Towards the end of our Nairobi tour – after hosting our fifteenth group of visitors in just under two years – we joked that at some point in the future we should make concert-style t-shirts featuring our various Foreign Service tours to gift to people who visit us at all of our overseas postings. More than halfway through our third tour, the only person who would currently qualify for such a memento would be S’s mom.
Posts tagged ‘travel’
By the time Munchkin was a couple months old, we had already spilled a considerable amount of digital ink chronicling his every squirm, coo, and nascent personality quirk in the pages of this blog. As Junebug’s due date approached, we talked about the need to ensure that she does not get second billing – that we devote at least as much attention to her as to him so that she does not feel like she is growing up in his shadow.
Serving in Kenya, shortly after we got married and before we even thought about having children, we tried to take advantage of every extended holiday weekend to get out of Nairobi and explore the country. We continued to travel a lot after Munchkin was born, using our posting in Moldova as a springboard to explore Eastern and Central Europe, but we also came to appreciate the value of spending long weekends at home to soak in the wonderment of new parenthood.
The wait, seemingly unbearable at the outset but not that long in the grand scheme of things, is nearly over. After packing first the layette shipment and then her suitcases, S is making the final preparations for her return to Kigali this weekend. It has been a whirlwind summer — on both sides of the Atlantic — and much as D will grumble about the lost sleep that awaits with the arrival of two jet-legged kids, he is very much looking forward to seeing them again.
Composing the speech for Junebug’s baby-naming ceremony cracked open the floodgates of S’s memory. Writing about her grandmothers’ lives and looking through old photographs of their younger days, S tried to reconcile her recollections with the stories she had heard from her parents – it’s not easy to paint a portrait of someone’s life when one only shares in that person’s twilight years.
The first week passed in a haze of cruel jet lag. The next was marked by Rwanda’s presidential election – a week full of long days at the office that seemed to persist long after the final ballots had been cast. The third week was blissfully uneventful and marked in its passing the midway point of our separation.
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.