve Been:

  • Kampala, Uganda (most of the time)
  • Montana (5 days)
  • Michigan (3 weeks)


Finally hitting my stride in Kampala.

Friends at a bonfire I threw in June

As aforementioned, life in Kampala has gotten really good, mainly due to making friends. In April I made a few close friends, and found a wider circle of friends to hang out with every weekend.

My friends are French, American, British, and Ugandan and super interesting – most of them work in global health or for NGOs. I think I hit it off with them quickly because we’re kindred spirits, so to speak – most of them have lived or traveled abroad extensively so we have similar experiences and values.

They’re also just fun people. On weekends we go to bonfires or barbecues, and hit up Kampala’s bars and restaurants. What’s nice is that going out is so cheap you don’t have to feel guilty about buying everyone a round.

Adopting a three-week old kitten. 

My kitten Hemingway pictured at about five weeks, on the day I gave her up for adoption :(

If you’re not a cat person, feel free to skip this paragraph.

One day I was walking home from work and I saw a tiny kitten on a footpath. She was so tiny and wobbly I knew she would die if I didn’t rescue her. So I panicked, put her in my purse, and walked home.

I spent the next month taking the best care of her possible: heating up her water bottle, feeding her, and letting her play in my hair.

Sadly I had to give her to a friend as we have two puppies and I was worried about her safety. But I still see her regularly and when I left my helmet at my friend’s she slept in it (?).

It was a tough decision to give her up but I think it makes the most sense given my crazy, move-every-six-months lifestyle.

This might sound silly, but adopting a kitten was a transformational experience. I realized I want to focus more on giving and nurturing others, and despite years of believing the contrary, I may want kids someday. Wut.

Attending one of my best friend’s weddings in Montana.

Long-time readers may remember McCall, the friend I went to India with for six weeks. She’s one of my best friends and favorite people, so I flew home from Uganda to attend her wedding in Montana.

Her wedding was incredible because a. it was on a stunning ranch in Montana and b. her closest friends arrived four days before the nuptials. In that time, all her friends basically became best friends.

If I ever get married, I want it to be a five-day affair where all my friends stay at a house together before the ceremony.

Being at my cottage in Michigan with my family and friends.

While back home, I decided to spend the majority of my time in Michigan. Being ‘up north’, as we Michiganders say, has been blissful – I’ve been stand-up paddle boarding, painting, swimming, and hanging out with my nearest and dearest. I feel super lucky that I have so much time to spend at home – I know that wouldn’t be the case if I were working in the US.



Getting my first boda burn.

A day in the life in Kampala, Uganda

This is a boda boda, a.k.a. a Uganda motorcycle taxi.

One night after karaoke, I was dismounting from a boda boda and badly burned the front of my shin. I barely noticed at first but now I have a huge purple scar. Ugh.

Being far away for a family emergency.

Far and away, the worst part about living abroad is being absent for family emergencies. I don’t want to go into details, but one of the most important people in my whole universe was hospitalized and I wasn’t there and I was wrecked over it.

Ongoing lung problems. 

You guys may remember that back in April I was out of commission for two weeks due to a case of acute bronchitis. Well, my lung problems still haven’t gone away. I’m hoping the fresh Michigan air will help, but if you guys have any tips for getting rid of chronic bronchitis I’m all ears.

Forty hours of door-to-door transit.

My flight home was brutal. WHY are airplane seats so thin these days?!

Also I was so jetlagged and exhausted that when I was at the airport in Bozeman, Montana, I missed my flight to Michigan when I was having breakfast twenty feet away. D’oh.

Not being sure of my next steps.

This blog wouldn’t be Ashley Abroad without a little inner turmoil about the future, right? Although I’m happy in Kampala life is definitely repetitive there (work all week, pool party/bonfire, repeat) and I’m starting to get cabin fever.


What I’m reading:

Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery (1909). 

I’m finally reading Anne of Green Gables after a friend told me ‘this is literally you’. It’s so good that I’m annoyed I didn’t read it sooner! Although it’s a children’s book, it’s an absolutely adorable story about an imaginative, talkative girl working on a farm on Prince Edward Island. I can see why it’s a classic.

What’s up next:

Travels: A lot is on the docket! Next week I return to Uganda where I will celebrate my 27th birthday. In August I’m going to South Africa for two weeks (!!!) with a college friend and I’m beyond excited.

In September I’m living in London for a month at my friend’s apartment in Shoreditch. While in Europe I’m spending a weekend in Copenhagen, and a week in Germany (Berlin, Göttingen, and Oktoberfest).

After that, who knows. I may return to Uganda or look for a job in a big city in the US (probably San Francisco or New York). I’m 100% going to go broke but I’m sure I’ll have a lot of fun in the process.

Upcoming posts: 

I know a lot of readers have been wanting read about my daily life in Kampala, so expect a post soon about that.

Also expect a post about Lyon from the lovely CatherineRose of La Vie En C-Rose! Due to my (obvious) love for France, I want my site to be a one-stop shop for those planning trips to France. So I’m taking on a few guest authors to write about the cities I don’t know very well.

Anyway, that’s enough about me. What are your travel plans for this summer and fall?

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About Ashley Fleckenstein

Ashley is a travel and lifestyle blogger who lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Since college she has au paired in Paris, backpacked the world solo, and lived in Uganda. Her work has been featured by Buzzfeed, Forbes, TripAdvisor, and Glamour Magazine.

10 thoughts on “Life in Uganda: Months 3 & 4”

  1. Not having a future plan is something to be excited about! I see people with their whole lives planned out and I wouldn’t swap the stress of not knowing for the world!

  2. Wow, that is a LOT to have happen! I feel you on the small, helpless kitten front- taking care of a tiny living thing like that can be life-changing, and giving a pet away is so hard. But I’m sure you gave that cat the best possible living situation. That burn sounds awfully painful, too. Ow. D:

    As for future plans, it’s okay not to have one! Some people need them–and need backups for their backups (me) but others live life better not stressing about it too much.

    Speaking of future plans, I’m going to Taiwan this summer and have another potential trip happening this fall/winter. :)

    • That sounds amazing! I want to go to Taiwan SO badly. Giving away the cat was super sad but definitely the right thing – I wanted to give her the best possible living situation as you said.

  3. Your upcoming travels sound really exciting! Enjoy South Africa! I love that country – it’s incredible. And I feel you on the future uncertainty. I just moved back home after living abroad for 2 years and I have no idea what I’m doing!

  4. I haven’t been here in awhile and suddenly remember, wait let me check what Ashley is up to!
    Don’t you worry girl, you are such a talented person, whatever the future holds for you, you will do great and I will be coming back here hoping everything is fine!

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