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November 14th 2008
Published: November 14th 2008
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Well, we've been back in Uganda for about a month now, and it seems like it is time to finally get this here blog started. Many of you know the course we've taken to get here, because we have visited you along the way. For our own recollection, though, I decided to put up a little Reader's Digest version of the last four months. The main theme for these wanderings was visiting family and friends one last time before leaving the country. And we did a pretty darn good job of seeing a lot of people!

To clarify the timeline, I left my job at IslandWood and Simmy left his daycare at the end of July. Devin has somehow managed to steadily continue her BeadforLife work through all of our nomadic wanderings. We rented out our house to some IslandWood friends beginning in August.

Anyway, at the end of July we all went down to San Diego to visit my Mom and go to my 20-year high school reunion. Let's just say that was weird. One interesting and fun outcome of it is that the reunion, combined with Facebook, has gotten me in touch with a bunch of people I never thought I'd connect with again. Even people who didn't attend the reunion seem to have been swept up in the momentum and there is an ongoing "virtual reunion" happening on FB.

Devin left San Diego in early August to go to the International AIDS Conference in Mexico City, while Simmy and I spent almost another week with Mom. We all met up back on Bainbridge Island in mid-August to finish packing up our house.

Next we (Roshi is also with us from here on out) headed up to Cortes Island in British Columbia to spend three weeks at Devin's family's cabin. Cortes is one of our favorite places in the world, and it is rare for us to be able to spend such a long stretch there. We had a wonderful, relaxing time even though it was cold and rainy almost the whole three weeks. The highlight was hearing the wolves howling in the full moon on our second night there.

Then down to the San Juan Islands for the wedding of some dear friends of ours the first weekend of September. It was at Doe Bay on Orcas Island - a magical, beautiful place. It was also a great chance for us to say some last goodbyes to a bunch of our Seattle-area friends. We were there for three days, then made a quick overnight stop in Seattle with some more dear friends and started heading towards Colorado.

We took five days to drive out to Colorado, passing through Yellowstone National Park. We were followed by more freezing cold, wet weather, so the camping was less-than-delightful. Yellowstone is just plain amazing, though, so who cares, right?

Our first night in Colorado happened to coincide with a trip my Dad and stepmother were taking to Estes Park, so we got to spend some time with them. Of course, more freezing cold, wet weather, so fortunately they had decided to rent a cabin rather than having us all stay in their pop-up camper. Lucky us!

Then they came with us into Boulder to have lunch with Devin's Dad, Mom and stepfather. I really thought Simmy was going to blow a circuit having five of his seven grandparents all around one table!

We spent the next five weeks in Boulder staying with Devin's Dad and stepmother, and having the chance to spend a lot of time with her brother, Ryan, and his fiancee, Camilla, and some other friends of ours who live in the Boulder area. This gave Devin the chance to be working full-time in the Boulder BeadforLife office while I was full-time Daddy and logistics coordinator for our departure to Uganda.

We also got the chance to spend some more time with my Mom, as well as my sister, bro-in-law and nephew (who is the second cutest kid in the world) when they came out to Boulder to visit us and some other friends. Then Mom stuck around to help with Simmy while I went to a conference in Estes Park with Jen and Sharon, two of our wonderful Bainbridge friends. Did I mention that this time period was all about seeing friends and family? Wow.

After what turned out to be a very long lead-up, we hopped on the plane for Entebbe on October 16th. It wasn't until they announced that we were landing in Uganda that we first had the chance to look at each other and say "what the he** are we doing???" Those feelings dissipated immediately as we got off the plane, smelled the humid air and saw so many smiling Ugandan faces in the airport.

Simmy, amazing traveler that he is, wanted to keep flying. Roshi, reluctant traveler that she is, got out of her kennel and immediately peed on the floor of the baggage claim area. Who can blame her, though, after two days of travel where she was only let out of her kennel two times? I would have done it too, just to get back at everybody.

Torkin and Charles (Devin's Mom and stepfather) picked us up at the airport and whisked us back to their apartment in Kampala. We stayed with them for the first two weeks while we looked for our own place. Knowing how hard all this upheaval could be on Simmy, from the beginning we got a great sense of relief from knowing that he would see two of his favorite people there on arrival. He, and they, were thrilled by the reunion.

Two weeks ago, we found a house for ourselves in the Muyenga area of Kampala. It is less than a mile from where we lived last time, and similar in that it is one of four units in a compound. It is quite a bit nicer than what we had before, but we really wanted a place that had a good play area and felt safe for Simmy. And it has turned out to be better for him than we could have ever hoped. There is a family next door from Zimbabwe who have a five-year-old girl named Hazel who Sim loves playing with. The landlady, who also lives in one of the units, is the wife (of sorts) of the Mayor of Kampala, and his daughter (although not hers, I don't think), named Naseem, stays in our compound during the week. She is 10, and is wonderful with Simmy. So he's having a ball. We are also right next door to the daycare where he spends every morning from 8 - 1. It is so nice being able to just walk over to drop him off and pick him up.

Life is good. Devin immediately dove right back into BeadforLife here, and is loving working with the staff. She is starting a whole new project, where she will be trying to hook up makers of other (non-bead) crafts with buyers in North America, so she is challenged by figuring out how to start this whole new approach from scratch. As you all know, if anybody can do it, she can, so I'm sure you will soon be hearing about great successes from the Market Linkages project.

This is a lot for one post, so stay tuned. In the next post I'll try to add some pictures of our lives.

Hope all's well wherever you are!



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16th November 2008

Greetings from Bainbridge!
Hi there, Just read your first post and saw the pictures of your new place! It looks great and we are very happy for you! It sounds perfect to be so near Simmy's day care. Devin, good luck with the new projects. Mark, when will you be starting work and what do you plan to do first? We miss you hear on the island. The fall weather has been nice in the last few days, with temperatures in the 60's and foggy mornings followed by sunshine. Wet red and yellow leaves are covering the grounds. You know what it looks like... Reading your post reminds me of our life in Guatemala, that will forever hold a special place in my heart. I would like to live there again some day soon. But for now we are here - just bought our home here in Winslow co-housing - looking for a good drop-off day care for Mateo a couple of days a week. We would like to come see you in the next year or two. Remind me when is a good time to go? We love you and think of you often. xoxo, Cilla, Leif and Mateo

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