I wrote last week about our local shopping choices, or more specifically, our lack of them. Feeding ourselves here can be challenging at times, but there is a bright side to this scenario. Three, actually. The first is that since meals here don’t come from a box or a drive-thru window, I’ve finally had to learn how to cook. The second is that since cooking here means “from scratch” and relies a lot on locally grown fresh veg, our diets have improved a bit. And the third is that since our local options are so limited, the company occasionally lets us bum a ride on their Beechcraft just to restock our pantries in the big city, which is hugely fun.
I love birthdays. It’s probably no coincidence that we’ve timed a couple of pretty fantastic vacations to coincide with late February. (And with a use-it-or-lose-it travel kitty as one of our expat benefits, why not?) I turned 40 on a mystical candlelit rooftop in Zanzibar, and 41 on reindeer pelt-covered blocks of ice in northern Sweden. This year we took a long weekend in Johannesburg for shopping and eating out and remembering what it’s like to live a civilized life. Seb likes birthdays as much as I do — his April travel gifts have included sandy beaches in Seychelles and Réunion, and this year we’ll be kicking off a 6-day trek through the Drakensburg-Lesotho mountains as he turns another year older.
But just as memorable as those exotic trips was our “staycation” in 2011, my first birthday here in the Congo. We had been here for six months, less one for the holidays, and had no plans to go anywhere in February. We decided to take a long weekend in Lubumbashi to check the place out. “Only the best for you!” Seb joked.
Actually, I loved it. A very memorable and fun birthday weekend. The fact that it’s taken me four years to write about it may seem contradictory, but I didn’t write much of anything in 2011 thanks to our lack of internet.