A friend, writing about his kids recently, noted that while his older child is beginning to take on the look of a real human, his toddler remained a clingy, oversized doll. The latter is an apt description for Munchkin, who is beginning to push the boundaries of his self-sufficiency but remains overly attached to S.
Just north of the Rwanda-Uganda border, a mere couple of hours’ drive from Kigali, lies Lake Bunyoni. One of the continent’s deepest lakes, Bunyoni translates in the local language as “the place of many little birds.” What better place to spend a holiday weekend, we thought.
Apart from our recent travels – we’ve hit the road three out of the last four weekends – the Munch has had a quiet couple of weeks at home after finishing the first semester at his new school. Following an end of year parent-teacher conference, S received an electronic progress report on Munchkin’s first semester, which was amusing in its over-the-top accolades, at least a few of which were clearly apocryphal.
Up before the sun, S vacillated about her decision to go see the golden monkeys. The road up to Virunga, where we were staying, is treacherous – an impossibly steep ascent up a rough track that is all ruts and boulders leads up to the lodge – and S had some misgivings about navigating it downhill alone in the darkness. Plus there was the fact that she prefers shared experiences to going it alone. The hour she spent with the golden monkeys made it more than worthwhile.
Was 2016 good? Will 2017 be better or worse? As with most things in life, the answer depends on perspective. Looking back, do you focus on one or two events and let them define the year or do you take a step back and appreciate the good moments while acknowledging the difficult ones? Looking forward, do you fear the challenges that lie ahead or welcome the opportunities that life will surely present?
In contrast to the last three years — when our winter holidays were accompanied by real winter weather — this year’s festivities feel a bit out of place given the warm, equatorial climate in Rwanda. But that’s no reason not to celebrate, especially since Christmas and Hanukkah overlapped this year.
In addition to the Chao Phraya River, which bisects Bangkok before emptying out into the Gulf of Thailand, there are also innumerable canals that further divide the Thai capital into a maze of riverine neighborhoods. One hasn’t fully experienced Bangkok without navigating its waterways.