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glimmers of hope

Even without Munchkin’s recent antics, there are plenty of worries that keep S up at night. The one that comes up again and again is her career, or — rather — what oftentimes feels like the lack of one. We have written about the travails of being a trailing spouse in the Foreign Service community before, and many of the same realities S found challenging when we embarked on this life path five and a half years ago hold just as true today. Even with an excellent job — and S feels extremely fortunate to have landed a fantastic position in her field — the worry lingers at the back of S’s mind: what happens when this tour ends? Usually, it’s back to square one.

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the great manipulator

No sooner did we settle into our new home, get over jet lag, and establish a routine than Munchkin decided to shatter our new equilibrium.

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should we stay or should we go?

Today marks one month since we left the United States, tomorrow – a month since we arrived in Rwanda. It’s hard to believe how fast the days have flown by, but in the grand scheme of things one month is a relatively short period of time – and it is certainly a woefully inadequate time to evaluate whether we like Kigali enough to extend our tour here. And yet, that is precisely the decision we have to make in the coming weeks.

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news from the bush

When we lived in Kenya, we frequently took our visitors to the David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage. Baby elephants that become separated from their mothers because of an accident (falling down a well, for example) or who are orphaned as a result of poaching (a phenomenon that has sadly become all too common) stand little chance of surviving in the wild. The Sheldrick Trust rescues baby elephants from all over Kenya, cares for them in Nairobi, and then releases them into the Tsavo wilderness when they are old enough.

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Munchkin’s musings

“We need to buy more carrots at the Embassy,” Munchkin exclaimed after fishing the last of the thinly shredded orange vegetables out of S’s salad bowl, tilting his head back, and swallowing them with relish. Wrong venue, but how many two-and-a-half-year-olds have the word “embassy” in their vocabulary?

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waiting game

“Can you turn that off?” S mumbled from the depth of her slumber as the first rays of early morning sunlight filtered through the curtains. “Turn what off?” – “Your alarm, it’s too loud,” she sighed. When D pointed out that his alarm was off and she was simply hearing the usual cacophony of morning bird calls, S rolled over with another sigh and the somewhat cryptic admonition, “No more feeding!”

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harvest holiday

Today is Umuganura – Rwanda’s National Harvest Day. Even though it typically falls on the first Friday in August, the government did not confirm the public holiday until this week, meaning that we got an unexpected but much appreciated day off.

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familiar faces

How many people do you need to put in a room before it is more likely than not that two of them share a birthday? The answer – 23 – may seem counterintuitive even if the math behind it is fairly straightforward. It takes so long for our birthdays to come around – once every 365 days – that intuitively it feels like one would need a lot more people to come together for the probabilities to align.

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back to Africa

Some hiccups with our house notwithstanding, we are beginning to feel settled. While there are some stark differences between Kenya and Rwanda, there are plenty of similarities as well. Also, we both have spent time in Kigali previously, so the move does not feel nearly as disorienting as going to Moldova from Kenya felt for S, for example. The transition has been a little more challenging for our little ones, however.

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Kigali (dis)orientation

Yesterday marked one week since our arrival in Rwanda – a week that has felt more like one extended day, both because of how much we had to do in order to get settled and how little sleep we got in the process.

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