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temporary impairment

A fractured thumb, though a minor injury in the grand scheme of things, complicates life in ways one would never even consider until faced with the impossibility of accomplishing the simplest of tasks to which one ordinarily devotes little more than a passing thought.

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thankfully, playing dominos requires only one good hand

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folding in

After an exciting celebratory weekend, with surprisingly fewer belly rubs than anticipated, S and her parents squeezed themselves between the suitcases and baby gear to make the return trek home to northern Maine.

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showered with love

Grandchildren are always exciting and a blessing, even more so when it’s the first in a family and doubly so when it’s the first on both sides of the family. And thus we find ourselves at the pinnacle of firsts. Though we would have liked to have a co-ed baby shower, as was the custom among our group of friends in Nairobi, it seemed a bit dicey to wait until D came back to the States, a little less than three weeks before the estimated due date, to hold a party. Instead S’s mom and sister and D’s sister planned a spectacular ladies-only Sunday brunch shower the weekend S returned home.

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ice age

The wintery weather we had sought in vain in Bukovel caught up with us as soon as we headed back to Chisinau. Snow fell for most of the day and it took us three more hours to backtrack across the snow-swept country roads back to Moldova than it had taken us on the way to Bukovel. Even the Moldovans now agree that winter has come in earnest.

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The trees in Chisinau are heavy with ice. They rattle menacingly when the night wind whistles through their branches.  Read more

man makes plans and God laughs

So there we were, barreling down Bukovel’s steepest, iciest slope when a wild boar charged out of the woods right into our path. We swerved to avoid him, but D caught an edge and, as the famous Russian movie line goes, he slipped, fell, and came to in a cast. At least that was the version of the events suggested by D’s Moldovan friend. The truth, sadly, is much less exciting than fiction.

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brain droppings

Compared to the polar vortex that hit our homeland, Moldova has been downright balmy of late. We’ve even had some  sunshine this week — a welcome reprieve from the soupy fog that blankets Chisinau so thoroughly that it has caused multiple flight cancellations over the last month. We had thought we’d hardly notice the difference in temperature between Moldova and Maine, but now we’re not so sure. S, in particular, is dreading the New England winter weather as she prepares to return home in a few days, especially since her baby bump has made it all but impossible to button her winter jackets.

Dec

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birding U.S.A.

It took more than a year of African safaris for D to finally admit that he had become enamored not just with the continent’s exotic birdlife but also with the hobby of birding itself. To S’s occasional dismay, he took his newly discovered enthusiasm for bird photography on our home leave travels, which meant that sometimes S would find herself hiking alone while D left the trail to follow some winged creature into the woods.

Anna's hummingbird, Mt. Tamalpais

Anna’s hummingbird, Mt. Tamalpais

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New Year’s Day

For well over an hour last night, the Chisinau skyline gave the impression of a city under siege. It was virtually impossible to distinguish the official fireworks from those purchased by the general public. A thick cloud of smoke hung over the city center, as a myriad simultaneous explosions pierced the night, spreading their radiant starbursts above the Moldovan capital as far and wide as the eye could see. People were still setting off fireworks at 2am, when we called it a night.

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