Our life has changed again. In some ways, we feel like we are more at home, as in America home. People speak English here, we go almost everywhere in the car, and most of the food is pretty familiar. They have salted butter!
Spending all that time with the Dutchies is paying off, because most of the products are from South Africa and we can read the labels in Afrikaans. Who knew? Nate, there IS another place in the world where knowing the Dutch language comes in handy! There is also a lot of British influence. Every night and every morning, when the guards at our front gate change duty, Mike takes them tea and cookies:
Having guards at our house 24 hours a day is one way our life has changed. They usually just stay in the guardhouse, only popping out to open and close the gates for us when we leave. I always wonder, is it annoying for them when we leave because they have to get up and do something? Or do they enjoy it because it gives them something to do? I am usually the one driving, to and from work, and I’m very conscious of the way I’m disturbing their inertia. I always smile and wave!
We are also getting used to the local customs, and love the way people greet you on the street and say good-morning. Mike and I always get called “Sir” and “Madam” by the locals, which makes us feel weird, so we have decided to start calling them “Sir” and “Madam” back. On Saturday and Sunday mornings, I get up early with Jake and Eli (7am) to go out “running” and riding bikes through the neighborhood. Although it’s early, I’m a morning person and I love it! When they were babies, this is what I used to dream about doing with them.
We are also buying more beef these days, since it tastes more like regular meat and not gamey like it was in Azerbaijan. We were a little nervous about the sausage, but it was great! Who doesn’t like a nice log of seasoned swine?
One thing we don’t love so much are the mosquitos. We have screens on all the windows and the doors, but with two kids around, the doors rarely get closed all the way. One morning Mike came out to the kitchen to tell me he’d rolled over on a mosquito in the night and smeared blood on the sheet. Later I went upstairs to throw the sheets in the laundry, and he’d made the bed with the dirty sheets! We are learning to navigate new challenges.
Like haircuts. Mike is excellent at haircuts!!
Zambia smells different. In the mornings and evenings, there are leaves and trash being burned which makes the air a little smokey. It also makes beautiful sunsets. Africa tends to follow the European model of hygiene as well, which means that I am constantly feeling like I need to wash my clothes. I can never tell if that smell is someone else, or is it me? I am pretty sure I don’t need a shower because I do that every day. But what if it IS me? When our plane landed in Lusaka, it received the Lysol Treatment. If you’ve ever flown on an African flight then you know what I mean! But even that is all a matter of perspective. Some of our friends here used to live in Asia, and she told me that in that part of the world, everyone thinks Americans smell like meat. So I guess we are all stinky depending on what you’re used to.
Speaking of smells, this flowering tree is everywhere right now, including our backyard. I have nothing to base this on other than the lotion from Victoria’s Secret, but I think it might be Freesia:
Restaurant food so far has been pretty ho-hum. There aren’t very many to choose from, and in general they lean toward British menus with an occasional attempt at seafood or something Asian. “Fine” is a good way to describe them. The atmosphere, however, is always lovely. Outdoors, in the trees, with wide areas for the kids to run around. Here is a place called Kilamanjaro:
This is an Ethiopian place, where we had some delicious beef! The rest of the food was “meh,” but we plan to go back for the beef and the coffee.
Daddy sometimes goes bike riding. Until our car comes, this is his only way to get around, and he is a pretty good sport!
We employ two people full time now; our housekeeper, Ms. Hilda, and our gardener, Steven. We don’t really need either of them full-time, but that is “the way it’s done” here, and by employing them we are giving them jobs and a way to support their families. And while we don’t “need” them, wow, they are sure nice to have around! Hilda washes our clothes so efficiently that we only really need two outfits. I think it’s funny that the pair of underwear I wear one day is always washed and folded the next! But I am not complaining about that. She also washes all the sheets once a week, which is pure heaven. They are both a pleasure to be around, and we are so grateful for them. Jake still likes to help with the sweeping and the raking, though. He also enjoys driving our full-size garbage cans around the yard.
Eli continues to enjoy cooking, getting breakfast ready all by himself, and planting his own seeds in the garden.
And who could forget the pool?
The best part about moving so often is that it gives us a real opportunity to believe that we can be something different. That we can change ourselves, change our life, and be someone better.
Some things, though, don’t need to change. It’s hard to make popcorn and a movie any better, and that is a treat no matter where we are.