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Archive for November, 2010

This day should be titled “The Day We Waited At The Nairobi Airport” because, although Bujumbura is TECHNICALLY only 6 hours away by plane, we were in transit from 6 in the morning until 2 in the morning the next day. When we arrived in Nairobi that morning I remember thinking, “How are we going to spend 8 hours here?” There were people wall to wall. Sleeping on floors, stuffed in corners, taking up every single restaurant table. There was nowhere clean to set Neo down and my arms were killing me! Entering the airport from the beautiful day outside felt like entering a really dark tunnel stuffed with hot sweaty people. We were in Dr. Seuss’ The Waiting Place. Then the dear God above smiled on us and we discovered that THERE IS A KIDDIES PLAYROOM in the Nairobi airport! I almost cried I was so happy. I could set Neo down! It was quiet! His hands and feet were covered in dirt from the grotty carpet, but who cares about that?

Midnight finally came and we were waiting down in a dirty dank dungeon like boarding area (it was only fitting at that point) for our plane to arrive. Little did we know, we were going to be waiting for planes to arrive a lot in the coming week. Finally, the flight went off without a hitch.

As we arrived in Bujumbura’s tiny airport and a crabby man checked our passports and yellow fever cards I felt a weighty anticipation. What if I didn’t like it here? What if communication and life were just too hard for me? What if I was the reason our plan for an adventurous life failed?

When we walked out and met our hosts their first question was, “You are not speaking French?” My heart dropped into my stomach. How would we survive here? We slept a short night on a disgusting bed with Neo rolling around between us… and the rest is for tomorrow.

TRAVEL TIP

Whenever you are traveling in third world countries it is a great idea to pack your own duvet cover (or, for you Americans, sew two top sheets together) to sleep inside like a sleeping bag. Just pop it on top of the existing bedding and “viola” you feel clean and snug. Pack your own pillow cases as well, and in our case, we should have even packed pillows. These are hard to come by in Burundi.

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Day 0. To Burundi and Back.

I tried to stay cool, but there was a moment when I thought maybe the trip wouldn’t even happen. We sent our passports off to the Burundi embassy in Pretoria (for those of you who come up a little short on South African geography, that’s waaaay far away from Durban) to get visas stamped in them over a week before our departure time. Now, the day before our early morning departure, they had not arrived. We phoned around.

The Burundi embassy said they had never ever LIKE EVER even seen our passports.

Courier company: “Oh, you were supposed to pay extra for delivery to an embassy.”

CG: “Why wasn’t I told about this? Where are the passports now? You realize we leave tomorrow! You NEED to sort this out! Now!”

Coffee Guy was seriously fierce.

Courier company: “We’ll phone you back.”

Burundi embassy: “Oh, THOSE passports. Yeah, the guard at the gate signed for them. They’ve been processed for a while now.”

Courier company: “We don’t fetch passports after noon.”

CG: “Well, you are going to fetch these.”

Courier company: “Nope.”

New courier company (DHL): “We’ll have them to your house by noon.”

Noon comes and goes.

Two comes and goes and Shelley, a director and videographer comes to visit. She’s working on a teaser (sounds dirty, but it’s not… except that Coffee Guy’s shirt was all slobbery on the shoulder from little Neo’s biscuit mouth) thingamabobber about our potential move and life in Burundi. Might be nothing, might be something.

Amazing fact. Shelley has shot entire commercials using her Canon 7D, the camera I shoot with, with the 35mm f/2.0 attached. Whodathunkit? Very cool.

Shelley wishes us luck and CG phones the courier again.

Courier company:  “The guy has them and he’s out doing deliveries. You’ll get them, don’t worry!”

Three o clock. Four. Five. Six.

CG decides to go to DHL and wait in the office.

Seven.

They close for the night, CG doesn’t budge and he doesn’t let them leave saying, “You’ll leave when I get my passports.”

Sigh. My hero.

Eight. Nine.

The delivery guy arrives at DHL, saunters in, finished for the day.

He still has our passports.

Meanwhile Ben missed out on our last night with Myles for a week. Luckily, Thobe was settling in at our place and he was too excited to notice and, because I am a notorious last-minute psycho packer, I still had a late night ahead of me.

Coffee Guy arrived home flustered and tired, but with passports in hand. We were finally ready for take off.

Do you feel the suspense building? I’m getting the travel sweats (i.e. the awful smell and demeanor of someone who has sat and sat and sat then freaked out and rushed and rushed and rushed then sat and sat again… trust me, I know it well. No amount of teeth brushing and face washing can fix this person. Only a bed and a shower will do it.) just thinking about what I have to tell you tomorrow.

Luv,

me

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Wow am I ever happy to be home! I am grateful for running water, the ability to brush my teeth straight from the tap, the freedom to open my mouth in the shower, my non-bedbug-infested-bed, and ziplocks. Ziplocks really are so handy, and I vow here and now never to take them for granted again. I have been waiting to tell you all about our Kenya, Burundi, Tanzania adventures (oh boy, was it ever an adventure… and FULL of drama from head to toe) because I am moving to a new blog! It’s a really pretty blog too, with enough room to move around in and LOTS of wall space to put up photos. I have NO IDEA how long it is going to take me to put this new blog together though, being that I am totally not tech savvy. In the meantime, I will show you one of my favorite images from the trip.

