August 16, 2013

A New Life

It's nearly spring in Moshi.  Cool days are turning warm.  Flowers are in bloom.
And I can't help but parallel our family with this new season - new life.

Our lives as we know them, are completely changed.  As we adjust to the time difference, the culture difference, and the dirt difference (it is Africa, after all), we're learning a new life.

A life where we put our toddler to bed at his (normal) 6:30/7:00 bedtime and he wakes two hours later wide-awake-happy-as-can-be.  His body thinks that was his afternoon nap.  So for the next 3-4 hours we calmly put him back to bed exactly 234,532,679 times - in the toddler bed he chose to sleep in after only one night in his new room.  He can get out of it quite easily, as we witness him poking around from the hall - "I can't reach puppy."  "Momma, I gotta pee."  "I not doing anything, I thirsty." "Momma I can't reach teddy."  He can get out of it quite easily, but still hasn't mastered opening the mosquito net to get back into bed, or how to untangle his friends when they fall on the floor into the pile of mosquito net that lies there.

When we finally feel it's safe for us to go to bed, that he's finally down for the night, we turn out the lights and lay in the dark.  It's about 12am and we're listening to the neighborhood dogs howl away at who-knows-what when we hear the pitter patter of little bear feet on the concrete floors, "Momma, I can't reach my puppy.  Help me reach puppy?"  ::sigh:: "Yes, little bear."

That was the last time, we're sure of it. So we switch off the bedside light and roll over to sleep again.

The alarm goes off at 8:45am, time to unlock the door so our house mama can get in.  Normally we would scoff at sleeping so late, but with the nights the way they've been, we'll take all the sleep we can get.  One of us gets up, undoes the padlock, then crawls into bed, awaiting the pitter patter of feet again saying this time, "Momma, sun came up! I get in mama papa's bed?!"  Our morning routine, since he was a wee nursling has always been to snuggle in bed for a bit in the morning.  Now that he's in a toddler bed we've had to teach him to wait till the sun comes up before he comes to lay with us.  We snuggle, read the Bible with a kids app on my phone, and he'll occasionally play his alphabet game or storybook game afterward.

We get up to make breakfast - since it's so late it's usually something quick like toast with jam, granola cereal or leftover pancakes that have been frozen.  Owen runs out while we're getting breakfast ready to greet Marta, our house mama.  He calls her "my new friend marta".  He talks about the roosters he hears crowing in the yard, occasionally saying "roostah" instead of 'er' on the end, and adds "marta" to his sentence.  Marta, with her accent, says it like that.  He likes Marta.

After breakfast we play with toys, get dressed and ready for the day, play outside, check on the chickens, or go hunting for lizards.  There are about a dozen or so that like to sun themselves on the front of the house and O loves to watch them wriggle away as we walk along the front.

Lunch rolls around and we heat up leftovers from dinner the night before, or may ask Marta to prepare a little extra of the African food she prepares for herself and Charles, the gardner.  After lunch is nap time, which involves reading books (always If You Give a Moose a Muffin), praying and singing before tucking the bear into bed.  While he naps we either:  a) nap with him depending on the night we had,  b) I edit pics and Bill plays his xbox, or c) get other stuff done around the house or prepare for an errand we'll run after nap.

After nap we usually run errands, head to friends' house, or play some more.
Around 4pm start getting dinner ready - it takes a lot longer to cook and prepare food when it's all fresh and/or frozen from being fresh :)  By 5 or 5:30 we're ready to eat.  I've been cooking easy meals lately just as we get adjusted - spaghetti & garlic rolls, macaroni and cheese (from scratch!) and hot dogs (not from scratch), veggie and cheese quesadillas, baked chicken and cooked carrots, things like that.  As we get more into the swing of things I hope to be cooking a little more sophisticated and eliminating hot dogs all together - blech!  It's hard to get protein here because the chicken is expensive, and scrawny, the beef is cheap but not good quality - so beef hotdogs have been our protein a couple of nights.  :(  We'll figure things out though and get into a routine - it may be a mostly vegetarian routine, but I'm okay with that!

After dinner it's play time for a little while, then we head out to feed Disco (the dog), make sure the chickens are fed and in the coop, water the banana trees and make sure the back gate is closed.  Then it's time for the bedtime routine to begin again.

The other day I was reflecting on the above - the lack of going and doing and ministering when my husband so wisely pointed out - this time, the past two weeks, has been ministry time for our family.  The past month of our lives has been so hectic, crazy, uprooted, emotional, full of change, that it's okay that we're "just" spending time together.  Enjoying the giggles of our little one as we all sit on the floor and play together.  Watching him learn how to take care of the dog and chickens, and how to climb on the stool to wash his hands in the sink and how he turns the fan on in both our rooms every night, and how he sits on the couch and excitedly exclaims, "I sit by momma AND papa!!"  There's that saying that 'ministry starts at home' and that's exactly what it's been for us these past two weeks.  Restoring us.  Getting our love tanks, quality time tanks, sleep tanks and laughter tanks refilled.
I can't believe I'm posting this first-thing-in-the-morning-we-have-morning-face picture.

So that's our new life.... for now.

Until school starts in a couple weeks and things change all over again :)