AFRICA! Overdue.

You guys.  I am terrible at this blogging thing.  I just realized that in 2015 I posted 5 times.  GAH.  I mean, there’s a crapload of cute pictures in each post, but STILL.

So anyway.  I’m probably just going to keep on keeping on.  Regardless of how often I feel like I SHOULD post.  Because let’s be real, who has time for blogging?

Sooooo… It’s April.  And the last time I posted (with actual words in it) I was talking about Halloween.  I realize this may seem like a crazy-ass jump in time, but you know what?  Welcome to my world.  How in the CRAP is it April already?   Anyway.  I’ll spare you my rant about how time is trying to screw me up by having all of its units get shorter and shorter every day on the sly.  Suffice to say, I feel like years are flying by.  Which is something that my grandmother used to tell me when I still thought a summer lasted as long as an entire school year (didn’t it feel like it?).

Clearly I am a bit sleep deprived, since this post doesn’t make much sense right now.

So, like a month ago, I got back from KENYA!  Holy crap it was an amazing trip.  2 weeks for work and another week for travel.  It was a total blast and a ridiculous amount of work all at the same time.  Essentially I was helping with a training of facilitators for Mercy Corps.  We did a week of training for a group of a little over 20 people, and then the following week they then practiced their newly acquired facilitation skills in a workshop with staff from our local office in Kenya.  And then Nicky came and joined me, and we took a week to travel around and see some sights.  And it was amazing.

At the Great Rift Valley overlook outside Nairobi

It was amazing for a lot of reasons, one of which was that i was ALONE a lot, which honestly felt decadent.  If you aren’t a parent, you might think I’m crazy (if you aren’t a parent and you’re still reading and you HAVEN’T thought I was crazy up to this point, then DANG, thanks for sticking with me). 

It was also exhausting.  The first week we were working from 7:30 in the morning until 8:30 or so at night… and then I’d be up jetlagged again at 4am the next day, so I’d work until breakfast.  But the people that I was with were some of the most amazing people I’ve met.  We had 15 countries represented, did international dance parties, had family style dinners, played Ultimate Frisbee in the pool, went on a boat safari (turns out safari just means journey, you guys, so it was a boat ride)… we played cards and darts and I laughed more than I have in a long time.  It was phenomenal.  If you’re reading this and you’re one of the cohort members– thanks for making my trip utterly unforgettable.

Getting ready for a boat safari!  Which was actually just a ride where we saw animals.

That’s a HIPPO!

Hell’s Gate National Park, inspiration for the setting of The Lion King.

Jump photo!  I’m terrible at vertical.

In case you couldn’t tell, I made some really fantastic new friends, and I hope we are friends FOREVER because they are all so cool.  True facts.

It really reignited for me a lot of stuff that too easily gets swamped by the daily duties of working and being a mom and living life– like the desire for MORE TRAVELS!!!  Turns out, Jason got pretty jealous too (though he probably wouldn’t call it that) so he just bought us tickets to Italy in May.  YESSSSSSSS.

I think it was pretty great work-wise as well– I made some really amazing contacts within the organization and got to build on and explore a skill set that I don’t use that regularly… so here’s to hoping that I will in the future!

We stayed for the first week at a place called Sawela Lodge, outside of Nairobi on the shores of Lake Naivasha.  It was a gorgeous place, but since we were out of town (and since hippos are DANGEROUS) the place was walled in, and there was no where else to go.  It really prompted some great bonding between all of the participants, seeing as how we had only each other for entertainment, really (the internet was pretty unreliable).  One of the participants called it “a beautiful prison”.

Planning meeting, Day 1 in the beautiful prison

The second week we headed into Nairobi (after a day trip to Hell’s Gate National Park, which was excellent) and stayed at the Jacaranda Hotel right in town.  This time there were places to go off campus, so we got to go check out some local restaurants and some local night life.  The night Nicky arrived at the end of the second week, I was already out with friends, so through some ridiculous phone tag involving way too many people, some of my friends picked her up (with the instructions, ‘Find the girl who looks like me and bring her with you!’) and brought her out to meet us.  Nicky had no idea this was going to happen, but apparently she must know me or something, because she wasn’t even phased when some random people approached her with the whole, ‘we know your sister’ routine.  We proceeded to dance (even though Nicky hadn’t really slept in her 20 hours on the plane) until about 2am.  Awesome.

The week of travelling with Nicky was just as amazing as the first two weeks.  I was sad to say goodbye to my new friends of course (I’m STILL sad and it’s weeks later!), but we headed off to go on safari in Amboseli National Park.

Getting there was a bit of an adventure in which I thought I might die a time a or two.  We hired a driver from the bed and breakfast where we were staying.  He had real issues with traffic (which is terrible in Nairobi).  Essentially we spent the entire time speeding around cars, forcing oncoming traffic to let us through (or else we would crash), or driving on what would be the sidewalk in the States, except there was no sidewalk.  One plus was that I did see a person moving an entire full-sized dresser strapped to the back of their tiny motorcycle on the drive.  So that was fun.

