Serving abroad, we get both local and American holidays off from work, though knowing that some countries go a bit overboard with celebrations, the State Department caps the number of total holiday days per year at twenty.
That does not account for impromptu holidays, however. We missed out on last month’s day off when election day was declared a national holiday because we were both observing the elections. This week the Embassy is closed again as Kenya inaugurates its fourth president, turning the last page in a protracted chapter of its history, which saw a lengthy vote count and a supreme court challenge to the election outcome. The court ruled unanimously to uphold the results, which gave Uhuru Kenyatta, son of Kenya’s first president, a first-round victory by the slimmest of margins.
Many local holidays, like this week’s inauguration day, fall midweek. It’s less than ideal if one wants long weekends to travel, but there is also quite a lot to be said for going to work on Monday with the knowledge that the next day will be one of rest. We celebrated by staying up late last night and watching a movie. We then stayed up even later because the film, The Manchurian Candidate, completely creeped S out.
We also enjoyed a bit of a lie-in, as the Brits are fond of saying, luxuriating in the laziness of a Tuesday morning spent at home. But now it’s back to business – with three weeks left in Kenya, we’ve started pre-packing our stuff in anticipation of the big move, and though we’ve crossed most of the pre-departure items off our to-do list, we still haven’t finalized our home leave itinerary. Even with the holiday, today promises to be a busy day.