Monday, November 28, 2011

Early demise & Thanksgiving

Things fall apart. It’s the title of an incredibly famous (and well worth your time) book by Chinua Achebe and it is also the way things go sometimes. They just fall apart.

We bought a stove from ‘Matts Place’ – a kind Kenyan businessman capitalizing on the high turn over rate among the expatriate community, buying things from those leaving and reselling them to those coming.

Stupidity disclaimer – we never saw the stove before we agreed to buy it.

Tidbit of current Kenyan foreign relations – Kenya’s army is currently in southern Somalia in response to several incidents of kidnappings in northern Kenyan. The kidnappings were deemed the responsibility of a Somali terrorist network, al Shabab. In response to Kenya’s pursuit of al Shabab, an individual associated with al Shabab carried out two grenade attacks in Nairobi about a month ago. He was arrested, security remains heightened in Nairobi, and the Kenyan army is making good progress in Somalia – with their only expressed goal being to push al Shabab away from the Kenyan border in order to stabilize Kenyan national security.

Ok – so, the stove. When the stove arrived it was much, much smaller than we anticipated. But, it had four burners, was a gas stove (which is highly preferred, especially as the power in our apartment complex has been going out approximately 2 times a day for approximately 2-3 hours each time), and was only $130. All of my baking dishes, so carefully brought over from the US, fit inside with the door closed so we agreed on the stove, with the request Matt contact us if he ever came across ‘an upgrade’.

The stove was doing fine despite its diminished stature, food was cooking fine, and though the pans on top of the stove wobbled a bit when I stirred their contents, we were relatively content.

Come Thanksgiving pt2 on Saturday (we had pt1 on Thanksgiving) – the goal was to eat at 5 with a group of individuals in their 20s who are all living on our side of town & are in similar working situations/life stage.

I proceeded to prepare the pumpkin to make pumpkin casserole – which involves cutting a pumpkin into slices (it took Scola, our househelp, a good 30 min to cut the pumpkin into 6 pieces as the shell was so hard), covering it in butter & cinnamon, & roasting it for about 1 ½ hours. The pumpkin is then mashed, and at this point is reminiscent of canned pumpkin. I can then engage in the actual recipe making, baking, and presenting.

Now, I had noticed a flame coming out of the bottom of the oven when I lit it – I thought it was a bit odd, but not alarming as all gas stoves have flames on the bottom (just usually contained beneath the bottom panel of the oven).

So, I filled up my only 9x13 pyrex baking dish with pumpkin & let it bake & bake. Scola and I were happily working in the kitchen on other things. I took out the pumpkin at the appropriate time & set the pan on top of the stove. As I walked towards the sink, I heard a crack similar to ice popping and thought ‘my only 9x13 just cracked…and it took up so much suitcase weight getting here!’

I mentioned the cracking sound to Scola and as we both looked at the stove, and began to take a step towards it there was a loud explosion and literally thousands of pieces of Pyrex glass went spraying across the stove & it’s surrounding area.

I stood there surprised (there’s the possibility some sort of expression of surprise I hope Kai didn’t hear snuck out of my mouth). Scola screamed and literally ducked behind me, peering out from behind my shoulder, Chris came running to see what happened, Kai said “wow! Boom!!! More? More?” and Mika slept. 

Things to be thankful for:

* the pumpkin was salvageable & eatable
*Kai, I think to his disappointment, was not in the room
* the trajectory of small pieces of heavy hot glass is not far from the origin of the explosion, and therefore no injuries were sustained
 * the gas line connecting the gas tank to the gas stove remained completely intact

Things to be unthankful for:

* I no longer have any 9x13 baking dishes
* I’m going to be late for Thanksgiving
* I have a huge mess to clean up – and it involves hot, sticky glass
 * My stove is incredibly, and irrevocably dysfunctional
            - Return policies are not always easy to navigate
            - The exchange rate continues to drop so my stove is actually now more
expensive than when I bought it.

Things to be amused by:

* I wasted 4lbs of space on a Pyrex destined for a spectacular, and immediate, demise
* Scola
Reason #1: “Well, Mama Kai, are you still thankful? Is this still your Thanksgiving?”
Reason #2: When, after the initial shock of the event wore off, I pointed out Scola obviously hiding behind me she responded with “well yes, I was scared! I thought it was al Shabab!”
Reason #3: At the end of the day, as we were walking out the door after quite a few things had gone wrong (not just the exploding pumpkin Pyrex) she said “well, I think Satan probably feels pretty bad because he tried very hard and we are still happy!”

