Sunday, June 12, 2011

2011: extra baggage, but the good kind

No, the title doesn't refer to the fact that I had to check one of my carry-on bags on my way to Kenya this year because they actually weighed it and it was too heavy (whoops!), so I had three bags checked coming over... it refers to the little boy growing in my belly! Every year brings its own adventures, but this year will be especially different because I'm pregnant. I'll be in Kenya - and briefly, Ethiopia - between weeks 22 and 32. Here's a portrait of the Pumpkin, which is my current nickname for him since he's due in October (~10th), at 12 weeks:


I'm being more cautious this trip, given that I have another life I'm entirely responsible for. Wow. This all also makes me miss my wonderful husband even more than usual.

I've been in Kenya a week already, and I've been meaning to write a post for... a week already. But I've been much more tired than usual, so I just waited until I was feeling more energetic (sort of). Probably the jet lag, altitude, and baby belly all factor in, plus trying to keep up with my work duties at home - whew! I also finally feel like I'm settled, unpacked, organized, etc. today. I've been working at the museum, looking at nearly-a-million-year-old fossils, and I'll be doing this until very early August when I head to a field site in Laikipia, Kenya.

The highlight of my trip over was getting to see my best friend Cindy in the airport in Amsterdam! We happened to be there at the same time, as she was heading to Tanzania to work at the footprints site I joined her at last year. That was really fun. We kept joking how crazy it is that we live only 6 hours apart (she's in North Carolina) and we have to cross oceans to actually see each other. The second best part of the trip over was getting a seat with 2 empty seats next to it from Amsterdam to Nairobi, and getting a chance to stretch out and sleep for most of the flight. Aaaaaahhhh.

 After a week of greeting old friends and colleagues in the museum, unpacking everything, getting the flat stocked with food and supplies, and looking at fossils, I needed a little down time this weekend, so my friend Emily and I spent Saturday pampering: manicures, pedicures, massages. Services like that are a fraction of the cost here that they are back home, and I swear the best pedicures I've ever had are in Nairobi! My back's been hurting a lot for the past few weeks, and the massage really helped. We also did some shopping (souvenirs, jewelry); it was nice to get some of that out of the way early on this time. I bought two cool Tinga paintings for Pumpkin's room at a market today; I've always liked this Tanzanian style of art, and I thought it would be fun to have some colorful, African-looking animal paintings in his room. The ones I got look pretty similar to these:



OK, it's bedtime; I promise to try to post more often!