life won’t wait
Although our thoughts may still be on our travels, our home leave is now well behind us. It has been a week since we moved to Washington DC and took up residence in Foggy Bottom. We barely caught our breath before D reported for duty and S turned her attention to our next move overseas, which will be upon us all too soon.
We have tried to strike a balance between catching up with friends and crossing things off our pages-long to-do lists, enjoying all the Americana that DC has to offer (for the next 6 weeks) and trying not to forget to eat and sleep as well. Last week, for example, we had a mini Nairobi reunion with visiting friends. They had convened all the people they’ve known in their 7 years in Kenya who were now in DC so we met some people who would in all likelihood have fallen into our group of close friends if we had served in Nairobi at the same time. However, we had to bow out of the weekend plans we had made with the same group in order to take care of a few pressing errands.
We also have been trying to get our bearings and familiarize ourselves with DC. When D was in training two summers ago, we lived out in Virginia and only made occasional visits to the city. After a week we have our neighborhood mostly figured and D can get to and from work fine, but the rest of the city is a big mystery.
Near as we can tell, DC’s city planners combined the features of several big world cities into a barely navigable hodgepodge of streets. There are alphanumeric streets that vaguely follow a grid pattern and transversals that run on a diagonal in various directions. There are multiple roundabouts and poorly signed expressways that materialize when you least expect them. And then there are streets — like in Boston — from which it is impossible to make a left turn, or any turn at all. Apparently when we uploaded East Africa maps to our GPS two years ago we rendered it inoperative stateside, so we don’t have that crutch to aid in our vehicular explorations. Coming home one night last week we actually wound up driving on the same street three times before figuring out how to return to our neighborhood.
The mind does a better job grasping time if there are distinct markers to help subdivide it. As we neared the end of our home leave, we found ourselves looking forward to settling down in DC for the summer and regrouping. Now that we’ve made plans for every weekend we are here, it’s hard to avoid the realization that our remaining time in the U.S. also will fly by in a flash. Perhaps if we keep reaching back for memories of our home leave it will seem to last a little longer…