Saturday, March 17, 2012

March 17, 2012 - Catching Up

We have not had any Internet other than on our cell phones this week, and I can’t blog from my phone.  I think the Internet situation is actually the most frustrating part of being here. 

I last left you with Grace and Noah both a bit sick.

Tuesday followed up with me being sick as well.  Kidney infection.  I had been brushing off my symptoms as related to the heat or jet-lag, but on Tuesday they were undeniable.  I was promptly loaded up on the strongest antibiotic around.

Wednesday morning I went to my first “spouse club” meeting for UN/World Bank spouses.  It was a very nice and diverse group of women, but just as in Nairobi the group is a little bit consumed with conducting proper meetings and fundraising, which are not super high on my list of priorities just right now.  I hope to make connections with some of the women who have smaller children, and I also learned about two other “newcomers” groups that I will try to participate in a bit as well.  As I told my mom, when you move to some place new it is important to cast your net wide in order to find some fish worth catching. 

The big event came towards the end of the day.  I went to show Kristoffer where to put the diesel in the generator and I received (what felt to me like) a really big electrical shock!  I have never had that experience before, and it was extremely unpleasant.  Painful even.  I was instantly worried about my pacemaker.  My google-search-from-my-cell-phone indicated that it is very unlikely that harm came to my pacemaker, particularly because it was probably not “on” at the moment I got shocked.  But I felt weird until the next morning.  Sheesh. 

The kids have been eating and sleeping better; for Noah this is all dependent on him not getting too hot.   Sometimes I feel bad keeping him home in the house most of the time, but when we take him out during the day he really doesn’t do so well.  Luckily his virus seems to be gone and he is generally much more himself.

Thursday was a big day for Grace, as we headed to her school for the first day.  I stayed with her the whole time from start to finish (as the school requested) and was very proud of her.  The school is very different from her school in Nairobi, so I think it was good that I stayed to give her a bit of security as she figures out this new place.  She didn’t talk to other kids or play with them, but she did listen well to the teachers and she ate really well at snack and lunch.  She didn’t speak too much Danish, but seemed to understand a lot of what was said.  They even sang one of the songs she knows pretty well (tak, Farmor!).  And when we left she said she wanted to go back the next day (too bad school was closed on Friday for a teacher’s meeting!).  There was no crying at all, so I think it can be counted as a big success.  She will adapt quickly to their new systems and the teachers say that in just a few weeks (or less?) she will easily be speaking Danish, and a little Swedish and Norwegian too (like some of the other kids).  Looking forward to taking her on Monday and maybe leaving her alone for a bit of that time too.

Thursday was also the day that our security guards started.  We have a day guard, whose name we still can’t understand (is it awful if I just refer to him as DG from now on?) and a night guard named Abdullah.  Seems like a pretty boring job to me just watching our house and opening/closing the gate as needed for 12 hours, but it does make us feel a bit more safe.  At night, we are basically like a fortress.  There is a guard at the first gate which gets to Mr. and Mrs. S’ house…along with 3 dogs – 1 German Shephard and 2 Dobermans…and then another gate with our guard before our house.  Just try!

On Friday Kristoffer didn’t work (still has a couple of “getting settled” days he can take off) so we ran a whole bunch of errands, including trying to get new and improved Internet.  The verdict on that is still out, but at least we have something for now. Kristoffer and I went out to dinner last night at an Italian restaurant.  We sat outside and it was my first time being out at night here.  I was really paranoid about getting bitten so I am not sure I relaxed enough, but the food was good and it was nice to see a little bit of the night life.

It’s great that our generator is working (even though it tried to kill me, and yes someone will be checking on it this week to make sure it is properly grounded) because we haven’t had any outages this week.  Kristoffer is in a good routine of running to work Monday morning, biking home and then to/from work the rest of the week, finally running home Friday afternoon.  I am more and more comfortable driving around by myself.  The only weird part for me now is going in reverse because I can’t seem to get used to looking over my left shoulder instead of my right.

Today we were invited to the home of some friends of friends from Nairobi and had a lovely few hours with their family and another friend.  Their oldest is 5 ½ years old and Grace really warmed up to her so it was a great connection to make.  They have been very helpful throughout the process of our move, even when we were still in Nairobi and I was emailing a million questions. 

Speaking of Nairobi, there are SO many Nairobi "people" here.  In addition to meeting one American woman who had her baby a few days after Noah was born in our Nairobi hospital, at the clinic on Wednesday I bumped into a woman who was actually in my little Nairobi book club. I didn’t know her very well and had forgotten that she moved here almost 2 years ago.  CRAZY!  And so nice to see a familiar-ish face!  In the spouse club there were two other women who had moved from Nairobi in the last year. 

It took me 11 days before I had my first “holy crap, I live here” moment, which I think is not too bad (I definitely had that moment a lot earlier on in Nairobi).  I almost cried for no reason at all…or just because sometimes it feels a bit overwhelming.  But mostly it has still been easier than I expected it to be. Rose seems to be doing well here so far, and I thank God that she is here. 

I am hoping to blog more regularly again and will eventually get past doing just a day-by-day play-by-play…but as I have not been able to email much this week I figure it is still the best way to keep our families and friends informed. 

Happy St. Patrick’s Day – the only Irish thing I have found here is the butter (don't ask me why they have Irish butter!?) but the kids were dressed appropriately for the occasion.  If only our Internet was fast enough to post pictures L.  Something to keep striving for...

With only a few more mosquito bites under our belt (I think we’re still in single digits), we are doing pretty well in Dar  Hope the same for you wherever you are.


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