Adios! (Don’t worry it’s not forever)

Just a quick post today to say “See ya!”

I likely won’t be around in the blog world much over the next two weeks but I have a good reason!

It’s holiday time (hooray!!) We are headed to Kenya for some time away to visit family and friends. It will be busy yes, but we are looking forward to seeing friends and family that we haven’t seen for a year. Also looking forward to a different environment and actually wearing a light sweater, maybe. 😉 It is Nairobi’s “cold” season and coming from Dar I’m sure we’ll feel it.

The only thing I’m not really looking forward to is the actual getting there. We will be driving…it’s about 1000 kilometers from Dar to Nairobi but a good chunk of the road is under construction and even if it wasn’t – with all the 50 zones it’s hard to average a decent speed. It’s going to be a good 15-16 hour trip. *sigh*

However I’m just trying to focus on the trip as a whole and not think too much about the 4am wake up call tomorrow and LONG drive ahead.

Hope all of you are enjoying summer and finding some time to relax!

Later!

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My Monday Morning Woes

After being ‘out of the loop’ as far as the blogging world goes for a week because of work, I had wanted my first post this week to be…well…a number of things that this post just won’t end up being. *sigh* Oh well…

Today after a VERY busy week I hoped it would be a simple morning…wake up (albeit earlier than I’d like), get ready, get Ezra ready and head to drop him off at daycare for the morning. Then I would have a coffee, check some emails maybe write a post on Journey with Jade and then go get some groceries before heading back to pick him up at noon. This would have been nice. Was it really too much to ask?

I woke up late. Therefore Ezra woke up late. It was a rush to get ready and get out the door, but we managed to only leave a few minutes later than normal. Then it started … the traffic was absolutely INSANE. OK, it’s always crazy here but this morning was more nuts than usual. We sat for 10 minutes without moving. Then we finally started moving and moved about 20 feet. Then we stopped again for about 5 minutes, then we moved up a bit, inched forward – you get the idea…it was a VERY long trip. It’s a bit far and normally takes us 25-30 minutes (with the normal, expected amount of traffic). Today it took me just under an hour to get there. But that’s not the best (or worst) part! Before we even got there, Ezra coughed so hard he puked. I had nowhere to stop. So after driving the last 15 minutes inhaling the strong puke odor filling the car, we finally arrived. We were already 40 minutes late. I cleaned Ezra up, cleaned his car seat and the car floor, changed his shirt and literally 10 seconds after I had finished and was about to take him into daycare…he proceeds to throw up again! I felt like crying. (And screaming – to no one in particular – “I HAVEN’T EVEN HAD COFFEE YET! GIVE ME A BREAK!” – But I restrained myself, of course).

So what to do? I cleaned him up for the second time, having to leave his shirt on since I didn’t have another (but thankfully he mostly puked on the ground outside the second time). Then I put him back in the car, told daycare that he was sick and wouldn’t be in today and then turned around to face the traffic again and head home. Of course I called my husband to share my sad and frustrating tale and get some sympathy first. There was traffic on the way back too but thankfully I made it home in about 35 minutes. Ezra fell asleep in the car and I was able to move him to bed and he slept for a good two hours. Obviously he wasn’t feeling quite right. Thankfully after he woke up he seems fine and there has been no more vomiting for which I am grateful.

So, how was your Monday morning?

Language Learning

I have lived in Tanzania now for close to a year and a half. One of the big reasons we chose to come work in TZ as Global Workers with the PAOC was the opportunity to learn Swahili. Yes, other African nations do speak Swahili but it is most prevalent and more “proper” you could say, in Tanzania. So this is the best place to learn GOOD Swahili.

My husband does speak Swahili but his Swahili is typically Kenyan (mixed with English and/or his Mother Tongue – Kisii). And over the years learning from my husband has proved to be impossible. 🙂 He quickly tires of me asking “what does that mean again?” (Note: always better not to have your significant other try to teach you … anything). 😉

I started officially learning the language just over a year ago in April of 2012. I have an amazing teacher who comes to my house and makes it easy. She is very patient and she goes at my pace. I started with a three-week intensive introduction to Swahili where I had a 3 hour lesson every day for three weeks. It was a bit overwhelming but at the same time, really allowed me to just dive in and start learning right away. After that initial phase I continued with weekly lessons (3 hours a week for several months). Then I took a LONG break from October 2012 until last week. My family came to visit, we were really busy with work and we went home to Canada for a quick fundraising tour and visit for 4 weeks in February. But I have been wanting to start my studies again for a while now. My teacher has been very busy with a full schedule of students but finally found some time and so here we are.

