Sunday, January 27, 2013

I kissed a giraffe

I'm just going to ignore the crazy long amount of time that has passed since my last blog point, and jump right back to my trip to Kenya. You don't mind, right?

I spent a lovely morning at the Giraffe Centre in Nairobi. The center is home to a number of Rothschild giraffe, an endangered breed native to East Africa. Connected to the center is the incredible Giraffe Manor, a lodge where the giraffe are free to roam and visit the guests.

The giraffe were highly motivated by the treats the staff gave us, and would whip their heads around searching for the people with the goods. They were quite gentle, but definitely made their intentions known. They were in it for the food. It was hilarious and amazing and I loved it.

People around me were holding the treats in their mouths and the giraffe would come in for a kiss. A kiss from a giraffe? I HAD to join in. Can you sense the romance from this picture? There was definitely a spark.

Giraffe Manor, where a giraffe might stick its head through a window to say hello!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Out of Africa (AKA where are you Denys?!)

On a beautiful Saturday afternoon I visited the home of Karen Blixen, author of Out of Africa. Despite the sometimes uncomfortable colonial perspective, I loved the book and the movie. Real-life Karen made quite an impact on the surrounding community (now called "Karen"), though some remember her as an unlikable figure who used to boss Denys around. She did have a light on her porch that indicated whether Denys was allowed to visit. Bossy? Or appealingly practical? I'm undecided. She was certainly a firecracker.

The tour started with the guide reciting her painfully long monologue as fast as humanly possible. Honestly, I heard every third word. When I took a few pictures while she was still talking, I was instructed to sit down and wait until the monologue was over. Oops!

Waiting for Denys to fly in over the Ngong Hills. Sadly, Meryl Streep and Robert Redford were no where to be found. Next time. 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

No sweating!

I have been called a klutz a time or two in my life. Or every day. But who's counting? This leads me to one of my favorite parts of my visit to Kenya. Whenever I dropped something, tripped or ran into something, the people around me would say, "Sorry!" They apologized for my misfortune with no irony or mocking in their voices. No one laughed and no one rolled their eyes. (Looking at you, DAVID!) This was my kind of place!

Another favorite? Going for jogs in Nairobi and not having anyone call me a mzungu ("foreigner," or literally "aimless wanderer" after the early European explorers). No one pointed out my whiteness at all, at least until I left Nairobi for more rural areas. Instead they just thought I was weird for jogging. A young security guard in blue yelled, "No sweating!" and an older man said, "Getting ready for the Olympics?" followed by bursts of laughter. Too much laughter.

Monday, July 30, 2012


Hi, friends! I am currently in Kenya for a work trip, enjoying the fast internet and good coffee of Nairobi. The purpose of the trip is to visit/monitor our HIV program sites in the western part of the country, and to prepare for a cervical cancer assessment taking place next month. The trip is two and a half weeks, with one week spent traveling around Nyanza Province and the rest of the time in Nairobi.

The visit was planned at the last minute, as they always are at my work, and it was not the best of timing.... While I'm gone, David has moved all of our things out of our basement apartment and into our new condo. Oh, yeah! We bought a condo! It is in the Brookland neighborhood of DC, and we are feeling very blessed.

Though I'm sad to be away from my family, I'm having a nice time practicing the Swahili I learned from a foray into Rosetta Stone Swahili combined with extensive watching of The Lion King as a child. Or should I say, The Simba King? Impressed, no?

Hakuna matata, rafiki!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Letting go of fall

As expected, fall was far too short and winter is here far too soon. This fall was perfect for a birthday picnic at the National Arboretum, the mixing of new friends and old, trying out the "best new sandwich in America" (doubt it), walks involving the carrying of large sticks, and learning to feel at home here in DC. Now, to winter and a brand new year. And learning to appreciate the cold (impossible).

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Summer in DC

On a hot day toward the end of summer, we took a long, leisurely walk around the mall and the monuments. The tourists are in full force during the summer and into early fall, and I'm enjoying the slower pace now that the cold is imminent. But this day, they were everywhere. Tour buses lining the streets and a variety of languages floating past. People taking pictures of squirrels (who knew they were so exotic?). And I get to walk to the mall from my house. Lucky.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Anna and Greg

(Map of the farm, made by Anna.)

Anna and Greg got married this summer on their farm in Maryland. When we found out we were moving to DC, we had no idea Anna would be there too. We were overjoyed when we learned that not only was Anna marrying her perfect match, Greg, but they were going to live and work just 45 minutes away from our new home.

At the reception, David gave a speech about his first interactions with Anna back in the dorms during undergrad. She would sit in her room and play an old, broken guitar, and even though it was old and broken, she could make it sound beautiful. David wished the same for their marriage- that when Greg was feeling down and broken, Anna would bring the beauty out of him. That she would make him sing.