So – we made it to Thanksgiving (we didn’t eat until 8:30 because our hostess had to actually go out and purchase another stove because her first one was broken – and then the second one broke), and had a wonderful time making new acquaintances & hopefully some new friends.

Sometimes, things fall apart – but in Kenya, the people are incredibly resilient, and smile easily, and we are quickly becoming that way.

We are learning to graciously smile, and finding our venues for needed brief retreats.

Monday, November 21, 2011


Life continues to take me by surprise here, despite years of experience as a resident. But, I can assuredly say, we are adjusting. The evidence is as follows: 

Kai & Mika's diapers are exceptionally surprising - they are apparently adjusting internally on several different levels. 

Chris is picking up more & more Swahili - I'm still working on days of the week but am generally improving as well.
We have made some friends - one who even came to help me clean our new apartment today (more about the apartment later.) 

I don't feel my heart rise into my throat every time Chris drives, and it's not because I'm no longer letting him drive - he's getting better! Note - the word 'drive' in Nairobi actually means 'fight for your life without costing others theirs'. 

I can pick up several items at the grocery store now rather than picking them out - the linguistic difference between 'picking up' and 'picking out' may be linguistically subtle but the actual life significance is huge.

We know where the matches & candles are when the power goes out, and where to strategically place them so it is easy to find them in the dark when the power goes out unexpectedly. 

Similarly - we have learned to capitalize on power outages & the subsequent need for candlelight. Late at night, power outages can be an opportunity for a forced romantic ambiance - carpe nocte.

I now plan to only accomplish 1-2 errands in a day, and absolutely nothing else. The only definite guarantee is that something, possibly everything will go slowly, confusingly, or not at all. The corresponding guarantee is that nothing will go as hoped or planned - the power will be out at the pizza place so they can't make pizza, there will be a tree in the road as a the result of heavy rains and I’ll have to drive another circuitous route to reach a geographically close location, a truck will be tipped over blocking the entire road resulting in gridlocked traffic for hours, customer service reps at various businesses will troubleshoot for 30 min only to send me to another location for further assistance, appointments can begin late and run long.

There is a saying 'no hurry in Africa' or as Lion King so fondly coined 'no worries - Hakuna Matata'. The actual truth is hurrying is not an option and worrying would only result in excessive grey hair, increased risk for ulcers, and potential early demise - not to mention humiliation & increased irritation as a plethora of people laugh at my worry & frustration manifesting themselves through any number of ungraceful and attention drawing behaviors. These behaviors so far have included, but are not limited to honking, groaning, sighing loudly, rolling my eyes, tapping my foot, saying ‘seriously?!’,  or giving up in the middle of a conversation, saying ‘ok, thank you’ and walking away mid sentence.I offer my sincerest thanks to Kenya for being so gracious with my fumblings.

So, we adjust (or don’t) and now only attempt 1 or 2 errands a day. It is actually possible to spend all day running an errand, a single errand, and not complete it. And it could be something simple like refilling your gas cylinder for your gas stove. 

My hyper productive self is reeling, and I have begun to consider the most inconsequential of completed tasks to be massive accomplishments:

Avoided a pothole - +1 on the accomplishments list. Found Mika’s pacifier - +1. Successfully sent a text message from my touch screen phone - +1. Remembered to drive on the left side of the road - +1. Remembered where I was going & how to get there - +2. Had a conversation with an adult that wasn’t centered around moving, how something works, or directions - +3.  Saw my husband without any children, work, or moving details being our reason for interaction - +4. Didn’t cry for the morning - +3, for the afternoon - +3, for the evening - +3, and for the whole day - +10. With this system of measuring success, I am actually still accomplishing quite a bit.

On a more serious note – we are actually making substantial progress at getting ourselves settled here. Despite Chris’s having some work travel, we have successfully found & leased an apartment. I’ll post pictures soon but the general specs: 1st floor, great security, wood floors, marble & wood kitchen, 3bedroom, 2.5bath, laundry room, patio, & huge pantry (my favorite part, easily). It’s located about a mile or so from Chris’s office so he’ll be able to get to work quickly, though if he were in a car, traffic would make his commute about 30 min. LA traffic doesn’t stand a chance in a competition with Kenya – truly not a chance.

