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Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Captured for posterity

Jane did me a huge favor this AM and took the kids to get their passport photos taken. They were not at all amused.

We thought these were sort of funny. Read into them what you will...

Don't get eaten by the lions of your mind

Well... we've just returned from a wonderful long weekend with the extended family in Toledo, Ohio. It was a great opportunity to be in the bosom of our family in advance of our safari adventure, but I can't help but have the feeling that many of my family members just don't get it. Of course, this is less a reflection of how they actually feel and more an indication of how I'm imagining they must feel about our impending move.

Hally's imaged version of a conversation with cousin A:

Cousin A: So.. I hear you are you are moving to Tan-zanny-a?

Hally: Yes. I'm getting really excited about it.

Cousin A: Well... don't get eaten by lions or anything. I don't know why you would want to take the kids to Africa, will they be safe from war and lions?

Hally's actual conversation with cousin A:

Cousin A: So... you're moving to Africa. That's so cool.

Hally: Yes. I'm getting really excited about it, it is an amazing opportunity for me professionally, and I think the kids will really enjoy it, and we'll be living in a big house and I'll have lots of help and of course I'll be back several times, and the contract is only for two years, and I'll try to get back for some family event or other - maybe even Passover next year, and isn't it exciting and I hope you'll come visit me for the absolute best safari ever, and there is also the beautiful island of Zanzibar, and you'll have to swim in the Indian Ocean and really you'll love it if you come to visit, don't miss this opportunity of a lifetime, and ......

Cousin A: (interrupting..) Sounds great!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Hally's trousseau - the packing list, part 1

When you are moving overseas on a US government project you are allowed 7200 lbs of freight - sent by sea. This means that you can bring the kitchen sink (if that is what floats your boat). I'm more concerned about some of the smaller essentials of life - the things I'd be totally miserable without. Here is my essentials shopping list:

  • 24 bottles of Ken's Steakhouse blue cheese salad dressing (can't eat salad every day without it)
  • 300 super plus Kotex tampons (you ladies know why - there is nothing worse than having to use pads in a hot/humid climate)
  • 6 bras, size XXX (none of your business - but you can't buy them or have them made in TZ)
  • 10 Elmo DVDs (needs no explanation)

What else do you think I should add to my essentials list? There is a prize for the most important/overlooked item.

Ex-pat's burden - not a funny entry

For the cost of one week of my current nanny, I'll have a full staff of household staff in Tanzania for a month. This just blows my mind. Clearly there is no economic justice in this world. I am feeling pretty guilty about it. But if I have to tell the truth... I can't wait to have the cheap help.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Exposure therapy

I'm getting Jaden and Rowan ready for Africa by exposing them to the wildlife they are likely to see. Here they can be seen interacting with a fierce tiger.

We are starting simple... tigers, giraffes, etc. By next month we should be moving on to springboks and dik-diks. (My gay friends, this really is an animal!)

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Cherry blossoms are nice but...

... they only bloom for two weeks a year.

Now bougainvillea.... they bloom all year long. According to wikipedia, "Bougainvillea are rapid growing and flower all year in warm climates."

And that's as good a reason as any to live in Africa.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

A prayer to the airplane gods

Well... two months out from our move and I'm already obsessing.... not about packing or planning, but about how the hell we are going to make it through 20 hours of travel with 2 1/2 year-olds. All I can do it pray (and being an agnostic Jew I don't really pray... ever). But for what it's worth, here is my prayer...

Dear Lord (or Lords or Ladies or the co-ed pantheon... whatever...)

Let them sleep. Let the Benedryl make them fall asleep rather than cause hyper fits.
Let them serve macaroni and cheese or chicken nuggets for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Let the people in front of us be good natured... the kind that don't mind being kicked in the back for 20 hours.
Let the people behind us enjoy a good LONG game of peak-a-boo.
Let the portable DVD player last well beyond the 3 hours it says in the manual. May Elmo be his usual entertaining self.
Oh lordy/lady, may the poops not smell too bad, and may they be easy to change in the postage stamp sized toilets.
And may you grant us restful, non-bumpy flights over your great oceans and continents.