Our African Adventure: Hello Swaziland!

taking in the viewHello! Sorry for the long hiatus in blogging.  Moving overseas has been an  all-encompassing event. I am so grateful to be back online with internet, which is a life-line of communication in a new place that feels very, very far away.

Our belongings in Virginia were carefully divided into “storage” and “ship” piles. Feeling a bit displaced in our own home,  we watched as our life in boxes was loaded into crates on moving trucks. Ready or not, may the adventures begin!

Our evening arrival to O.R. Tambo airport (named for a former President)  in Johannesburg made it too late to cross the border from South Africa into Swaziland before the checkpoint closed.  We didn’t mind having to spend the night at the airport hotel after a 22-hour travel day with our sweet toddler.  We were all jet-lagged and weary, but we made it!

We were slightly confused upon check-in at the hotel. It seemed they were offering us a kitty cat to borrow for the night for the baby, until we realized a “kiddie cot, ” was a crib, which came with its own tiny, fluffy duvet and high-thread count Egyptian cotton sheets. I’ll take a kiddie cot, too, please.

The next day, we had a hearty breakfast and set out on the path to our new city, Mbabane.  However, getting out of the airport parking lot was a challenge.  Our car was towing a small trailer, and the car made it under the exit barrier, but the trailer did NOT, so my husband and our driver unhooked the trailer and pulled it by hand out of the parking garage. Whew!  The four-hour drive was beautiful. Our mountainous new home seemed to welcome us with warm, sunny skies and stunning views.

~

 A few of the first impressions of Africa:

the hand-woven doll ornaments on Christmas trees at the airport

the kindness that radiates from South African smiles

lavender-hued Jacaranda trees

deep red earth

houses with corrugated tin roofs

laundry hanging out to dry

the large number of hitchhikers on the road

huge, open blonde fields dotted with clusters of trees

a hazy, diffused pinkish-yellow light on the horizon

 lantern-like bird nests with openings at the bottom

IMG_2716So many new discoveries to explore. Hello, Swaziland. We look forward to getting to know you.

-Starry

A Tale of Two Cities, a Toddler, Some Tea…

Hi! It’s good to get back to blogging after a little summer break!  So much to catch up on. Took baby Ramsay on a two-city tour of Tucson, Arizona and Columbus, Georgia to see family. It was so much fun to watch him with his grandparents, and so good to get hugs and feel taken care of.

Too many random thoughts for any cohesive writing lately, so here’s a summary of things I am grateful for lately through photos:

The ritual of making tea with loose tea leaves

How baking makes the house smell good. (And the deliciousness of devouring Madeleines).

Quiet time in the evenings to read, and to collage some “mail art” and create with molding paste, which is a fun, new medium I’m learning about.

Discovering what interests my son:  especially the color yellow, and shoes in general.

Surprises and beauty in nature, architecture, and daily life:

Hope your summer is going well, and there are many amazing moments in each day.

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Limin’ and Loosening

On Vacation!

On Vacation!

A few weeks ago, after several nights with racing, chattering dreams, like mice running around in the attic, I threw clothes in a suitcase and gave a very tearful goodbye to my honey and son. I left DC with shoulders hunched around my ears against the cold, and muscles tight and achy from stress and lack of sleep.

I flew to Miami to meet up with Emmie Chase, my best friend from childhood, to celebrate our 40th birthdays together for a week; a trip we planned many years ago. We were so happy to see each other, but were exhausted, too, and ambled around South Beach, ate dinner, and slowly began to acclimate to this idea of a vacation. We kept asking each other with tired smiles, “Is this really real? We’ll be on an island tomorrow?”

After a long, winding, and scenic ride with our proud, chatty taxi driver, we arrived at Cap Maison Hotel in St. Lucia, which was luscious and beautiful. It was just the vacation we needed, with lots of rest, fresh air, and laughter to loosen our minds and muscles. Locals taught us that hanging out and relaxing is referred to as “limin’,” which we did well.

Some favorite moments:
Connecting with nature and being outdoors (without a winter coat)!  A kaleidoscope of colors at sunset and sunrise; a buttery, beaming moon in the evenings; sparkling stars; tree frogs singing; hummingbirds with shimmery, emerald feathers; flamboyant tropical flowers; and lolling waves. And evening video chats to catch up with our husbands and kids, so we didn’t feel so far away from them.

Delicious fruit, baked breads, brightly colored salads, and fresh seafood. Sweeping views of mountains rising out of the sea, boat rides, produce and craft markets, exploring the botanical gardens, the Spa, naps, and dishing (not dishes)! Afternoon rains called “liquid sunshine,” and a local festival and art gallery visit.

What a fun and restorative journey! Where will we go in ten years to ring in the next decade?