Things are changing in Dar these days. I had an incredibly busy month in May working everyday, but that is over and hopefully I can get back to blogging (although 7 days into the month I'm only at 2 blogs...but the month is still young, right?).
First and foremost, the WEATHER is getting awesome. Our rainy season has ended along with insane humidity. The weather is so delightful and cool (in the 80s!) that people here have started to call it winter, although all the expats still call it summer since most of them go home to the summer months in America or Europe. This month will be a bad month for malaria, as after the rainy season there are SOOOO many malarial mosquitos around. We have started to take medication just for the next 5 weeks to prevent malaria (and hope that we didn't get infected before we started taking it) because we know a lot of people who have gotten it this season (total # of reported cases at our medical clinic is 5 times higher than the same time last year). Once July hits, we can rest easy on the malaria front. I am just getting over giardia (parasite) and Grace and Noah have both had various infections during this rainy season...so we hope that the amazing weather brings healthier days for us.
Another big change is that the season of saying goodbye has begun. We are losing a lot of lovely families to jobs back home or in other international posts. There are two families in particular that we will be extremely sad to bid farewell. Kristoffer and I are friends with the parents, Grace and Noah are friends with the kids. It is painful to lose such winning combinations...particularly when we feel like we have just settled down into a happy "we have friends!" routine. It is possibly the worst aspect of expat life. All the goodbyes. It certainly provides teachable moments and skill development in the kids: saying goodbye, expressing gratitude, keeping in touch, etc. But still. Ugh. And this year Grace's favorite teacher, featured below, is retiring. We know we'll still get to see her as a substitute, but it is hard to imagine our school community without her.
Grace and Inge. She will be missed BIG time!
A project with the World Bank that I hoped to get has predictably fallen through, so instead I am taking piano lessons again (after a 20 year break) and hope to find some kind of physical exercise that I enjoy and can actually stick to (been working on that one for about 25 years with no luck...suggestions?). I hope to keep working on our children's book (we need an agent! help!). I will spend lots of time with the kiddos this summer and hope we come up with enough interesting things to do that we don't all go a little bit nutsy on this small peninsula. Everyone else we know will be traveling at some point (or moving, as mentioned) before school starts up again mid-August, so we will really be enjoying a lot of good weather on our own. Some planned activities include potty training for Noah and learning to read for Grace. We also just bought a boat share in a small catamaran sail boat from some of our departing friends. Kristoffer is getting really into sailing and I am hoping he will have time to show me the ropes (literally!). Wish us luck (especially in the not-getting-so-homesick-that-we-impulse-buy-$8,000-plane-tickets-to-go-home-for-a-month department).
Today was the last official day of school, although thankfully the Nordic School is doing an extended 3 weeks of "camp" to get us through the end of June which starts on Monday.
Grace and her great friend Mattias. Today was "toy day" at school and guess who else brought Buzz?
Solveig is off to Denmark for the summer (It it looks like I forced them to take this picture but they ASKED me to do it after telling each other how much they will miss each other. For real.)
Noah and Grace have changed a lot since their first days of school in August I would say. Flashback to Grace to see a huge difference, and to Noah who is certainly not a baby anymore. They have had an excellent school year.