Friday, July 25, 2014

Just an Update on Life in Kampala

I haven't posted about regular life in quite a while. Let's see, what's been happening?

It's departure season. The Embassy is emptying out, almost on cue, as people leave on R&R and PCS. I have only cried twice so far, including once tonight as my good friend and travel buddy D left. We'll see each other in DC in a few months, but it's still hard to see her leave. We have been friends since A-100 and have had a blast in Kampala together, so it feels like the end of an era for this tour.

Departure season also coincides with busy season for work, so I thankfully don't have a lot of time to dwell on people leaving. I like staying busy, and that's easy to do these days especially. Plus new people are starting to arrive, which is always a fun time.

My own departure is just three short months away. Departing off-cycle is turning out to be great as I can learn from others about what needs to happen and feel like I have a little more time to prepare. My flights home are booked, the cats have reserved space, my packout is scheduled, my training schedule is set, I have housing in DC, and my travel orders should be done in the next week or so. Every weekend I'm tackling a different room in an effort to purge and clean out. I've been giving away a lot of stuff to my housekeeper and love feeling lighter with each box that's no longer in my apartment.

At the same time, I've been acquiring some great paintings as a reminder of my time here. D and I spent several weekends at a couple of galleries talking with artists and looking around. I ended up buying six paintings from three artists, all of whom I met and got to learn about the paintings from. I spent more money than I had planned, but I fell head over heels in love with these last two paintings that I splurged on. I spent an hour trying to choose between them (they're part of a series and go well together) and finally decided I couldn't decide and needed both. The artist gave me a deal that we both could be comfortable with, and I haven't regretted it - I love looking at them every day! All six are awesome reminders of my time in Uganda in different ways.

My cats are doing well. They had shots a few weeks ago, and Callaghan had an immune reaction that kept him pretty low for a few days. It was a little scary to see him so lethargic, but he bounced right back and is my wonderful baby once again. Griffin has become more of a cuddle bug lately and loves to be with me wherever I am. I'm not complaining!

Lola has become quite a loyal and friendly cat. She was spayed a few weeks ago but recovered very quickly and is quick to greet us when we leave for work in the morning and come back in the evening. She has two surviving kittens, but they are petrified of people and run if you so much as look at them. All three spend time on my porch, though I'm working to wean them off food from humans so they become self-sufficient. One of the kittens has a home if we can catch it. That's a big if. The older kitten from Lola's first litter has been resettled with his forever family and is happy as can be.

And in very exciting news, my mom arrives soon! She and one of our friends are flying over for several weeks of safari and exploring. I can't wait! There will be lots of travel posts, but I know it'll take me forever to get them up after they leave because we'll be pretty go-go-go the whole time they're here.

It was sad not to be home in NH a few weeks ago for my dad's retirement party and to meet my parents' new puppy, but FaceTime does make it a little easier. Knowing I'll be home for Christmas again this year is very comforting. I'm very much looking forward to time in DC and do wish I had a little more time there, but I'm also getting more and more excited for Beirut.

Time is flying, and all's well here.