We’re moving most of our things to our apartment tomorrow; the move will essentially look like a trip to the airport as all of our belongings remain in suitcases & trunks. We ordered all of our furniture this past weekend and should get it within the next week or two – in Kenya, handmade made-to-order furniture is significantly cheaper than buying it in the store.  We’ll start sleeping at our apartment once the majority of our family has beds…we’re hoping for Saturday.

Since it is the week of Thanksgiving we’ll be celebrating with some good family friends on Thursday, and some new friends on Saturday. Yeah for friends!

I’ll write more again soon. Sorry for the gap between Kai’s last posting and this – I’ve been without internet for the past 5 days due to some idiocy on my part, and an inability to identify my idiocy on the part of the customer service people I spoke with at several different establishments.

Keep reading – pictures coming soon, as well as some more stories, maybe Kenyan food recipes, and more accounts of our unintentional and unsolicited adventures.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Through Kai's Eyes: Part 2

Hi everyone!

Mom told me I have to write again, and even though I am incredibly busy these days - I decided to obey. Obey is my new word this month - mom says it A LOT...I totally get what it means, I just consider it optional and she apparently does not.

Anyway, besides my obedience 'struggle' I'm having a great time in Kenya. I'll be honest, it was a pretty big adjustment - it's light here at night time, and dark during the least that's what I thought at first. I think the day is just flipped upside down here or something - the good thing is it starts getting light at 5:30 in the morning so I can get up then. So much fun to be had!

1am family movie time - Toy Story 2 + cookies + milk
I have met a lot of new people and they are all really nice - I still haven't made any friends my age, but I have a great friend named Scola, and another one named Augustine. I hang out with them a lot while mom is out running errands (what does that mean anyway?) and they are both super nice. They are teaching me Swahili - I know how to say 'kwaheri' and 'tuto o nana' which mean 'bye' and 'see you later'

Scola & me at Kokoo & Babu's house
A couple things I have learned - in addition to every person I saw in America, every person I see in Kenya thinks I'm pretty cute too...I get such big smiles when I use my Swahili! I'm quite sure I've already stolen quite a few Kenyan hearts.

The other awesome part of living here is the driving! There are so many big trucks, and they get so close to our car, and mommy honks ALL the time - it is awesome. There are also so many bumps and I go up & down in my car seat - roads in America were boring & I always fell asleep. Not here!

On another note - I hate going shopping with mom here. She takes so long, and is really tense when we're shopping. It's like she has no idea what she's doing. It looks pretty simple to me - pick up the coolest things, and leave. Oh well, she'll figure it out. I just hope she leaves me home while she does.

We found a new home - mom said I should tell you all but I am still confused as to what/where our new home is. Mom said to tell you it's an apartment, 1st floor (I am super disappointed I can't spend hours going up the stairs when we get home from being out & about - I need the practice), 3 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms (so many toilets to flush!!!), a laundry room, and a nice big porch I can hang out on & watch the parking lot. I guess we're staying at Kokoo (sounds like cocoa) & Babu's house (mom's parents) for a while longer but that's fine with me - I'm starting to like it here.

Mika is learning to smile!
Dad is gone a lot. Mom says he's at work, but he used to work from our house so I guess that's different now and I don't really like it. He's usually gone when I first wake up, and gets home when I'm going to bed. I miss him a lot - mom says it will be better when we move to our new home because it's a lot closer to his work so he doesn't have to commute (?) for 2 hours each way. I hope she's right because he is crazy fun, mom is more um, normal fun.

Bellybuttons are awesome

Mika is bigger - but she still sleeps a lot and I figured out what she's really useful for: if mom & dad are not paying enough attention to me, I just hit her, make her cry, and then they both come running. Mika is incredibly useful...she's like my version of a waiter bell. Awesome.

Mom says we need to leave soon - we're going to have dinner with some new friends (mom wrote about them in her last blog I think).

Here is a picture of me & Mika in the past couple days - mom says people like to see how much we're growing.  Enjoy & talk to you soon!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Progress, Humor, & Breathing Deeply

Well - we are making progress. After about a week in the country, we have cell phones, we've looked at a couple vehicles to purchase, we're learning our way around (Chris can successfully get himself home with a taxi driver who doesn't know where he's going), we've possibly made some friends, and we're pretty sure we've found a place to live. Whew!

