Monday, December 31, 2012

so long, 2012

Another year has come and gone. At first thought it seems like it happened in a blink of an eye; but when looking back on where I was on this day one year ago, there is no denying that this has been the longest, most intense year of my life. I began the year in anticipation. Although I might not have seen it at the time, I glistened with the glow of pregnancy and overflowed with love and bliss. I was the happiest I had ever been. I had the highest hopes for what was to come.

For the most part, 2012 was everything I dreamed it would be. I became a mother and a lawyer. I said goodbye to one beautiful land and hello to another. I created wonderful memories with family and friends. But it wasn't all easy. There were more than a few times when my inner strength was tested. There were times when people let me down; times when I felt that one last gust would make me shatter. I mostly avoided talking about life's more difficult moments on this blog, not because I wanted to paint a picture-perfect life, but because I've always been good about filing away the negativity in the deep dark corners of my brain. I'd always rather carry burdens on my own, rather than create even more negative energy by causing people to worry. I guess I get a lot of philosophy from Pennywise songs, and this one in particular comes to mind as I talk about these things:

I have learned a lot in 2012- about life, love, friendships, and how much I can handle (which at this point I think is pretty much anything.) I've learned that making your year (or life) awesome, isn't always easy. It takes a lot of energy and sacrifices. There will be setbacks, and you don't always get back what you put in. But when you look back and realize how far you've come, and when you're able to find happiness in the things you have created for yourself, it's all worth it.

At the end of 2012, I find myself in a brand new place, far from everything I've ever known. I have countless adventures ahead of me. I have a law degree under my belt that I can't quite use yet. I have a beautiful almost-toddler who I adore more than anything in this world. I have the most amazing family and friends rooting for me back home. 

2012 has been a crazy year. 
It has been the best year, 
but I'm glad it's over. 
It was exhausting. 

I'm ready to start the next chapter in my book of life. I'm ready for 2013. It has A LOT to live up to, but I have high hopes. After all, 13 is my lucky number. :)

Highlights of 2012:

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Sunday, December 30, 2012

A Three Hour Tour

Late Friday afternoon we decided to go for a quick boat sesh. We had been cruising and tubing for about half-an-hour when the boat suddenly died. We checked the gas, the battery, the pressure, and everything else we could think of, but nothing was out-of-place. The Gilligan's Island jokes commenced as we tried the radio for help. "So much for the SOS channel," I thought when nobody answered our calls. There was no cellphone reception in the middle of the ocean and dialing out was not an option. I ordered my husband to swim the boat ashore. "Eddie Would Go," I joked. We all knew it was too far, and desperate times had not yet come to desperate measures. However, the sun was beginning to sink into the horizon and we were running out of time. Lucikly, as the medium-sized swells pushed us to shore (not OUR shore, but A shore), we finally got some shaky reception and were able to call for help. A rescue boat came and tugged us in. Despite the slight moments of panic, I ended up having a great time. I saw my first sunset in Tanzania and watched lightening illuminate a huge thunderhead in the distance. I was in good company... we joked and laughed the whole ride home. After the sun went down, a brilliant moon appeared over the ocean. I even saw a shooting star fall from the sky. It was a beautiful experience and one that I will never forget.

When we finally got service...

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Eva: Week 42

Baby Eva, this week we celebrated your first Christmas! It was so fun even though you probably had no idea what was going on, other than crunchy wrapping paper and shiny bows. Even though you started standing on your own last week, you haven't started walking. You now, however, can take TWO STEPS before falling! Your GG sent you a walker to help you continue to learn, so now you're cruising around the house with that. Other than that, there hasn't been too much excitement. We went on a boat ride, had a nice beach day, and a nice day at the pool this week. You've started making this weird face where you draw the corners of your lips down to your chin, showing us your gums. It's weird, because I have a couple of pictures of me as a baby making that exact same face. Today we went to an orphanage to drop off some Christmas presents for babies who didn't get any this year. Now to enjoy our last few days of 2012, the year you were born!

