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.
Serving overseas, the Fourth of July is a big deal. It is the Embassy’s largest public event – an opportunity to showcase our culture and celebrate our nation’s independence. Given how much work goes into putting the fete together, one forgets sometimes how the holiday is an even bigger deal back home. Parades in even the smallest of rural towns, fireworks displays, jets flying overhead. Being back in the United States to celebrate the Fourth of July for the first time in several years not only gave us a much greater appreciation for Independence Day, but also enabled us to steep ourselves in American culture in a way that is all but impossible overseas.
Eight and a half months in the Washington DC area seemed like an eternity considering how little time we had spent Stateside during our first two tours with the State Department. We made lofty goals of exploring the District’s green spaces, as neither of us had spent much time in the area before. S bought a couple of hiking books that were replete with enticing trails, which unfortunately we never found time to explore. We did make it out to two parks on our list, both of which proved excellent birding destinations.
When does the inevitable become truly real? At what point does the near future undeniably intrude on the present and color every moment leading up to its imminent arrival? When did our move to Rwanda morph from being the next chapter in our Foreign Service career, which could be compartmentalized and vaguely ignored, to a fact of life as undeniable as an onrushing Mack truck?