Some days I feel like I still have a long way to go and other days I feel like I have come so far at the same time. I can now after a year, hold a conversation. Nothing crazy – I can’t debate about anything or explain complicated things in detail but I can have a basic conversation. And considering a year ago I only knew a handful of words in Swahili I am actually quite proud of myself. See I do not speak any other language – only English. (Mostly I blame my parents who never put me in French school as a child). 😉 I have always wanted to be able to speak other languages, so this is a big deal for me. Whenever I see a Mzungu (white person) speaking fluent Swahili here it just fires my passion to get there – to reach the point where I am fluent in two languages. That’s the dream. So that is what I’m working towards. The other good thing about learning in Tanzania is it forces you to learn more than say, Kenya does. (I lived in Kenya for a year and only learned a few words of Swahili). Swahili is the MAIN language here, English is second and many people, even in the city do not speak English, so it does push you more to learn as compared to Nairobi where everyone speaks English and especially when they see me (white, blond, Blue-eyed…).

So I am very excited to be starting a third round of language studies. I hope it will take me to that next level of being more comfortable speaking Swahili, on my way to becoming bilingual.

The wonderful thing about living here at this time too is that our two-year old son is learning Swahili and English at the same time and can understand both languages. It’s so easy when you’re two and your brain is already in that language learning mode. 😉 I’d much rather he get the opportunity to learn now as a child, so that is also a real benefit of being here now.

Anyone else learning or learned a second (or third) language as an adult? What is/was your experience like?

Obama in TZ on Canada Day, eh?

Obama
Photo Credit:ITV.com (ITV Ltd.)
imagesCAGK13IS
I know I am a couple days late on my Canada Day post (Bad Canadian!) but it’s not because I don’t value the day or because I’m not proud to be Canadian, because I am. Our Canada day “celebrations” were different this year, being in Tanzania (we were in TZ last year for Canada Day too, but honestly I can’t remember what we did – other than sweat as we were still getting used to the heat here in Dar). We didn’t really go anywhere or do anything special this year either, mostly because Obama was in town. It was kind of ironic that the US President was visiting Dar es Salaam where we happen to be, on Canada Day. It kind of stole the thunder for the day. The whole city basically shut down. Several major roads were closed, many people didn’t (or couldn’t) work because of the President’s visit. So we just took Ezra to daycare for the morning as usual – thankfully his school is the opposite direction from town, and the upside was no traffic that morning. 🙂 While Ezra was at school we decided to take a few hours and relax at the beach and after that we just came home and hung out. My hubby attempted to get to the office the next day (yesterday) but had to wait about half an hour while the road was closed and Obama eventually passed. So at least he can say he “saw” Obama (more accurately he saw the President’s car along with his fleet of about 20 other vehicles pass at about 60 KPH). I will say I am very thankful for Obama’s visit if for no other reason than we got many of the potholes in the roads fixed. I just wish the President would have been passing by our street on his visit, so they could pave our road or at the very least leveled it! Oh well. I choose to be thankful that at least the potholes in the major roads are fixed, for the time being. It just shows that it’s possible! If Obama visited every year, in a few years this city would be like a different place 😉

Ezra enjoyed his Canada Day stickers and we just enjoyed each other’s company. I also skyped with some family on Monday so that was nice. All in all, although we didn’t do anything “official” for Canada’s Day, we had a nice day.

I am very thankful to be where we are but I am also very thankful to come from where I do. Canada is a wonderful country. We are blessed in so many ways and I just hope that we continue as a country and as individuals, to use our blessings to be a blessing to others around us and around the world.

What did you do for Canada day this year?

Why are you proud to be Canadian? – here’s my list…

Top Ten Reasons I’m proud to be a Canadian

1. The good reputation (polite, considerate, generous, nice and any other “good” thing you can think of).
2. As Canadians we enjoy one of the highest “qualities of life” in the world.
3. We are a blessed country, filled with natural resources and beauty.
4. “Free” healthcare and education. (I know we pay for it in our taxes but I still appreciate not paying school fees or paying to receive treatment).
5. Multiculturalism – Toronto is the most multicultural city in the world and Canada is home to immigrants from all over the globe.
6. Peace and safety.
7. Maple syrup, need I say more?
8. We have four distinct seasons (I’m not a winter enthusiast but I do love the changing of seasons and I miss that).
9. Tim Hortons – While I’m not the biggest fan of their coffee I still enjoy the establishment (mostly the Timbits), meanwhile when we were in Canada my Kenyan Hubby became addicted. 😉
10. The term, “eh” – it’s uniquely Canadian and I have to say, in my humble Canadian opinion (not wanting to offend our American friends) it’s better than “huh.”

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