If pressed on which of their children they like more, most parents would demur – we certainly would – and claim, perhaps implausibly, that they have no favorites and that they love all of their children equally. Of course, at any given moment in time, one of the kids may be acting out while another magically transforms into the epitome of cuddly cuteness, making it challenging to treat both with evenhandedness and avoid the appearance of favoritism. And then, we’re only human; surely we sometimes play favorites – even if we won’t admit it, not even to ourselves?!
For months we had been talking about taking a day trip to Shenandoah, but never quite finding the time or energy to go. Tied up with seemingly never-ending settling-in errands, catching up on language study and sleep, foiled by a handful of rainy weekends. The park entrance is less than a two-hours’ drive from DC, but for some reason the outing felt like it necessitated a three-day weekend. Columbus Day would have been the perfect occasion to go, with the fall foliage in its fully resplendent display, but D was away on a work trip.
The tendency when one is serving overseas is to use each posting as a springboard to explore the region, to travel around the continent one calls home for a few years. In Africa, this strategy hits two snags. First, the continent is immense. Second, with the exception of a handful of hubs, intercontinental flights are unreliable and expensive. Serving in eastern Africa, for example, South Africa was accessible but the countries of the Maghreb not at all.