Once we arrived, though, it was amazing.  I felt like I was in a National Geographic documentary.  We stayed at a place called Kili Springs— if you ever go to this part of the world, you should totally stay there.  We were the only three tourists there, and they treated us like family.  It was tranquil and gorgeous and amazing.

We did a couple games drives and saw a ton of animals.  Here are some cheesy photos:

That’s a giraffe back there, I swear.
Elephant selfie.  So many elephies.


Yup.  Handstand/sunrise/landrover/acacia tree.

Dunbars and Kilimanjaro sunrise.  Which explains the sleepy faces.  Also, inside my cup is Nescafe, which also explains the sleepy faces.

Safari ‘tent’.

Tea under the trees.

Bush baby!  A tiny nocturnal monkey that we pestered until it woke up.

Masaai village welcome.


Lunch in the bush!

I think I took roughly 400 pictures of elephants.  This post makes my photo taking look positively RESTRAINED.  I feel like I just needed to clarify that with you all.  I could have made this ENTIRE post pictures of elephants.  And baby elephants.  Holy smokes, the elephants.

We didn’t get to see any predators on our trip, which was the only sad part.  And really it wasn’t even sad to me until we were out there and we saw everything else, and then I was like, ‘C’mon cats, what is the deal?’  Did I mention we did get to see elephants, though?

It was a bit of a thing getting back to Nairobi (like a 5 hour drive), but eventually we made it via public transportation (super duper sweaty, but we made it).  And then we headed off to the coast.

We had debated back and forth about whether to do more safari-ing and game drives, or if we wanted to go to the coast.  I’m so glad we did– it was phenomenal.  Probably the hottest and most humid place I’ve ever visited (definitely the farthest south and the farthest east, so that was neat).  As soon as we stepped off the plane, I realized I had completely overdressed (and definitely wasn’t prepared for the next few days).

We didn’t exactly get a lot accomplished, but we had a total blast.  Laura got sick the 2nd morning we arrived, which really sucked, since we were staying in a backpacker place with no air conditioning and only saltwater showers (rather a crappy setup for puking your guts out in 95 degree humid weather).  Nicky and I basically just hung out at either the beach or the bar the entire time, and it was completely worth it.

A glorious Nicky beach selfie.

The water was a fantastic green, and probably like 80 degrees itself, and super salty.

I’m sweaty and lookin’ at you, kid.

Zach!  Our one friend we made at the backpacker place.

Sea urchin!

Dunbars in a tuktuk!
Fresh coconuts.

We did get a couple offers of marriage on the beach, which I wasn’t expecting.  On guy just wanted cappuccino babies.  Another offered to buy me from my sister.  I was also told by that guy that I look like a fresh piece of spaghetti, which really warmed my heart.  Even if I’m really not sure if that meant a cooked piece, so like, ready to eat?  Or an uncooked piece?  So like, very tall and thin?  Neither of which really make any sense, but you know.  Maybe I’m missing something in the translation.

And then, sadly, back to Nairobi for my final day of touring and then my flight home.  We hung out with our favorite driver Peter from Holly Cab (I’m sure he was tired of us by the time we were done). Shopping, giraffes, baby elephants, more shopping, airports… it was a hectic last day.  But I did get to kiss a giraffe, which might seriously have been the highlight of the entire trip. 

Baby elephant orphanage in Nairobi.

And then home.  

The night before I got back, Evelyn got pretty sick.  It was a rough first week back– she was sick enough, with a pretty high fever, that she wasn’t really sleeping.  She was up and down every 2 hours or so, sleeping in our bed or on the couch, and she was pretty miserable.  I didn’t have time for jetlag, which was the only positive side effect.  At one point about three days after I got home, during one of her wake ups in the middle of the night, she looked over at me and said, “Mommy, are you back?”  And I said, yes, I’m back.  Her response was: “You’re not in the computer?”

Skype must be really confusing for tiny children.  Nope, I’m not in the computer.

So yeah.  Back to normal work, trying to assimilate all the happenings.

Easter happened– check out these cute child photos:

My grandma also came down to visit, as she is thinking of relocating to the Portland area to hang out with us.  Our good buddies Rachel and Eddie were in town for a day from Kentucky, and it was FANTASTIC to see them.  Also, I got to check out Labyrinth here in Portland with some old friends of Jason’s– I thought it would be stupid, you guys.  I thought I would hate it.  Turns out, it was SO FUN!  One of the fastest hours of my life.  You should totally go do something like this.  It was a blast.

And, to conclude, a couple hilarious Evelyn videos.

Whew.  What a blog.

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