Tuesday, December 18, 2012

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

And I have been remiss about posting.  And this won't be too exciting a post.

Things have been quite busy here, which has been great.  I've gotten to participate in some neat things for work and feel like I'm getting a better pulse on the goings on here.  That feels really good.  When I left Jeddah, I was pretty confident about what I knew, who I knew, and what I didn't know.  Things were easy because I knew my way around.  My last official event was one where I knew almost everyone quite well, and the ease I felt with them had taken an entire tour to build.  Now, I'm starting over.  This is the way life is in the Foreign Service, and it comes with its own rewards and challenges.  Having one tour under my belt and starting over here makes me appreciate this reality a little bit more.

I've started driving here.  Just a little.  And only a couple days a week.  I still don't feel comfortable in rush hour.  I thought I'd be more comfortable driving than I am, but the perils on the road are numerous and difficult to avoid.  Traffic isn't the problem.  It's more sharing space on the road when it's full of cars, matatus, boda bodas, pedestrians, occasional animals, and more than its fair share of potholes and steep drop-offs.  This takes a certain familiarity that I don't completely possess yet.  But I can drive if I need to and know my way around well enough not to get hopelessly lost.  I am planning to hire a driver but arrived at the wrong time of the year for picking up someone from a departing family.  Maybe after the holidays my leads will pan out.

It's wonderful to come home to a home-cooked meal a few days a week!  My housekeeper is a fantastic cook and often knows what I want even if I don't.  She also keeps me well-stocked with fresh fruit salads and lots of great vegetables.  I take a huge tupperware container full of fruit in to work everyday and munch on it all afternoon.  It's perfect for those moments when my blood sugar starts to tank and I need a little pick-me-up.

A couple weeks ago I got a great introduction to Kampala's cultural offerings, attending a pantomime of Red Riding Hood and a performance by the Ugandan National Contemporary Ballet in the same week.  So much fun!  I can't wait for more outings like this.  I also attended a wonderful Christmas concert at a local church with a renowned choir, which was a fabulous way to spend a Sunday afternoon.  I did a CLO-organized dinner cruise on Lake Victoria, which was very pleasant.  What a gorgeous setting with good friends, great music, and decent food.  I look forward to more lake adventures - though the very serious bilharzia threat will keep me out of the water itself for the most part.  There's something about parasitic snails...

I'm planning my first getaways for the new year, both in Uganda and out.  More on that later.  Some very exciting trips in the works!

Decorating for Christmas has been quite haphazard since I can only find 2/3 of my Christmas tree among my HHE - and the part that's missing is the bottom and stand!  So I have trinkets out here and there that the cats knock over for fun numerous times per day.  Christmas will be a fun day of celebration with friends and lots of food - I'm excited!  It's the second best thing to being with family.
Anyway, I hope all of your celebrations are wonderful, whatever your chosen holidays are!  More, with photos even!, soon :-).