We’re down to three weeks, and while our transfer and home leave plans are still a bit up in the air, it is no longer possible to duck the rapidly approaching reality of our imminent departure from Rwanda.
Posts tagged ‘pets’
It starts with the departure of friends and colleagues. Although the bulk of the turnover won’t take place until the summer, a few positions rotate earlier, and this season’s farewell parties have already started cropping up. We tried to put off thinking about our own forthcoming departure from Kigali until after our return from South Africa. Now with only about four months left in our Rwanda tour, moving anxiety is beginning to grip our household.
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.
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.
Our worry that Munchkin might react negatively to the arrival of his baby sister stemmed partly from S’s late-night Internet trawling and partly from experience. S was four when her younger sister was born and, in lieu of exhibiting concern for her hungry cries, S urged her mother not to feed the newborn who had intruded into her heretofore-perfect family life. And when Munchkin was born, our pup Emmie wore her melancholy on her face, arching her eyebrows in a show of exaggerated sadness at seeing her playtime and share of our attention significantly reduced.
This is a tumultuous time for S at the office. A few hours after Munchkin’s birthday party wrapped up, she was on the plane headed to DC for a weeklong conference. And while D did not appreciate being left to clean up the post-party mess, the week of quality father-son time alone with Munchkin easily made for it.
A friend, writing about his kids recently, noted that while his older child is beginning to take on the look of a real human, his toddler remained a clingy, oversized doll. The latter is an apt description for Munchkin, who is beginning to push the boundaries of his self-sufficiency but remains overly attached to S.
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.