This is how I spent my first Christmas in Beira. I went with my Mozambican mother to her mother’s house in a “suburb” where we sat outside under the mango trees.
Photo #61 June 21, 2011
Yes, those are live chickens next to the cooler in the little supermarket. Yes, I was the only one who thought that was odd.
Photo #59 June 16, 2011
Recently I spoke at an event at my church about Mozambique. What has seemed so recent in my mind was suddenly brought into the correct focus – I went there nearly four years ago. That’s a long time ago! And finally in my photo albums we arrive, November 2007. This is from my first day in Beira when I got a tour of the city. This makes Beira look far more beautiful and exciting than it actually is!
Photo #58 June 12, 2011
I have prettier photos than this in this album, but this is my favorite one. I was with my parents in Chicago for Thanksgiving 2007 then left for Mozambique a couple days later. As you can see, I was packing my suitcase, and Frodo seemed very interested in coming with me. In fact, he did not leave from that spot while I filled the suitcase. The next picture I have is of the closed suitcase and him sitting on top.
Frodo was my cat. I insisted on getting a kitten the summer of 1997 when I transferred from my college in Oregon to U of M. We had always been a cat family, but when I went away to college my brother convinced my parents to get a dog. I was not pleased. My parents gave in to my insistence on a cat after I explained that it would be mine, and I would take it from their house once I was out of the dorms and in a place of my own. So they’d only have to keep it for one year.
Frodo never did live with me. Either I was in apartments that didn’t allow pets or had roommates who were allergic or I lived in foreign countries.
Fourteen years later Frodo no longer lives with my parents. A few weeks ago, after a couple years of declining kitty health, my parents finally put him down. Among other problems, he was deaf and had withered down to skin and bones. This photo shows him in much happier days. I wish I could have taken him in the suitcase with me, but I’m not sure how well he would have liked Mozambique. Plus, I think Mom and Dad and the dog would really have missed him.
I got a manicure last week and had my toes painted yellow. I have happy feet.
I went dancing one night with friends. We stayed out till 4am.
I go to yoga every day. Today it kicked my butt, but my body’s getting stronger, and I truly am more relaxed and clear-minded each day because of it.
I wake up early, but not too early, every morning with enough time to have a full morning but after the sun has already risen. Good morning sunshine!
My internet has been down in my apartment for over a week. It’s a bit frustrating but simplifies my life. I spend time at coffee shops these days to read and write emails and blogs.
I have brunch and coffee with good friends.
People bless my home with their presence around my table for home-cooked meals.
My goal this summer is to cook every recipe in the Spring and Summer sections of the Mennonite cookbook, Simply in Season. I am only five recipes in, but so far they’ve all been a success. Biggest hit: asparagus quiche in potato crust.
I volunteered for three days at the warehouse that my church bought and is renovating. I hauled wood and weathering strips and picked up piles of nuts and bolts and stacked insulation and tore down a wall and loaded copper wires on a trailer. I was filthy and scratched up and tired, but it felt so good. I also got the best compliment ever: One of the guys told the supervisor that I’m “a beast” and “work with the dudes”.
I’m reading a memoir by a white Zimbabwean.
I’m going to see my old students in summer school on Tuesday. Afterwards I’m meeting a former colleague for foot massages in Chinatown.
I think I’m going to have my hairdresser cut some bangs this week.
I’m cleaning out and reorganizing my apartment.
Sometimes I sit in the peace and quiet of my apartment and watch the bamboo leaves outside my kitchen window blow in the wind and pray or just be still.