Friday, November 23, 2012

True Thankfulness

Happy Belated Thanksgiving!  I meant to post on the actual day, but I slept super late and got up just in time to go to  a coworker's home for a lovely, delicious dinner.  Even though I was away from family, it was wonderful to spend a cozy holiday with new friends :-).

There is much to be thankful for this year.  I have a phenomenal family, amazing friends around the world, a rewarding and challenging career that provides me endless adventure and financial stability, two fuzzy and loving kitties, and oh so much more.  But I would be remiss if I didn't mention one of the defining events of 2012:  I am immeasurably thankful that my mother is still with me. 

I didn't blog too much about it at the time, but I came terrifyingly close to losing my mother to a brain aneurysm in January 2012.  But for luck and a world-class neurosurgeon and surgical team, things could have gone very badly.  It has been a long year of recovery for my mother, who also had a knee replacement in the weeks before the brain surgery, but she's doing phenomenally well.  The recovery has been frustrating and slow and, at times, just plain humorous, but she's back to work full time (and then some) and back to her old lifestyle (now improved with less knee pain!). 

I'm thankful that my father - who has been a rock through all of this - and I were able to lean on each other during that horrific week, when we came home every night from the hospital to an empty house, not sure what the next day would bring.  Along with my brothers, we clung to every improvement by Mom, whether it was coming out of her medically induced coma days earlier than predicted or yelling at nurses (anger is a common side effect of brain surgery, apparently) or taking her first unaided steps or coming home from the hospital.  We laughed and cried and celebrated together, and I'm not sure any of us could have done it alone.  And we didn't do it alone - our family, friends, and communities came together to support our family in incredibly touching ways.

And so, when my mother danced with my brother at his wedding this summer, to the family favorite "If I Had A Boat", I broke down (along with many others in the room) because it was something that we just weren't sure was going to happen months earlier. 

While I wish our family, and especially Mom, never had to go through this ordeal, I am thankful that we had the best possible outcome.  Not a day has gone by that I haven't felt thankful to have my family healthy and intact. 

And, in the parlance of my family's newest inside joke courtesy of a post-anesthesia/post-craniotomy haze, I am eternally thankful that the wombats weren't really out to get anyone that week.  Or any week since.

I hope you all had memorable and delicious Thanksgiving celebrations, whatever the circumstances and wherever you found yourself this year.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

So Jet Lagged I Don't Even Know Any More

My lack of blogging lately is not so much related to settling in as it is to more travel.  My first week in Kampala was awesome - work is great, city is great, home is great - and was punctuated by the delivery of my UAB and HHE from Jeddah.  Quadruple YAY!!!!  Now my primary guest suite is covered in boxes, which I will make my way through as time goes on.  I finally have rearranged all the furniture where I want it, so I'm feeling good there.

But right after my first full week, I flew to Accra, Ghana for a week-long training workshop.  I was super excited for this training, and it was completely awesome, and it was fun to see Ghana, but...  I started really missing Kampala by about Thursday.  I missed my kitties and my bed and my clothes coming from somewhere other than a suitcase.

That's when I realized I've been in transition since mid-July.  That's a long time.  And I think I just met my limit.

Not to mention the jet lag - still overcoming the 8 hour transition to Kampala, then add in a minus 3 transition to Accra and then plus 3 back to Kampala.  *Mind explodes at complexity*

So arriving home today was blissful.  Even after a red-eye flight and a sleepless night.  And the tiring exercise of lugging my 26kg suitcase stuffed with goodies from Ghana up 38 stairs.  My cats greeted me at the door - well cared for by my awesome new housekeeper.  I took a four hour nap and feel slightly more human now.  It's time to eat the awesome ready-made dinner (chicken, stir fried vegetables, cabbage and kale, and fruit salad) left by my housekeeper and get a good night's sleep.

Photos and stories to come, from Uganda and Ghana!