Eva by the Day:

New this Week:
-first Christmas
-took 2 steps!
-first visit to an orphanage

Friday, December 28, 2012

Eva's First Christmas

Welp, I wanted to post about Eva's first Christmas a few days ago but it turns out the internet out here is going to take some getting used to. The way it works out here is like some cell phone services- it is not "unlimited." You pay for a fixed amount of GB at a time and once you exceed those GB you are cut off until you pay again. At some point during one of our Christmas skyping sessions we got kicked off. It'll be pretty much impossible for us to download anything unless we want to spend a fortune on internet, and skyping or anything else that takes up a lot of bandwidth will also have to be limited. This is a major bummer for me. Anyway, we had a nice Christmas despite being so far from our family in Texas. We obviously couldn't buy a tree out here but I shipped a mini one from Target a few weeks before we arrived...
We slept in a bit and let Eva open her presents as soon as we went downstairs. She was much more interested in the wrapping and bows at first, but ended up loving what Santa brought her after we put that stuff away. She received a stuffed giraffe, which is the national symbol of Tanzania, as well as some blocks, some keys, a barrel of monkeys, and a book about animals.
After opening presents and eating breakfast, we headed to the beach for sun and relaxation. It was a beautiful day. Eva loves the warm Indian Ocean. Aaaandd.... It was the first time she played in the sand without trying to eat it! The beach is going to be a lot more fun for us again.
After a few hours we went home and got ready for Christmas dinner. I had shipped a box of stuff to make tamales with, but it didn't arrive in time. There are no turkeys available here either so I cooked a not-so-traditional dinner of pollo asado and mexican rice. We had a bunch of Daniel's co-workers over and had a great time, even though it really didn't feel like Christmas.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Our New Beach

This is what two days before Christmas looked like in Tanzania...
We went out on the boat and looked for some surf at the outer reefs. We think we have found a couple of good spots but didn't want to get too close without more info about the tides, etc. Our boards won't be here for another month (if all goes well), so it's okay to be a little patient. We went for a dip in the ocean and ate lunch on the beach. It was a great day, and I was glad to finally get some pics, even if they were with the ol' point-and-shoot.

Something's Fishy

It's Christmas Eve and my husband has his first case of Montezuma's Revenge, or whatever the African equivalent is. I think I may be going back to semi-pescatarianism while living here. The beef, chicken, and eggs all taste terrible to me. Everything is a very light color for some reason. The eggs don't have a yellow yolk; they have a white yolk. Even the ones advertised as having "yellow yolk" have a very light pastel-like yellow. I think it’s because the fish is so abundant here that the livestock are fed fish meal, which makes them taste a little bit like fish. (This theory of mine cannot be substantiated, so don't take my word for it... although I know that it definitely IS the case in other parts of Africa.) I LOVE fish, so I didn’t expect this to bother me so much, but unless these things are loaded with salt and hot sauce, my taste buds just can’t tolerate them. My husband doesn't notice a weird taste and he has no problem eating any of the food. I think all those years of eating MRE’s has desensitized his taste buds.

On the upside, the fish here is absolutely delicious and relatively cheap. I could eat it everyday, but I know it’s not recommended because of the mercury. My husband ordered a bunch of protein powder from so I can balance out my diet a bit better. We'll probably have to order more hot sauce from South Texas as well.

Another delicious part of East Africa is the fruit. The mango is to die for, and even the strawberries are delicious, which I didn’t expect. Eating fruit in Hawaii can get pretty expensive, and I’m glad I won’t have to limit myself as much here.

Maybe I'll get used to the food here. Or I'll just stick to the fish and delicious Indian food as my staples. Either way, I know what meal I'll be ordering when I first visit the States again.. steak & eggs.

Eva's First Trip to the Zoo

Before we left the States we knew we had to take Evita on her first trip to the zoo. She is just obsessed with animals and loves watching them and touching them. It was pretty clear right away which animals she loves best. She's not all that interested in monkeys or bears or giraffes... she adores birds. It doesn't matter how big or small they are, or whether or not they can fly. When she spots one, there is no diverting her attention. In second place came the big cats. She loves our kitties at home, and "cat" was her first real word, so this wasn't surprising to me. She also enjoyed being able to touch the animals at the petting zoo. I really think this was the perfect age for her first trip.
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