The holidays have come and gone. The embassy was operating with a skeleton crew as most people were taking advantage of this sleepy holiday time to get out of dodge. Unfortunately this group did not include yours truly. We stuck around, fantasizing about where we might be next year this time.

The lost pouch came through on the last possible day before the holiday weekend, a minor Christmas miracle since it contained all of the packages from our families. I will have to encourage them to ship holiday goodies mid-October next year. Snakes spoiled me with gifts galore from the duty free airport shopping on his way back to Luanda. He also found a beautiful bracelet for me at an artists’ collective in Rio, a magnificent city indeed. If it is on our bid list, he insists we need to consider it very seriously as an option for our next post. I’m hoping we have the opportunity to return for another temporary assignment before our tour here is up.

One minor bummer (which in the grand scheme of things is no biggie) was that there’s no Santa in Luanda! As friends filled my facebook feed with smiling, scowling and sobbing pictures of their kids on Santa’s lap, I realized that we wouldn’t be getting one done for The Bushbaby. Like I said, not the end of the world, but it just made me a little sad. The season wasn’t punctuated with many festive events at all. Ever the problem solver, my guy leapt into action buying not only a Santa suit but a gorilla one as well. He reasoned that  it’s one thing to be without a Santa when you need one but sorry is the man who finds himself unable to deliver when the call goes out for a gorilla at the party. Extreme hijinx like this, my friends, are why I love that man.

We hosted a Christmas Day brunch at our place. Later in the afternoon we went for a family stroll through the neighborhood. (A friend was along and took the pictures.) There were crowds of kids clamoring to pet the mastiff. I’ve never seen such appreciation for the gentle breed as I’ve seen here on the streets of Luanda. Curiously the muddog wasn’t given the rockstar reception. I suppose he’s more of an acquired, refined taste.

On Monday we joined some friends for a trip to a beach here in the city. It was off the coast of the Ilha, which is a little peninsula with a few restaurants and clubs, one of the nicer places in the city. It was the Bushbaby’s first trip to the ocean. I elected not to dip her toes in after I eyed the sneakers, plastic bags and debris rolling in with each wave. We spent a little time cooling off at the embassy pool instead.

New Years Eve we celebrated our third anniversary by preparing a nice dinner for ourselves after The Bushbaby was asleep. A poached egg topped green salad with gorgonzola, drizzled with balsamic glaze, roasted duck a l’orange with Christmas limas sauteed with garlic and collards. For dessert I made a peach buckle with the (surprisingly) gorgeous fresh peaches from Samtrex (the South African grocer). My romantic(?) lover surprised me with “A Year of Beans” from Rancho Gordo. I’ve been ordering from these guys for a few years now and am always impressed by their selection and quality. If you’re a fan of the humble bean and her countless varieties, it’s a nice little treat that ships well through the pouch.

Thank you all so much for your words of encouragement and love this past year. Finding out I was pregnant, moving here, solo med-evac to Johannesburg, having a BABY…whew. Sounds crazy, but at times your comments and feedback are my lifeline. It makes me feel like maybe I’m not so alone and some days that makes all the difference in the world. I wish you all a New Year filled with the people and things that make your heart sing and the comforting knowledge that we are all in this together. Summed up nicely by a quote from one of my favorites in The Bushbaby’s library, All The World: “Peace and hope and love and trust, All the world is all of us.”


24 thoughts on “holidays

  1. Happy New YEAR AND HAPPY ANNIVESARY!! Great pics of the bushbaby. The beach looks wonderful I am glad you had a fun Christmas . I misread year of beans for year of bears, and smuggly wondered what you were going to do with 365 teddies, as i am busily following through with my resolution to de-clutter. I am glad that you guys are some of the people I am in this with together…….

    1. ok- so I misread “a year of bears” for “a year of beers”, and was trying to figure out what you meant by “365 teddies”. Like would mail-order beer be wrapped in lace teddies? for my anniversary? so I could drink beer in a negligee? I was confused because those things seem mutually exclusive. ok- clearly we both need to slow down a bit when reading to avoid this nonsense in the future….

  2. So good to hear from you and your adventures, your Bushbaby is so cute! I am glad your husband makes things fun for you when you are far from home. We are doing great here…getting ready to go back to school, sports and craziness! It was great to have time off from all that.

  3. Ok – awesome bushbaby pics (but she is so adorable I don’t know how you could take an un-awesome one), LOVE the picture of you all out on a walk through the neighborhood!, and am curious about the applications of the gorilla suit — definite hysterical possibilities for that one!!. Sounds like you made a wonderful first Christmas away from home. I’m jealous of all your talents. Once you get your feet on the ground and get comfortable with the whole State Department life you and your family are going to make a lot of people feel loved and happy just by being there and being in their lives. I’m sure you are already doing that for many in Luanda. Take care and all the best for 2012!

