Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Birthday Girl


First Birthday Party/Housewarming


We threw a big first birthday party/housewarming on Saturday



There was a great turnout of new friends, lots of kids and tons of food


We rented a bouncy house at a friend's suggestion. An excellent decision; it was where the kids were 90% of the time


The best part was, the bouncy house rental cost $300 Botswana pula for the whole day, which is the equivalent of U.S. $45 dollars! I told you things were cheap, cheap, cheap here!

We also bought a bubble machine from which was a complete hit with the kids. My ears are still ringing from the shrieks of laughter





I have been planning this party since before we came to Botswana. Kind of funny to plan a party where you haven't yet met your guests. But it went really well, especially thanks to the built-in community I have through my workplace.


One thing I'm glad we did: We took an evening after work and walked around hand-delivering invitations to our neighbors.

Well, mostly we handed invitations to their domestic staff who answered our buzz at their gate.

But several of the neighbors came, which was really fun to get to meet them and for them to mingle with a wider range of folks. I really regret not getting to know our neighbors better in BsAs, so here's to forming friendships with our Gaborone neighbors.




I found the idea for the decorations online and relayed my vision to a co-worker's teen daughter, who spent the past week making all the beautiful tissue paper flowers.

She is incredibly artistic and came up with all kinds of creative ways to hang them, including adding little crystals I provided her.

I was actually running errands (including locating the ONE store in Gaborone that has helium for the balloons!) while she set everything up and I could not have done it better myself! She received many rave reviews during the party, and with her tissue paper flower-making skills, she is going to start making them to sell! (Don't worry, I paid her, too!)

Team Creative Genius: Mom made the cupcakes and daughter did the decorations

I wish I could post some pics of all the adorable kiddos, but you will have to settle for a bunch of pics of my kiddo, the birthday girl!


We opened this gift from Team Creative Genius after the other kids had left -- didn't want to start any fights!


It's a bear!


Hmmm ...



She likes it!


All in all a great dual-purpose party, birthday and housewarming.


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Side Note

(I know I have gone down this road before, but it's still on my mind. Skip this if you don't have any sympathy; I know I shouldn't complain.)

For all the fabulous things our month of life here in Gaborone has afforded, I am feeling the physical pain of missing Buenos Aires.

Like when I was looking at this. It was almost too painful to read and see the images (look at the slide show). The place is in our old neighborhood in BsAs. The street and everything about the inside and the outside of the house, from the mix of old and new architecture to the flea-market finds and decor, feels so familiar.

I desperately want to do what they did; buy a fixer-upper in BsAs, of which there are many beautiful, "affordable" options (for middle to higher-income Americans pulling two paychecks (of which we are not)), and split my time between there and the U.S.

Only a few things standing in my way: namely, FINANCE$ and my JOB. Small obstacles :)

But I love my job and I know that BsAs is not perfect. There were many annoying things about life there, too (no milkshakes, for one!).

I do love the idea of seeing the world two to three years at a time, as my job will allow me to do. But I think the transition between places in this career is going to be very hard for me.

Is it just because Buenos Aires was my first post and first time doing this? Or is it because BsAs is so freaking sweet that it makes it all the harder to have left? Will it be like this when I leave Gaborone? I sure hope not. Maybe the second time around will be easier and/or maybe it will be altogether easier to leave Gabs. I hope I find things I love about this place, too.

For the time being, I am going day by day, hoping that just like with breakups it will get less painful as each week passes.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Guest blogging on her birthday, may I present Miss Nile Malena:


Just kidding. But "baby Nile" is growing up so fast. I just wanted to publicly wish her a happy day before it's over. I took the day off of work to spend a lot of wonderful, sweet time with her, and I also was able to run a ton of errands in preparation for her first birthday party/our housewarming.


These pics were taken between Skype-ing with both sets of her grandparents. Technology is wonderful!

More to come later, including a very special story I've been meaning to share with you.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011



We went to our friends' house to take Nile for her first dip in a swimming pool!

She didn't seem fazed or scared at all. She played with bougainvillea petals and a floating dog toy and was trying to catch a little water beetle that kept swimming up to her.
Notice the bougainvillea petal in her hand.

Afterward we enjoyed talking and relaxing on the patio. Nile missed her naps, but was such a good girl all day. I think she enjoyed her first time in the pool!
Notice the pen in her hand. I forgot to mention that pens are another of the plastic items she loves, along with key fobs, earrings, sunglasses, chapstick tubes, Advil bottles, etc. My purse is her treasure trove. And on the wicker table in front of us you can see a plastic spoon and a little plastic ring toy. Anything to keep her happy!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Welcome Home!

Well, welcome to my home!

At long last, here is a preview of the place. Next time I'll invite you inside :)


Nothing says "Welcome!" like a cage!
And this is INSIDE the 7-ft. wall with electric fence on top!

Our 2-car garage, currently housing my sweet loaner from work (complete with steering wheel on the right) and a full-size freezer. And the B.O.B.

 Looking toward the front gate and driveway

To the left of the area above, with rose bushes in the middle. And you thought Africa was dry and desert! (Or at least I did.)


Standing by the grassy area above, looking toward the back of the yard. They are preparing this dirt area to install a pool. The trees along the edge are fruit trees.

There are several citrus trees, a couple avocado and banana trees, and a guava tree.

Standing by the fruit trees, looking toward the house (and the future-pool area). The house is really like two houses connected by a hallway -- a big U shape. There is the main house in front (the part on the left of this picture), and then the back (at the right here) is a 2-bedroom guest house with a living room, kitchen and bathroom. Visitors are welcome!


Another view from the fruit trees, looking toward the front of the yard.

The back of the guest part of the house.

A week after we moved in I realized that the window and door at the very far end in the picture above were not accessible from inside the house. That's when I noticed there were some keys on the giant key ring labeled "Servant's Quarters". Lo and behold, we have a whole other bedroom with its own bathroom back there! The week after that, we had it all set up and furnished, and Nile's new nanny/our new housekeeper started. That's right, she's LIVE-IN. It has been so great already, a built-in babysitter.

Past the guest-house patio, the side of the house. Pretty barren. Needs some grass or something. What's with all those manholes?

This is some serious electric fence, too. If anything touches the electric fence, a really loud alarm goes off and automatically alerts the security force. The other night we had a storm and I think branches kept falling on it, because it went off three times that night! Kind of jarring to wake up to!

At least there are a few things growing toward the front part of that side of the house.

Back to the front of the house, looking toward the gate. And my plumeria tree!

The iron gate! Pretty heavy duty. It opens and shuts quickly and easily though, with a remote control.

My beloved plumeria! It is so fragrant and takes me back to memories of Hawaii.



We are really enjoying the patio. Have you read the "No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency" books? They are set right here in Gaborone, Botswana!

p.s. if you want to say it like the locals do, it's "Hah-buh-ROH-nay"with a rolled "r".

Another day out on the patio.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Nile in the Front Yard

March 12

I went out front where Nile and daddy were walking around the driveway, waiting for me so we could go out for a driving tour to familiarize ourselves with town.
p.s. this will give you a glimpse of the front of our yard. I will give you the full tour next post!

Nile can't yet walk on her own, but she is very close!



She really wants those car keys