Wednesday, June 1, 2016

June 1, 2016 - Old Stomping Grounds

It was just two weekends ago - although feels like ages already! - that I set off on my own for three days and three nights of "me" time with some of my friends from Nairobi days. Two friends still live in Nairobi and the other managed to be in town from London for work.   After some stressful weeks of work, Kristoffer traveling, packing out, buying a house from afar, etc.  I really felt like I needed some time away from it all.

Sadly one of my lovely friends was quite sick and unable to join us, so we were a trio for most of the weekend.  We headed towards "Chui Lodge" in Naivasha.  Interestingly - cosmically, somehow - this was a sister lodge to the place Kristoffer stayed at in our first month in Kenya over our first married Christmas (where we got stuck during our first African election).  That hotel was called Kiangazi, which I blogged about here.  This time we were staying in the private wildlife conservation where Kristoffer and I had our first true safari experience.  On both occasions, it was amazing :) And this time we even had the same waiter!

Over these many years I have posted many wildlife/game drive/safari pictures.  So maybe it's boring by now.  But I still can't help myself!  And I still feel grateful for and amazed by these wonderful experiences to be close to African wildlife.

Out first giraffe spotting...
Just after birthing season, we saw LOTS of babies.  Even baby wildebeest are adorable!

 This impala family was so sweet...we watched them for a long time.
Love birds ;)
I love my friends Kristen and Colleen!

 We drank a loooooot of wine. And talked and laughed and talked and laughed and talked some more.  Just what I needed!

 And then we met King George.  What a guy!
(don't worry, we were safely in the Landcruiser at that point)

In what was a FIRST for me on safari, while drinking sundowners by the fire on our second night, a jackal (wild dog) sidled up to check out what we were doing/eating/drinking.  He kept his distance and was totally calm, but that was a pretty close encounter. 

And what would ANY East African round trip be without some kind of car trouble?! It was a quick fix, thankfully, and we were back in Nairobi.

When we got back to Nairobi we headed straight to a spa for a little pampering.  I mean - really, this was THE weekend! And then Kristen and I went to a (new to me) restaurant for meeting up with our beloved former nannies.  So I had a wonderful lunch with Rose and her daughter Karen (almost 19) and baby daughter Sheila (pronounced Shay-lah) who is 10 months old.  Sheila was the sweetest, easiest baby!  We had a great time catching up - it was so, so good to see Rose doing well and being so happy with her girls.

Finally, sweet Ingrid - who had been quite sick with a nasty infection - was able to join us out for a couple of hours.  It was too short with her, but better than nothing at all.  These women became important to me during my "early mothering" years in Nairobi - and it was beautiful to find out that after 4+ years apart our connection remained just as strong and as joyful.  Cheers to wonderful friends! (and fingers crossed I make some new ones in Maryland!)

I have to say that it was super weird to be in Nairobi. Dar is waaaaay more mellow and chilled out than the hustle and bustle (and noise and traffic and congestion and grime) of Nairobi.  I just realized how much I didn't miss THAT.  Also, security there?  Eeek - I'm just so glad we left when we did.  But of course the trip was totally worth it, especially to rest up for the final weeks of life in Dar (we're at T-16 days right now,  in case you're counting).  And, finally, I won an argument with a taxi driver at the airport which gave me some confidence that somewhere inside of this beach mom, there is still a little bit of a city girl hiding out.

Thank you, ladies, for our wonderful weekend!