Apartment shopping here is unlike anything I've done before as an adult - it basically involves driving through an area we think we'd like to live (a decision based only on how it looks, feels, and how far it is from Chris's work), stopping at anything that looks like rented housing, and asking the guard at the gate if there's anything available. As we're still working on our swahili, we've experimented with every possible form of asking for available housing in English:
* Do you have any space?
* Is there any vacancy?
* Are you full?
* Is there anything to let? (common phrase here 'to let' meaning to rent)
* We are looking to rent - is it possible?
* Do you have any empty units/flats?
Or, a combination: "Do you have any vacant empty flats to let or rent that are available?" - this was the most successful.

After two full days of driving around terrible roads in terrible traffic we think we've found a place. (Note on Kenyan traffic - our driver explained to me today that we were in 'good traffic' when we were going about 10mph. I clarified he meant good and not bad, he said "oh, it's moving so it's good. Sometimes you can be completely stopped. Then it is bad. To stay stopped for a long time, then it is bad. As long as it is moving - you'll be ok. You are getting somewhere.") So, we found a pretty great 3bed 2.5bath on the ground floor of a complex, great security, swimming pool (slightly green), and a gym (sort of...). It's freshly painted and we love all the trim & tiles inside - we're happy.

I also think we're on the track to making some friends. I had an eventful day yesterday...story time:

I decided to take the kids out to do some errands - to look at a vehicle at a dealer, to buy Kai diapers & a few other necessities at the grocery, to pull out Kenyan shillings from the ATM, to purchase Mika diapers from a woman who had advertised in my former high schools newsletter, and then to meet a family friend for a cup of coffee at a coffee shop with a playground. It was ambitious, but I assumed doable.

Well, I did it...but I'm not sure it was doable. After accidentally using my credit card, I successfully removed money with my debit card while Kai wandered away to engage in some polite conversation with some Germans (ambitious of him as he doesn't speak German). Juggling Mika & my purse, I 'discreetly' put my money in my purse (offensively large by any non-mother standards) and went to the grocery store, Kai retrieved from the Germans.

The grocery store, Nakumatt, has these very kid friendly carts with the equivalent of a playschool toy car attached to the front of the cart so kids can 'drive' while parents shop. Kai loves these, but mostly loves them because he can open & close the door, and get in & out. This obviously makes shopping very difficult. As does having absolutely no idea what brand of anything to buy - Bread? 4 minute decision.  Diapers? 8 minute decision.  Shampoo? 10 minute decision. Produce? What is that?! Maybe later. Meat? I give up and decide to try again another day. Another note about Kenyan grocery stores & running errands in general - almost no one does it with kids. I am an absolute anomaly walking around with Mika either in an Ergo or in my arms, and Kai in the cart. All other children are at home I suspect...I'm attempting to change the trend, but I may fail at this self-appointed task and resign effective immediately.

So, needless to say, the grocery store run didn't go well & ended with Kai wandering away with the Nakumatt employee putting away our cart/Kai's 'car'. When I called him, he decided it was an appropriate time & place to throw a decently sized fit - to my severe irritation, and I believe to the entertainment of everyone around, though I ignored eye contact in an attempt to maintain some semblance of dignity/anonymity/denial.

We made it out to the car, both kids screaming & groceries successfully loaded. 5 min to next appointment with Tish, the diaper ad. (side bar - most vehicles in Kenya are equipped with several security features - wheel locks, gear locks, steering wheel locks, etc). I put the key in the ignition and go to put the car in reverse - it's absolutely jammed. I try & try, with no luck. I begin to tear up. Tish calls & asks if we can change our meeting place to a bit closer & still in 5 min. I admit my current dilemma but say I'll do my best - she sounds nice & says she'll come help if I need it. I hang up, and call my mom (who is in Ghana, by the way) and say through my tears "is there a trick to this car?" while what I'm thinking is "why did I move here and why did I have children?" She calmly asks "did you take off the reverse lock?", problem solved.

I make my way out of the shopping center, still fighting tears and convinced I will break down at the next kind look, regardless of who its sender might be. As I exit, I pay the 50c required parking fee now in place at all shopping centers & pass the cars entering the shopping mall who are being checked inside & out & under for any security threats due to heightened security in Kenya since recent Somilia/Kenya developments. I arrive at my meeting location with Tish - babies still screaming and wait. She calls 5 minutes later, I'm at the wrong Montessori school - there are two in the same block. She arrives & we strike up an enjoyable conversation. To make a very long story a bit shorter - I threw myself at the possibility of friendship saying something along the lines of "well, I'm new to the area and don't have any friends so you have my number & if you're ever bored, feel free to give me a call."

