I’ve started off way too many of these posts with the words, “I can’t believe it’s been so long…” But I truly had no idea until just now that my last post was in December! Oh my goodness, what has happened to this year.
Turns out, both nothing and everything has happened.
For one thing, I just returned home after being away from Congo for four months. I spent the entire summer in Tucson, housesitting for friends who made a beeline north for cooler climes. I needed a new passport, plus a round of doctor’s appointments, plus the usual luggage restocking. I needed to catch up with family and friends, which I did with gusto and much appreciation. I also needed to spend time with my sweet cat Chyna, who is quickly approaching her 17th birthday and may not have too many more to spare. I wanted about a month and a half to do all this, but my friends needed a housesitter for three in exchange for leaving Chyna behind in Tucson, so we struck a deal.
The additional month of absence was a deal struck with my husband. To survive three months alone, he arranged a two-week vacation in Malawi at the beginning, and a two-week vacation in Europe at the end. Ah! If I MUST.
Actually the European vacation — seven days of bicycling along the Danube, while a ship-sized “river boat” followed us through four countries — was booked a year in advance. Luckily it coincided well with the summer’s plans that came up later. (And yes, it was as fun as it sounds. But I won’t rub that in.)
Together we returned home only a week and a half ago, to a very dry, dusty, and windy DR-Congo. The beginning of rainy season lies a few weeks, maybe a month, ahead. Seb battled cold symptoms for nearly the whole vacation, and I fell victim to it shortly after returning. As I do nearly every time. Though I wonder if it’s not a cold this time but just the environment. It’s so dusty here you cannot see the ground from a plane, or vice versa. It’s so dusty I’ve contemplated wearing a face mask. It’s so dusty I haven’t been able to stomach the idea of dusting the house, even though it badly needs it. Why bother, there will just be more.
I tell you, this environment makes a mud-brick hut look like a very sensible approach. A big house with lots of objects and crevices and ledges is definitely not.
Before I left, it was this house that somehow managed to greedily soak up most of my time. I wrote earlier about how I’m not a super-organized “white tornado,” like my mother and grandmother are. There’s always something around the house that needs to be done, or at least a lot of guilt associated with not doing it. Actively avoiding chores takes a lot of time, too.
In my defense, I will say that in addition to mastering the avoidance thing I also spent SOME of that time laboring on a few projects, the fruits of which I hope will be visible at some point in the near future.
And we also spent a lot of the past year making the most of our time here, with dozens of little diversions from “work.” Here are a few of the highlights.
All in all, a quiet but excellent eighth year (minus a few months) here in DRC. On to the ninth!