Back in Luanda for a week now and as predicted things are much better with a bushbaby in tow and a less bionic sense of smell. Snakes was able to take this past week off to help us get situated and to spend time together as a family. My reunion with Banjo was beautiful. Slow motion, we ran to one another with our arms out and tails wagging, “never tear us apart” playing in the back ground of my demented mind. He had become progressively more crotchety in the last month, maybe losing faith that I’d return. I’m pleased to report he’s back to his well-behaved self. No big reaction from either dog toward the baby. After a couple of sniffs they both lost interest. I suppose they’ll revisit that once she starts flinging food. (Banjo and the baby’s toys are a different story…)
The last few weeks have been action packed. My mom came for a 10 day visit during our last couple of weeks in Johannesburg. It was a blessing to have the extra help, but mostly I’m grateful for the memories of her swaying and singing soft lullabies to her newest grandbaby. Skype is great and all, but there’s nothing like the smell and the pure snuggliness of a new little love dumpling. I’m so glad they had the chance to meet each other before that phase is over. After Colette was lulled to sleep we’d sip wine and work on sewing projects, laughing and catching up in the way that phone calls never allow. We managed to hand-stitch a little dress in a few evening’s time. (pictured above and below)
Oddly, when we joined the foreign service it never dawned on me how difficult it might be to be so completely isolated from family. Especially at times like these. I think we get so caught up in the “glamor” (wait…what??) and excitement of it all. Wow. My husband is a diplomat. Excuse me while I go try on cocktail dresses and cluck around the house trying to figure out high heels and red lipstick. It never once crossed my mind that I’d miss my mommy. Or that I’d have a little one who would only get to know her extended family through one big blitzy visit (if that) each year. How well will she know her grandparents? Her cousins? Her adoring aunties? There’s only so much the pixelated and delayed skype conversations and the strange, pseudo “connection” of facebook are capable of. Among the thousands of things I’ve taken for granted before moving here is the ability to see my family at will. It didn’t happen nearly as much as it should have. Hindsight’s a bitch.
Beyond my postpartum introspection and ruminations on the nature of family, it’s been phenomenal being back home and all together. As you may recall our huge shipment of household stuff arrived a week before I left back in July. Although we managed to unpack and somewhat organize the bulk of it, I didn’t have time to really stare into the spaces and sort out the proper homes for everything until now. I rearranged the entire living room, incorporating my Johannesburg treasures as I went. I’ll have to do some “before-after” shots, as promised. Oh! and Snakes hired a housekeeper! With two big dogs and a dusty city on our doorstep it is a incredible blessing to have her here 3 days each week. With a buff of the floor and a pass of the iron, she’s wasted no time in reminding me that housekeeping is not my strongest suit. I may actually have time to get back into my studio sooner than I thought!