She replies she'd love to & by the time we've finished our 10 minute interaction, we'd established we would get our families together for dinner sometime early next week...yeah! Progress.

I went to match up with my coffee date, and met another mom with a son Kai's age...again, I threw myself at the possibility of peer interaction/mom interaction - saying "do you come here often? I'd be happy to join you." And again, my reckless appeal for friendship was met positively - we've agreed to meet up again sometime soon for the kids to play. More progress.

Kai & Mika are slowly beginning to sleep at night, and Kai has already started picking up Swahili - progress.

While every day here is a challenge, and I have cried every day, we are settling in, and the challenging/irritating/incredulous aspects of each day are a bit less challenging, irritating, and incredible. Life is full here - the second one steps out of their driveway, life is swirling around with an unpredictability that is incredibly predictable. Everything takes longer than expected, and surprises are around every corner. While it is at times stressful, I found myself thinking today that this is a place where life is deeply lived, not floated through. I think I prefer it that way.

It is, as I've told people before, a place where my soul breathes deeply, taking in the fullness of life. My soul breathes deeply of beauty & of tragedy, of compassion & of resentment, of excess & of desperate need, of order & of chaos, of practical & absolutely senseless. Kenya seeps its way in to me again, and despite how uncomfortable it can be, my soul is again breathing deeply.

I promised Chris I would finish this up 20 min ago, so I've got to scoot. I'll write again soon, and Kai promises he will too - he has some great insights on being here so watch for another "through Kai's eyes" sometime soon.

Til then! 

Monday, November 7, 2011

A Picture Entry

Here is a picture account of our journey from CA to Nairobi & a few from our beginning time here - enjoy!
All loaded up at the Odell home - absolutely 'chalkered' (as they say in London). It means full - like chalk full

Little does he know how much he'll be in that carseat for the next 52 hours...

Quick stop for Mika to meet her great grandpa Ray - she liked him
Kai taking in lovely London from the window of the Heathrow Express

The boys at Paddington station in central London
Hangover 3. Just kidding.

Note in small print 'Great British Food' - never heard of that.

Elmo for another solid win

baby dj
1 car ride + 2 flights + 1 day in London + 2 hours in Visa lines + 1 hr collecting luggage = we made it = sigh of relief
Mika's daily hobby & my daily sanity
"I wish he'd just leave me alone!"
"Look! A lizard!"

So, there you go! Really hope you enjoyed the pics - I'll keep 'em coming. We're starting to get out a bit more; driving always an adventure but I think my heart rate is starting to remain pretty close to normal on a more regular basis.

We're still waiting to meet new people, but have reconnected with quite a few family friends - which has been wonderful. We're looking forward to making some new friends too - especially ones with young kids.

My babies are sleeping so I'm going to have a quiet cup of tea! More to come soon

Sunday, November 6, 2011


We've safely arrived! After a solid 52 hours of traveling, we arrived at my parents house where we'll stay until we find our own place. Our travels went incredibly smoothly, all things considering, and our children were wonderful. I'll post some pics & a recap a bit later but right now I wanted to invite you all into some of the processing I've been doing since we arrived in Nairobi almost exactly 3 days ago.

To say the least, this entire process has been overwhelming. And by far, the most overwhelming part has been arriving; I had thought it would be leaving. The reality of the plunge we have just taken is sinking in, and the magnitude of the challenges we'll face is now more apparent than when we were looking at them from 10,000 miles away. My 'adult' eyes see Kenya in a completely different way than my 'kid' eyes did growing up. I am acutely aware of how many things I do not know - how much milk costs, how one gets a driver's license, where the nearest hospital is, what medicines are available, who do I tip & where & how much, what's normal with almost absolutely everything?

There's a sense of being simultaneously re-born & forced (for lack of a better phrase) to become an adult overnight. The magnitude of the journey we have begun as a family is most striking when I look at my children and recognize the depth of responsibility I have in protecting them and providing for them - from everything to how their systems respond to a new diet to how they respond emotionally to all of the immense changes around the. Chris and I have taken on a massive task.

