Saturday, May 28, 2011

Milo's first snow

It's the weekend in Lilongwe and that means lots of just hanging out with friends. I'm on my own tonight, as Jorge has gone out to watch some soccer game which is apparently a Very Big Deal. Milo just called me up to his room handed me a book about the rainforest which apparently was giving him the heebie-jeebies and told me "I want it go downstairs." Now that the scary frog is taken care of, I'm hoping both boys just go to sleep and stay asleep. My little guys are growing up so fast...

But that's a post for another day. I'm continuing with the flashback posts for now.

So shortly after we arrived back in Seattle intact (but only after the immigration department decided to hold us for an hour and put the fear of God, or at least the government, back into Jorge once again) we flew down to Los Angeles to visit my grandfather who had been ill. Milo got to trick-or-treat for the first time, and boy, was he sold on that concept.

And then in no time at all it was Thanksgiving. Just before the holiday, a big snow hit Seattle.

First off, let me just say that I have not been a fan of the snow since I was 8 years old and schools got shut down for 2 weeks after a big storm. That was really the last time it was fun. Since then, I've just found snow to be cold, wet, slippery, and terribly inconvenient. My childhood home is down at the bottom of a very big hill - there's no way to get out without going uphill. So once it snows, you're stuck. And being about as big as a whale by this time, I wasn't exactly going for any 3 mile walks through the snow to get to the shops.

However, making lemonade out of these lemons, I thought it would at least be great fun for Milo. I was wrong. we took him outside, he looked around, asked to get into his stroller, then never got back out. Here he is, hiding under a blanket.

My hubby, on the other hand, loves the snow, having only experienced it a handful of times in his whole life. So he took us around on a Siberian gulag march, throwing snowballs and refusing to let us go home until he was satisfied we had thoroughly experienced the snow. Then Milo and I holed ourselves up inside the house playing Wii and trying not to go stir-crazy for the rest of the week.

So there you have it - a post about snow just in time for summer to start! But it's heading into winter here in Malawi - I may even need to throw on a cardigan occasionally. So I am thankful for the experience, for reminding me that truly belong somewhere close to the equator, and I think Milo would agree.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Still here

Thought I disappeared, didn't you? Well, I'm still around.

So, we went to Seattle for 6 months. And to Mardi Gras in New Orleans. And some other stuff happened. and now we are back home in Malawi, in our little (palatial) flat in Lilongwe, getting used to being back to "normal" life.

I thought about doing a big long "what I did on my 6-month vacation" post, but A. that would be much too much work, and B. who would want to read that?

So instead, I'll start at the beginning. Waaaay back to last October, when Jorge and I loaded up 6 bags, 1 stroller, 1 carseat, and a fidgety toddler into a taxi and took off for the US. But on the way, we made a little pit stop in Paris. Not bad, eh?

So first things first, if you ever get a chance to take an international Air France flight, keep in mind that when everyone else has gone to sleep, they have free Haagen Dasz ice cream bars in the flight attendants' galley, just there for the taking. Jorge ate 7. I'm dead serious.

We had a lovely time, despite the riots and strikes. We were warned that the museums would likely be closed, the trains wouldn't run, the shops would be closed, but in fact, everything went pretty well. The ticket takers for the train to Versailles refused to take our money in silent protest of the French government's decision to raise the retirement age, so we got to ride for free.

We spent much of our time visiting the many museums of Paris.

We took Milo to see the Venus de Milo, but he was unimpressed.

We also took many long walks through the city, until my poor pregnant hips couldn't take much more.

One day we took the train out to Disneyland Paris, where Milo was struck dumb by the sight of Mickey Mouse live and in the flesh.

And it being one of OUR vacations, it was impossible to leave the country without mishap, of course.

We rented a tiny little closet of an apartment for the week, up on the 4th floor, with no elevator. Did I mention the 6 bags, packed to the maximum weight allowance? On our last day, we booked a taxi to collect us at 5AM to take us to the airport. Piece by piece, we shuttled the bags down to the curb. We had to leave the keys inside the apartment, so to make sure we didn't accidentally take them with us, we left the apartment wide open, the keys on the counter, as we loaded up the taxi. Finally, with only Milo's car seat still waiting in the apartment, Jorge handed me the backpack that was propping the building door open so that I could load it up.

The only problem? He was standing outside the building, not inside. In slow motion, I yelled "nooooooo"....and we both watched the door close, locking us outside.

I would have admitted defeat. But not Jorge. No, my husband's a problem solver. He recruited the mortified taxi driver to translate for him, and then he pressed every.single.doorbell for all the apartments in the building. Until finally, a rather peeved and disheveled French woman answered. After looking out the window and determining that yes indeed, we were stupid American tourists and not creative burglars, she buzzed us in. And we made it to the airport in time after all, on our way back to the U.S.