    1. Come now, NBN, the possibilities are endless!! One of our recent favorite activities is dreaming up ways to incorporate it into our lives. Gorilla walking the dogs, riding the motorcycle, driving the car, hiding around the house to freak each other out, having people over for dinner and greeting them at the door…. people will be rolling their eyes- “oh here they go again with that damned gorilla suit…”

  4. Happy New Year! We too are at post while others frolic in the sea… ah. That’s ok, it was nice to be at home with the kids and hubby by our own Christmas tree and baking turkey. Chris giggled over my shoulder (do men giggle? Ok, so he heartily haha’d) that you call your wee one Bushbaby, while we refer to ours (the 22 lb, 6 mo old that she is) Piranha. Glad you found happiness in the holidays and make lemonade in Luanda 🙂 Love the photos, as always, and enjoy the read each time. We head to Houston (kicking and screaming) this summer/fall, so I will be happy to send gourmet treats your way. Until then… happiest of 2012 wishes to you all. xo

    1. wow! a 22 pounder??!!? more chubby pictures please! This is the first I heard of your next post. Although Houston sounds like a drag, it is pretty close to Austin and not far from NOLA. Maybe, just maybe we will be able to rendezvous in the coming years??

  5. Happy New Year to your little family! Hope the new one brings more excitent and happy moments, for it is through hardships and laughs that you grow stronger in each other. Now that you have survived all the turmoils of 2011, i hope 2012 brings peace and quiet and adventures, a little cherry on top of the ordinary life, which yours is already far from 🙂
    Much love and happiness!!!

  6. Aloha from Maui! Twenty-eleven was certainly chock full of twists, turns, and the most wonderful of surprises for your sweet little family. You sound reflective yet hopeful…perfectly suited to greeting the New Year! I am looking forward to what twenty-twelve has in store for us all. LOVE YOU TO PIECES!

    PS. So glad you love All The World as much as I do ;o)

    1. ooh la la! I believe this is my first comment from Maui! Is this sent from your new tablet, poolside in a floppy hat with a fancy fruity drink??! Looking forward to updates and pictures from your vacation. And even more so to our visit in April.

      PS. Depending on the day I’m having, I rarely make it through that book without tearing up!

  7. Hi, you don’t know me. 🙂 I found your blog through “A Daring Adventure”. My husband is on the upcoming list of DS Agents and we are trying to decide if the lifestyle is for us… thus, I’ve been reading all kinds of foreign service blogs and stumbled upon yours. Just thought that I would leave a comment because I have been lurking for a month or two and from the sounds of it, your post sounds tough and you mentioned liking comments. Hope 2012 brings some great news for you and your family!

    1. From what I understand this is one of THE toughest posts. Not that I’d really know since this is our first. Thank you so much for the comment. It always brightens my world for a few days after I post an update, looking forward to comments. It’s the little things, you know?
      Good luck with your potential upcoming changes. Feel free to ask any questions that may arise. I’m happy to help if I can. It’s a whirlwind.

  8. hi Eve, I have been thinking of you since I read your post yesterday. The photos really bring it all into perspective. Your bushbaby is so sweet and I hope you can keep focusing on the positive but know how difficult that can be. Wishing you a healthy, happy New Year.

  9. My husband would love me forever if I let him buy a Santa suit AND a gorilla suit. Oh, and he’d probably need a Darth Vader, too. What’s with these guys?

  10. Happy New Year! Oh all the crazy things 2012 will bring you – hopefully all of them wonderful! I got a box off in the middle of the holiday madness – between my procrastination and the mail it will be timely for next fall! Happy Happy New Year to you and the family. (She’s gorgeous, by the way!)

  11. Eve, I love you! Your family photo is perfect. David is wonderful, Sweet little bushbaby is beautiful. I gleam full of grins for you and I miss you.

    p.s. as far as your last post I just wanted to say…. I would love to hear every silly, drooly, messy detail that little Colette offers up!

  12. Here’s to a wonderful 2012 … it sounds like 2011 was a tough year. I haven’t been around here for awhile, so I’m reading past posts to get caught up again. Take care!

  13. Happy New Year, Eve! I look forward to your posts as much as opening the cover of a favorite book.

    Your daughter is beautiful. I hope 2012 brings much joy and happiness to you and your family.

    Can’t wait to see what you have to say next.



    1. lori- what an incredible compliment. Thank you. And I wish the same for you and your family in the new year- so fun with your newest addition! We are partial to those smooshy bulldog faces ourselves. Hope you’re all settling in nicely to your new surroundings. Thanks for reading!

  14. Love the pics! And, wow, the excitement of hearing where y’all are off to next. . . (Spend those differential points! *L*)

    Happy New Year! May it be full of lovely surprises!

  15. Sorry to be late, but I just love this post (okay, and I nearly split a stitch laughing over the comment regarding beans/bears/beers & teddies!). I know it isn’t easy living there (though you make it seem so effortless and I know it’s not). Love the photo of the BushBaby and I’m sorry I was not good about sending a baby gift. You were so kind to us last year and we have not forgotten!

  16. I’m delighted to see all your readers’ encouraging words and witty comments! A boon to your day indeed.Hope you have some pix of your little darling sitting on “Santa’s” lap. How lucky she is to have a trauma free visit with him!

    The gorilla suit~what a fabulous alternative to the stuffed baboon~fun,fresh,wearable and easily packed away! Should be worn to the office on casual Fridays occasionally.

    Stay happy,safe,and healthy. Know that you three are always in my heart.LYTP xoxo

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