And in the middle of feeling more overwhelmed by my inadequacies than I ever have in my life, and more challenged by the immensity of the task in front of me I have been struck by three things: the newness of each moment, the generosity of others, and the strength of a human spirit reliant on Christ.

The newness of each moment has become exceptionally clear through Kai - his ability to forgive my shortcomings immediately, wanting me to comfort him when I am the one who upset him by raising my voice, his ability to see newness in the simplest things, and his ability to quickly trust the people he meets. Mika is the epitomy of newness - learning to smile, starting to make noises other than crying & other non-ladylike bodily noises, and responding to new sounds and sights every day.

Kenya itself is bursting with newness - something is constantly happening, people are always busy moving (or standing still), and even the roads of Nairobi change so frequently the locals routinely exchange information on the best way to get from point A to point B.

I am in the midst of my own 'newness' - learning what it means to be a wife & a mother in this city, obtaining critical information at every turn on daily life, realizing how much I need to grow in my trust in Christ, recognizing I have been given a very 'new' slate and wondering what are the best things to fill it.

As I've been in the middle of all this newness, the generosity of those around me has been striking - even on our way here, many strangers stopped to help us with our luggage, our babies, or retrieve dropped items that were impossibly difficult for us to pick up in our laden state. Since we've arrived, multiple people (both closely & remotely associated with my parents) have offered us meals, transportation, childcare, company, and even in one case, a driver to take us around town since we're still getting acclimated to the layout of the city & style of driving. The generosity of those around us has been overwhelming especially in the immense love everyone has shown to Kai & Mika - people's gentleness, compassion, and patience with our children has made the beginning of their transition flawless and has offered comfort to my heart in a way I am sure they do not recognize.

And while I have been overwhelmed with the details, and at times scared by the rawness of life in a place where tragedy & triumph walk so closely to eachother they are almost the same being, I have been struck by the resilience of the human spirit.

I met a woman on Saturday, her name is Scola & she works at my parents house. In my entire life, I have never met a more joyful and loving person. As we talked, exchanging details about each other's children & lives, it became very clear that Scola's joy and peace did not come from having an easy life. In short, she is in her late 20's, has two children of her own, and is also a mother to her 4 nieces & nephews since her sister passed away 6 years ago, she works two jobs, and is going to an adult school to finish the Kenyan equivalent of her highschool education since she was, as she said "interrupted by some things".

And despite having the cares of 6 children on her shoulders, and her own future to pursue, Scola was so exceptionally excited to be where she was - washing dishes in my parents kitchen & talking to me, a stranger. And when Kai wanted to go outside and I was 'busy', Scola stopped what she was doing to take him outside and show him the newness of his new home - pouring so much love & sweetness on him, you'd think he was her own son. 

The immense strength of the human spirit is never more evident than in the gentleness & joy formed in those who have faced & overcome many obstacles - ultimately arriving at the realization their triumph is to no credit of their own.

I can only pray that at the end of the obstacles currently in my path - I arrive at that realization & with that result.

I know without a doubt, Christ will sustain us through whatever may be ahead. And I know, without a doubt, He will be with us - regardless if we are experiencing a triumph or a tragedy, big or small. But that, at this point, is about all I know - where we'll live, what we'll drive, who our friends will be, how our children will really adjust, how our finances will finalize once the monthly expenses solidify, where we'll go to church, and dozens more basics remain complete mysteries.

I'll write more again soon - and post pictures of our trip & first few days here. I hope you enjoyed this 'glimpse' into my current processing - I'm sure there will be more to come.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Journey Begins

We're off! In a few hours we start a long car ride that will take us to a very long check in process (11 bags & 2 babies, eek!) that will take us to a potentially comedic pass through airport security that will funnel us to a long wait at a gate that will load us on to a10 hour flight to London.

Deep breath.

Then we'll take the metro ('tube') into London, check in to our hotel, Chris will go off for meetings while I manage the little wreck remnants of our children before dinner & hopefully some semblance of sleep before another tube to the airport, another go through security, another wait at a gate, and an 8hr flight to Nairobi.

Total travel time = approximately 52 hours. Well, hope someone does something useful with this week that I'm losing :)

While it seems we're embarking on a big journey, we feel in many ways that the journey is actually about to come to an end. All of the planning, job applying, packing, thinking, praying, saying good's all over and now we get to begin.

So, since I need to finish's to new beginnings! We'll write from the other side :)

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