Cliff jumping is all the rage for the kids in Zanzibar. These kids were having a big competition for the “best moves” while blaring house music from a portable player. It was so much fun to hang out with them… even though, to them, I was a crazy white lady with a sleeping baby strapped to my front and a bag of popcorn. Because they have to get a pretty big running start, and I wanted to be ready, Coffee Guy would stand by the que of jumpers and I would have the camera pointed at the sea with my back to the “runway.” When someone started running Coffee Guy would shout, “Heeeeee’s commmmmmiiiiiinnnnnggggg!” All in the name of unpaid photojournalism.

Luv,

me

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It’s “go time” in the morning. We will leave our house around 6:30 am and get to Bujumbura, Burundi at midnight. The next morning, early, we head into the hilly coffee region. I will be away from the blog for over a week, but I will have lots to share when I get back! This is part of living our lives as an adventure. I want my boys to be proud of the person I am, the life I am living, and the faith and bravery I possess… even though I’m shakin in my boots :)

Miss you already!

luv,

me

p.s. i would visit here, or here or here for fun while I’m gone. Oh, and get an account here! It’s fun. Oh, and you HAVE to go here, it’s proudly South African.

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Beginning to Boil!

With just one full day left until we depart for Burundi my head is swimming with details! I’m making schedules for the babysitter and writing her long lists of things that she already knows, because she has known Myles since birth, and stayed in our house a BAH-zillion times (like every time we go jet setting to the States for months at a time). She knows our house, our dog, our kids…. but I’m writing her letters, sonnets really, of information anyway.

Then I’m packing for Neo keeping in mind Malaria, unclean water, heat, cold, sun, wind, hills, city… you get the picture. And we are only taking carry ons. wouldn’t you like to see THAT? I would too!

Crossing fingers that we’ll take off with the plane!

Love,

me

p.s. My friend told me today to check into whether or not there is dry dog food in Burundi because she know we are planning on taking our Great Dane if we move there. My first thought? You are KIDDING ME, right? No dog food? Her answer: Probably not, hun!

image via Pinterest

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Sushi Saturday

We are on the verge of a split up! Our little family will barely be together for two full weeks beginning Tuesday. So, today we went to the beach. We never go to the beach, and after being there for an hour we realized why. By the time we got everything packed, got the kids loaded, got them unloaded, got the stuff unloaded, said hi to the people we randomly ran into, and walked to the beach… Blobby Baby Neo got sand in his eyes and we were ready to call it a day and head to lunch. That’s just what we did. Turned our tails around, and walked a couple of feet to the restaurant.

When Myles found out he could have sushi for lunch he shouted out, “SUUUUUUUUSHHHHHIIIIIIIII!” at the top of his lungs. I can’t remember when his love affair for raw fish started, but it’s definitely his favorite treat of choice. Nigiri, California rolls, sashimi… you name it, he loves it. I should mention that our pocket-book would not be able to keep up with his fish-loving habits if we lived in the U-S-of-A. Luckily, for us, having sushi in South Africa doesn’t involve having your house repossessed. Just call it another one of South Africa’s perks. I love you South Africa, I really really do.

That’s all folks!

Luv,

me

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Today I am doing load after load after load of laundry (where is the laundry fairy when you need her?). Packing. Thinking about packing. Packing some more. Organizing cupboards.

I’ve suddenly realized that Neo does not fit into half of the things in his cupboard. How did that happen? Where did this year go? Well, wherever it went, it sure took off at a run. Last time I looked I had a new baby, now I have a standing monkey son.

I thought this poster by Mara Girling was a good reminder today! It’s so pretty. I really do love pretty typography.

All this talk of pretty reminds me of a visit I took in August to this beautiful place Mara-Mi in Stillwater, MN. A place devoted entirely to all things printed (Sidenote: Apparently, if you are a creative print designer, your name should be Mara. Everybody, name your girls Mara if you want them to be fabulous.). Their website is under construction, but what’s so great about this company is, from what I can google, it’s made up of a team of highly creative uber awesome print worthy women. The shop is beautiful, well done ladies… I am pretty sure you are going to take over the world one day soon!

How DIY amazing are the lights. I am ga ga over them! Like, as in, I want them as badly as I want Lady GaGa to come over to supper. Badly! Although, if she did come, I’d have no idea what to feed her. What do pop icons eat? I’d have to google that.

Check out this kid’s shades. Too funny!

People were going gang busters for the ice-cream. They also sold coloured fondant. And you could order cupcakes and cakes from them.
I was convinced these cushions were made for me. One look at the price, and Coffee Guy was certain they were not.

Even Coffee Guy enjoyed himself… although he didn’t try the coffee. We opted for ice-cream instead.If you are near Stillwater, you really should give this place a try.

Love,

me

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