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.”