Given the frenetic pace of work in the run-up to Secretary Kerry’s visit, it is a minor miracle that we were able to take advantage of the long Columbus Day weekend and leave Kigali for our first trip around Rwanda.
Posts tagged ‘Nairobi’
Even without Munchkin’s recent antics, there are plenty of worries that keep S up at night. The one that comes up again and again is her career, or — rather — what oftentimes feels like the lack of one. We have written about the travails of being a trailing spouse in the Foreign Service community before, and many of the same realities S found challenging when we embarked on this life path five and a half years ago hold just as true today. Even with an excellent job — and S feels extremely fortunate to have landed a fantastic position in her field — the worry lingers at the back of S’s mind: what happens when this tour ends? Usually, it’s back to square one.
When we lived in Kenya, we frequently took our visitors to the David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage. Baby elephants that become separated from their mothers because of an accident (falling down a well, for example) or who are orphaned as a result of poaching (a phenomenon that has sadly become all too common) stand little chance of surviving in the wild. The Sheldrick Trust rescues baby elephants from all over Kenya, cares for them in Nairobi, and then releases them into the Tsavo wilderness when they are old enough.
How many people do you need to put in a room before it is more likely than not that two of them share a birthday? The answer – 23 – may seem counterintuitive even if the math behind it is fairly straightforward. It takes so long for our birthdays to come around – once every 365 days – that intuitively it feels like one would need a lot more people to come together for the probabilities to align.
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.
On one of our safaris in Kenya, we visited a tribe of Maasai. These warriors live in mud-and-stick dwellings under the open skies of the African plains. When the youths complete their rites of passage, they marry and leave their parental homestead to start a new settlement. This tradition produces a curious cyclical effect: because the young tribesmen all embark upon married life around the same time, their kids also tend to be born one right after another. Our globetrotting lifestyle could not be much further removed from the lives of the Maasai, but even though we are far away from many of our friends, in a way we too feel like we belong to a tribe. Like tends to attract like, and now that we have started filling our social media posts with baby updates and photos, we have also become keenly aware of just how many friends we have who are going through the same stages of parenthood at roughly the same time as us.
With the clock ticking down on the last hours of the year, we indulged in a bit of nostalgia, looking through our photographs from the past twelve months and reliving the highlights of a busy and adventure-filled year. We split 2013 between three continents, starting the year in Kenya, spending the summer months on home leave in the United States, and moving to Moldova in August. In addition to exploring a bit of our own homeland, we set foot in eight other countries, and hope to visit many others in the coming year.