Peeking my head up from the new momma trenches down here in sunny Luanda. Snakes is in Rio de Janeiro for a temporary assignment. He left last Friday and will return the 18th. He told me he can’t remember the last time he felt so free. Staying at a hotel on the Copacabana Beach, he’s able to get out and run, finally! Passionfruit caipirinhas and churrascarias for dinner and a gorgeous breakfast each morning with fresh fruit, juice and plenty of prosciutto to go around. The one thing getting me through my days is the promise of his daily reports of culinary adventure (headed over to lobster fest tonight?), activity (samba club on Saturday and hang-glliding on Sunday?!?) and deep satisfying sleep (yawn). Can you tell I’m a little jealous and lonesome?
Much time has slipped by since the last post. My birthday was on the 13th. We went for an early brunch at one of the restaurants near the marina which was pleasantly surprising. I still haven’t gotten around to formulating this year’s resolutions. I’ll likely write them here again, if only to keep myself honest. We ended up hosting a Thanksgiving dinner here since a last minute housing emergency had the majority of our embassy’s staff temporarily displaced. Just a small group to feed, 5 adults and 4 munchkins. Snakes handled the turkey and gravy, a friend brought garlic mashed potatoes and 2 gorgeous pies and I took care of the rest. As our second major American holiday abroad, we certainly missed family (and Snakes’ mom’s cooking!), but I felt alright about it in the end.
I’m heading into the holiday season with a heavier heart than usual. Very few of our ornaments made it here. I was really looking forward to decorating the whole house, surrounding ourselves in all of that sparkling familiarity. I found one small box of older stuff (what a difference the Christmas pickle makes!) and a bag of things my mom and I scooped up in the post-holiday sales. Our ebay fake tree arrived last week, blessing counted.
Lately I feel like I’m operating with one foot dipped into a pool of depression while the rest of me clings to the thirsty towel promise of a better life elsewhere. For the record, the foreign service is not at all what I anticipated. (Have I become a broken record?) I am romantic to a fault with a wildly active imagination. I thought I’d feel like a part of something. I feel isolated. I miss my mom and sister. Let’s face it, no one but your mom and sister really care about trivial baby stories. No “mommy groups” here to unwind with and compare notes. No power-stroller walks to work off the baby flab. No mingling with the culture. If I didn’t before, I now fully understand the importance of family and envy those who have them close. This feeling is nearly overwhelming as the holiday season heads into full swing. My tenuous composure is exhausting.
And just when I think I couldn’t possibly feel more sorry for myself, I look over and see this.
And everything dissolves as I realize that I am blessed beyond measure. This sweet little diaper rump needs me and I need her too. How can I set a good example moping around the house thinking about what I don’t have? She couldn’t care any less about the things I find so infuriating. Shouldn’t we be able to maintain a positive outlook despite our circumstances?