back up to speed

Friends! Family! We’re here!! Much has happened in the time since I last checked in. In fact the growing list of “blog posts I’d like to pen” has been slowly overwhelming me to the point of paralysis. I’ve decided to just do a big flashy whirlwind and later if I feel inspired enough to dedicate an entire post to any one of these subjects I can do so. But for now I just want to hop back on this train and chug forward.

Back in August, our sweet Bushbaby had her first birthday! It was a mellow affair with just the three of us. I made this 3 layer cake with lemon curd between the layers and lemon mousse frosting. Whoa. Did that just make your salivary glands spring to life? Did mine. It was incredibly special and really delicious. The cake topper was one from when Snakes was a kid. Each year it has another little animal with a candle in his car to add to the train. God bless that nostalgic MIL of mine! I’m so glad that she hung onto it.

We FINALLY had the opportunity to take a little walking tour of the old colonial ruins in downtown Luanda. I could have spent the entire day wandering through the crumbly buildings. Our RSO has always advised that we do not explore the city unless in a large group nor should we take our cameras along as the police are known to confiscate them. I took the risk of a few pictures, but I really needed more time than was allowed. Also people on the street do not like having their photo taken. 

A while back, I’d learned through some Chevron friends that just off the coast of Luanda is the migratory path of a massive pod of dolphins and a group of humpback (I think) whales.  Despite the fact that the embassy allegedly has a boat (as reported in post reports back at FSI), there were no organized trips planned. When Snakes asked about the mystery boat, he was told that it was too unfit for use. I was pretty bummed. I thought it would be such a shame to be SO close to this potentially amazing experience (especially when amazing experiences are in short supply) and not be able to make it happen. However! As luck would have it, one of the other moms at my playgroup sent me a last minute email saying that a couple who was scheduled to join them for an outing had cancelled and they now had space for two more. A friend agreed to come by and spend the afternoon with the Bushbaby and we set off for an afternoon on the water. It was magnificent. Great to get out of the city for a few hours, an interesting perspective on Luanda and the bay AND we actually spent a few hours following along side a group of whales. Of course pictures never do justice to these sorts of things. To hear their breath spraying through the surface was awesome. I know this post may lead one to believe that our schedules have been bursting at their seams with action and adventure, but as I’ve illustrated in the past the reality of life here is entirely different. Most days I am inside with little to do besides chase the love bug to and fro. And to be honest, there’s a fair amount of lazing about.

After she goes down for the evening I begin knitting like a fiend. Currently between projects, I am awaiting a yarn shipment from the states. I finished a couple of projects recently, my very first “garments”. The following picture speaks for itself and the bottom is of a lattice topped shell when it was nearly finished. It turned out beautifully and was in solid rotation on our recent trip. Confidence is slowly building to attempt more complex patterns, just in time for our move to a more varied climate! (20 more weeks, people!!!)

Speaking of that recent trip where I wore my cute new sweater with pride, this one decidedly merits its very own blog post. More to come on the beauty and grace of Portugal!


12 thoughts on “back up to speed

  1. BP ha a couple of very fancy boats for us to use and I often see whales and dolphins while we are fishing for tuna and durado. Best thing about going fishing is filling my freezer with beautiful fresh fish. I’m envious of your street photography in Luanda. I have a 5D Mk III that has barely seen the light of day here because I’m too worried it will either get stolen or get me into trouble.

    1. Wow! what a blast. I always say that oil workers have a totally different experience than gov’t employees. The amenities you all have available are pretty spectacular. Let me know if there’s ever room on your boat!! I’d love to haul home some fresh tuna!

  2. Interesting that cameras are apparently considered a threat against the State, as if they could somehow remain an unexposed mystery to our eyes-in-the-skies world.. Do people actually fear government retaliation if they are captured on film?

    1. You know, I never really considered that. I think it’s more that they’re just not interested in being in random pictures. I’ve never asked anyone why after they’ve told me no. I love street photography and would adore the chance to go out and shoot for days. Things here are really rough and I’ve never seen any photos even suggesting that fact….it’s a lot of smoke and mirrors. hmmmm… You may be onto something.

  3. Happy Happy belated Birthday Bushbaby!! I can’t wait to hear about Portugal. The cake sounds to die for and your knitting almost makes me wish I was somewhere I was motivated to learn how! *Almost* The whale photos are so neat! I’m so glad you’ve gotten to have at least one or two experiences to make this tour worthwhile and I just can’t wait to see all of the wonderful things you do in DC and then Santiago! Woo hoo for 20 more weeks!! You need a “leaving post” advent calendar to make te countdown fun!

    1. You and me both, sister. And to be perfectly honest I have made some amazing friends. I feel like once we all leave hear and meet up “on the other side” it’ll be like a prison yard reunion. Um… whatever that might be like. We often say it’s like we’ve all “done time together”.

    1. Of course! Home cooking is ALWAYS best! Hope you guys had a great time on your recent trip to the Bay Area. Thanksgiving at big sur, one is easily overwhelmed with gratitude!
      We are going to Santiago, chile next after retooling in DC for 8 months. I’m sure we will land in brazil at some point. Always an open door and a warm, comfy bed for travelers. Miss you.

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