Our first Thanksgiving together very nearly caused some family strife. S’s parents had invited us to spend the extended weekend with them shortly after we had started dating – many months before the actual holiday – and when D’s mom got wind of the plan, she laid on a massive guilt trip, accusing D of sabotaging her favorite family holiday over “some girl he barely knew.” We wound up doing two Thanksgivings to mollify her, flying from Chicago to Connecticut and then driving to Maine, making sure to spend equal amounts of time with both families.
Posts tagged ‘Emmie’
The grass always seems greener on the other side, so the saying goes, but there are exceptions, and this was one of them. There was no doubt in D’s mind as he transited three airports over the course of 27 hours that the return alone from Portland to Kigali was going to be a bit of a downer. What he hadn’t quite counted on was to find the saying to have literal implications as well. Rwanda is a lush, verdant country for most of the year, but D returned during the height of the dry season to find the countryside sere, the grass wilting brown, and the air pregnant with dust.
There is one respect in which Kigali compares quite poorly to the other places we’ve served. It should come as no surprise that land would be at a premium in the most densely populated country on the continent, yet we still find the utter dearth of green public spaces in the capital remarkably disappointing.
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.
After hunkering down all of Saturday and watching the blizzard rage on into the night, we were excited to see the sun beaming down today. Perfect weather to play outside and enjoy the accumulation from one of the most powerful snowstorms to ever hit the East Coast.
In Nairobi, almost all of our friends either had young kids or were actively trending in that direction. Though at times we felt a bit left out, we were not ready for children. We had gotten married two weeks before arriving in Kenya — our first posting with the State Department — and we did not want to jump into parenthood right away. So, we got a puppy instead. Some friends joked that Emmie was our proto-baby. Watching her interact with Munchkin now, it seems there was quite a bit of truth to that jokey statement.
We’ve commented elsewhere on how much joy we derive from watching Munchkin expand his mastery of the world — seeing it through his eyes, watching him figure out how it works, and enjoying a vicarious thrill of breakthrough every time he reaches another milestone. With time, we’ve come to appreciate another aspect of the long arc of his learning curve. Even as we help him learn the ways of the world, there is quite a lot he unwittingly teaches us in the process.
From the moment he was born, we have speculated what Munchkin’s first word would be and whether it would be in English or Russian. S thought it might be some variation on “Emmie,” the name of our dog, who is Munchkin’s constant companion. For his part, D tried his utmost to work the word “papa” into his conversations with the little man, recognizing all the while that this was a losing battle. Munchkin has been babbling up a storm for quite some time, but has yet to make anything even remotely resembling the “pa” sound, the letter p being especially difficult for babies.