My Happy Place…
I’m back in my happy place. Six weeks in the U.S. over Christmas and New Year’s was more than enough time, and yet not nearly enough, either.
A few days in Atlanta on the front end gave us a bit of time with my family, and a chance to visit my mom who now lives in memory care. Those visits are too short and bittersweet, yet she has no concept of time anymore. I focused on our moments spent together, and found a way to park the emotion elsewhere when we weren’t. Technology makes it easy enough to stay in touch when we are away, and for her it is as if I am right there with her. I am thankful for that although it’s not the same as getting a hug from your mom in person. I did my best to stock up on the real thing while there, and it will have to carry me through until whenever our next visit might be.
Our time in Naples was also different than we had hoped. Although everyone is learning to live with Covid and finding ways to get back to somewhat normal living, it is still a factor when socializing, especially if you must travel internationally.
We had a long list of friends that we wanted to see but found that almost everyone was either just getting over Covid, just got Covid and had it in that moment, or was recently exposed to someone who had it. After a few weeks we pretty much had to shut down our visits as our return to Tanzania with five overweight suitcases and our cat hinged on both of us getting negative RT-PCR tests.
Nonetheless, we were fortunate to get a handful of special moments with a few dear friends, time with my sister and brother-in-law, and time with Steve’s sister. We hit the high notes, but next time will just have to work out better.
We also made the decision to sell our car and our travel trailer while there, so now we are pretty much free of all worldly possessions, except for that one storage unit. It is the strangest feeling at this point in our lives to own practically nothing. If you read one of my previous blog posts, you know I’m now going to have to go out and buy a Persian rug soon – it’s just who I am, and it will make me feel so much better! I think one would look lovely as a doormat outside our little cottage, and probably I should get two so I can also have one inside. With Tanzania having played a significant role in the spice trade centuries ago (and to this day), it just seems fitting. And now that we own practically nothing, isn’t it time to start shopping again? I think so.
For now, my first time to write since returning, I am sitting outside in the late afternoon. The rains started while we were away, and everything is lush and green, overgrown, and muddy. I’ve gone ahead and packed up any white clothes I brought as it will be five months before it’s safe to bring them out again. And at that point I’ll probably just have a few weeks’ window before everything goes dry and becomes a dust bowl. Wearing white around here is the equivalent of a Michigan summer – you get a month or two at best, and then back into the drawer they go.
The wind has picked up, and it is very overcast with heavy, grey-blue cloud cover obscuring Mount Meru. Thunder is rumbling in the distance, and Widge, the German Shorthair Pointer, is running circles around me, busy snapping up flies and eating them. Saves me from using the bug swatter, plus I enjoy the company. There are layers of bird chatter, warbling and squawking going on, the drone of flies and bees zooming around, a chittering sound coming from somewhere, and the smell of smoke as the fires burn to heat the water tank for the main property.
The termite mound to the left of me, once just bare red dirt during the dry season,is now covered in brilliant green weeds and looks like a giant chia pet. In addition to the weeds, there are marigolds scattered about where we tossed them after pruning our small garden upon our return. The smell of night blooming Jasmine hangs heavy in the air, as does the fragrance from orange blossoms at the back of the property. I hear a jet overhead, making its way to Kilimanjaro airport, and have just now remembered I need to go relocate that spider I trapped that is holed up under a Tupperware container on the kitchen floor.
A market trip and walk through the garden…
We’ve been to the market since getting back and loaded up on fresh vegetables.
Yesterday we traipsed through our neighbour’s garden and got handfuls of fresh herbs, peppers and a few tomatoes. Last night I made a nice spinach and potato soup, everything fresh from the earth, and we enjoyed a quiet evening in our little cottage, listening to the rain and thunder, eating a nice meal, and toasting to our good fortune to have found such a lovely place to call home for now.