Part of the joy of living overseas is not only sharing our traditions with others, but also partaking in myriad cultural celebrations that are new to us.
Posts tagged ‘culture’
Cambridge is where D began his brief visit to England and also where his trip ended. Because his friend is a postdoc at one of the thirty-one distinct colleges that comprise Cambridge University, D had a chance to peek behind the curtain and experience this venerable institution of higher learning as both a tourist and an insider.
There are only so many hours in a day, and they clearly are insufficient, especially on weekdays. We want to play with our kids after spending a long day at the office, but we need to get them fed, bathed, and into bed. We want to unwind, perhaps with a glass of wine or our favorite album on full blast, but it’s hard to get ten minutes of quiet time when one kid persists in popping out of bed with a litany of requests and the other requires constant, hands-on attention. Books? Movies? Going out? In an alternate universe, a short lifetime ago we used to enjoy these things too, but given the current state of play it’s hard to imagine how we ever had the time or energy for them.
Rushing home from work last Thursday – his last day in the office – D was still too wired, too caught up in wrapping up last-minute projects, to actually relax. The red-eye flight from Kigali to Amsterdam, with its obligatory refueling stop in Entebbe, did little to help. It was only when D reached his friend’s office in Paris around midday on Friday, dropped his bags, and settled into a cute Parisian bistro for a luxuriously slow-paced lunch with two former college classmates that he felt the stress of the previous months begin to ebb away.
With the Gulf all over the news last week, S realized that she never got around to writing about her and Munchkin’s first foray to the peninsula a couple of months ago. Originally, we had planned to go to Dubai as a family to celebrate S’s birthday, taking advantage of the long Easter weekend and the rare direct flight from Kigali. With D’s grandmother’s passing a few days before our scheduled vacation, however, the trip became a solo parenting adventure for S.
We planned to wait right up to S’s due date to start explaining to Munchkin that he was about to become a big brother. The little man put those plans to rest with his usual mix of cheerful guilelessness and unanticipated perspicacity, sparking a series of hilarious conversations in the process.
The Foreign Service lifestyle lends itself to eclectic acquisition. A couple of years in one country, several more in another – if one is really into original artwork, it’s easy to get carried away. We are not avid collectors by any measure, but we do try to acquire something meaningful everywhere we’ve lived – one or two pieces to subsequently stir our memories and help evoke all the good times we had in a foreign country that for a few years came to feel like home.
Following the shoreline north from Swakopmund, one enters the Skeleton Coast, which is rumored to be both desolate and wondrous. We cannot attest to either as we chose an inland route north, traversing Damaraland on the way to Etosha, Namibia’s premier game park. In addition to its indigenous tribes, which speak one of southern Africa’s clicking tongues, Damaraland is famous for its desert-adapted elephants, and it is in search of these that we made our way to the Doro!Nawas conservancy.