WH Chronicle No. 1.22

Dec  13th, 2010

We put your tax dollars to good use this week as we snuck off to a lovely resort on the side of Mt Meru.   The kids sang Christmas carols while swimming in the pool.  We lounged on the veranda and marveled at the orange peak of Kilimanjaro during sunset.  After dinner we snuggled by the cozy fireplace to read stories and swat mosquitoes. We celebrated my 40th birthday and I’m elated about it.   I look forward to harvesting the seeds of wisdom sown in my 30’s.  I feel like I earned my age the hard way, but it’s possible to recover from that somewhat challenging decade. 
Tom's lightening up and finally enjoying himself.  I wonder if it's safe to leave the kids with him.

It seems like yesterday I was sobbing over my 30th birthday…bemoaning what most people would consider a well-endowed life.  A month later I was pregnant.  I took a pregnancy test in the Taco Bell bathroom, and then considered barricading myself in there for the next 9 months because I couldn’t quit crying.  Those of you who remember my condition are probably shuddering from the recollection of my emotional state (or lack thereof).  This was all exacerbated by a healthy dose of hormones and a good bit of fear, all pureed together in the blender of self-absorption.  Of course, that was just the appetizer for what my 30’s had to offer—each new challenge trumping its predecessor.   At least by birthday number 39, I was dreaming of celebrating the big 4-0 in Africa.  Ahhh…and such a sweet moment it was--unadulterated by Nutcrackers, Messiahs or SingAlongs! 

Only one realization tempted to spoil the event.  My children were so unusually well-behaved, friendly, fun, enjoyable, amenable to trying new experiences and foods, without fighting, crying, or complaining.  I basked in the enjoyment of their age and sweetness (and rarity of this near-perfect behavior). Daryl cooked and decorated a ‘surprise’ cake.  Sam was full of hugs and smiles.  Then, I realized that my next decade marker will contain a different set of treasures, but my children—still being the sweet little children of 9 and 6—will be wistfully missed.  So, I’m flush with the feeling of gratitude, and wholesome unworthiness, as I cannot imagine being bestowed with any greater fortunes than the present.

Sam lost his second tooth this week.  The next day he was hit in the head with a soccer ball during a student match between the divinity/music and law (who actually had uniforms).  The music/divinity students lost by only one point; their best record to date.  When Sam was beaned by the ball, the music students all gathered around to rub his head and hug on him.  The law students began passing out their business cards. 

Daryl’s been practicing her cake decorating.  Sam’s been practicing his stealthiness in eating cake decorations.

It’s been raining more.  The rains are so pleasant and have caused Mother Nature to begin reverting the world back to its natural state –of overgrown flora and fauna.   She’s also working on our car—inside and out.  Rainboots are recommended driving apparel  in our car during wet weather.
As we live and work in Tanzania, I’ve noticed a change in my perceptions of people’s physical appearances.  I no longer notice when people’s teeth are strikingly brown due to excessive fluoride in the mountain water.  I rarely note the people with facial brands, tribal scars, ear decorations, missing teeth (on purpose),  and other alterations.  Of course, maybe I have my U.S. college students, with a hardware store’s worth of facial adornments, to thank for this relatively seamless transition. 

Many thanks for all of the birthday wishes from all those with everlasting electricity and internet!  Your love made it around the world in practically no time at all…and it only took me two days to download it to our computer.  

“Last week the candle factory burned down.  Everyone just stood around and sang ‘Happy Birthday’.”  Stephen Wright

“Gratitude changes the pangs of memory into a tranquil joy.”  Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“40 is not old, if you are a tree.”  Anonymous (G. Seekoi Yaw)

Fa la la la la laaa la la la la,
Colobus Monkey.  They look like 40 lb skunks sailing between treetops.

Africa-sized milltipede.  
Q.  Why the chicken cross the playground?  
A.  To get to the other slide. 

dragonbec  – (December 13, 2010 at 10:36 PM)  

Glad you had a nice birthday and are finishing off your 4th decade with optimism and excitement! Dude, while that is a giant millipede, I have actually seen a centipede in Texas almost that big. Though we definitely lack crazy monkeys, only have crazy 'coons.

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