December 6th, 2007 was the day that Kristoffer and I arrived in Nairobi after leaving the US on December 1st and traveling to WFP Headquarters in Rome for a few days. If you'll recall, we also spent a random night in Doha, Qatar! The irony of this anniversary is that December 6th, 2008 (tomorrow!) is also the day we arrive back in the US to begin our 5-week vacation and surround ourselves with family, friends, and home style food ( = Dunkin Donuts at the international arrivals terminal at Logan Airport the minute after we find and hug my father).
On any big holiday or anniversary, I am prone to stop and reflect on what has changed about my situation or how I have changed since the last holiday or anniversary...but in regards to Kenya, I feel like I have actually spent the entire year - largely through this blog and emails with my friends and family - reflecting on what has changed and the person I am now. So I won't bore you with a list because there are over 100 blogs you could go back and read if you really wanted to do that!
What I can say is that I think the very best part of this year has been the relationship Kristoffer and I have developed. Of course we were already in love and best friends and married and all that when we got here, but at the time we moved here we had only been married and living together for 5 months so there were still some kinks to be worked out! Without any family or friends besides each other at first, we came to rely on each other in a totally new way. We have learned that not only do we love each other, but we really, really like each other too! We communicate even better than we did before, we make each other laugh (in my case, often when I am trying really hard not to), we can anticipate each other's fears and needs, and we are always looking out for each other over here. We literally went from being a couple who mostly only saw each other on weekends or holidays for four years, to a couple who spends almost all of our time together. We have really made the shift, and I think it is a special and spectacular part of this year's experience for us.
At our goodbye party at my parents home last year my Uncle Tom said to Kristoffer that maybe it was a blessing to be taking our marriage so far away so that we could really develop a healthy foundation for the rest of our marriage. We thought that was a thoughtful and interesting thing to say, but it hasn't been until now that we really agree with and appreciate what he meant! We especially feel that what we have learned about ourselves and each other in this last year will be very useful as we tackle the new challenge of being parents. I can only imagine that in a year from now I will be reflecting on how much our baby has changed our lives!
Now of course having said all that, it would be the understatement of the year to say that we are only excited to get out of Kenya for awhile and see our loved ones. We are nearly desperate for a change of pace! Our plane departs in 11 hours and we are ready to go!
I may not be blogging as often as usual in the next five weeks but I promise to throw you a bone every now and again :)
Happy Kenyan Anniversary!