Sometimes I forget I'm in Africa. After awhile it becomes just another place where I have to make sure we get meals in, naps done and emails checked. I think it would be more adventurous if we were vacationing here but when every day is just full of waiting it wears on you. We had nothing adoption related to do today so we had no ride or company. I slept until Jaydn woke at 8am. She and I ate breakfast and played with some of the toys the Byerly's left us since they went home last night. Playdoh has been a big hit! Nathan joined us a few hours later.We walked down to the I love NY pizza kitchen and ate lunch, then came back to the apartment for naps. Jaydn and I crashed for a few hours while Nathan went and experienced theinappropriate ways of African massage :) It seems I can nap here quite often. I can't ever nap at home, maybe b/c I can always think of something else I should be doing, and here my mind is able to rest. I also think its b/c I still don't sleep deeply at night so I need the shuteye during the day too.
Jaydn's progress has been amazing to me. She really is doing well and settling in to the idea that we are going to be around awhile (like forever). Its funny though b/c when we are walking around and she sees kids, no matter the age, she always wants to stop and watch them. Today at the mall she just stared at a girl in a store for 5 minutes and didn't say or do anything. When I started to pull her away she wanted to go back and be with her so badly. I think she is craving interaction with other kids which makes me want to get her home even more so since she will have live-in playmates with Jaxon and Jovie. She is going toLOVE them! After naps we decided to head into town again and walked back to the mall area for some wandering. We always eat in the malls but haven't looked in the shops much. Its quite interesting b/c clothing is (in my opinion- as a Target shopper) expensive. It may be b/c the mall areas are geared toward Mzungus (white people) so they know they can get more but still. I saw shirts for $35 and up. Kids clothes weren't too bad but adult clothing wasn't cheap. Toyson the other hand are INSANE! We saw a magnetic doodle board for $60 and a mini piano toy for $40. Craziness! Needless to say we aren't buying her any toys here. Earliertoday we attempted going to a playground with Jaydn but she wasn't having it. She was so apprehensive which always catches us off guard b/c at the apartment (and orphanage) she climbs everything! She has no fear! But you take her out of those "familiar" walls and she is very cautious and frightened. Tonight we just ate dinner and then headed back to our cups of tea and FB checking.
Days like these are enjoyable to me in one way b/c its focused, relaxed time with Jaydn but on the other hand, I would prefer it in the comfort of our own home with my other two children involved and b/c I want to, not b/c I have nothing else to do. I think days like these are hard on Nathan b/c he can't stay at the apartment for long. He is always trying to think of a way to get out and DO something/anything. Kind of funny b/c the roles are usually reversed when we arehome. We have plans for Sunday in the works but tomorrow will be another blank day.
So b/c nothing inspiring or incredibly interesting happened today I figured I would just share some things about Africa that you may or may not know.
1. Traffic is crazy! They drive on the other side of the road (like in Europe) and there are no rules (at least that's how it seems). There are a few popular forms of travel in Uganda. There is the average driver: they own their own car and drive to and fro. There is also the taxi which is really a VW bus sized car jam packed with about 14 people at a time. You can take these but its a lot like a bus that will have many stops along the way. There is the "special hire" which is what we are only allowed to travel by where you pay a driver to take you from point A to point B, no one else rides with you unless you want them to and you can split the fare. This is the most similar to a taxi in American culture. Then there is the Boda Boda. These are motorcycle/dirtbike drivers that you pay a minimal fee to hop on the back and be taken to your destination. We have seen some wild things happen on Boda Boda's as they weave in and out of traffic and some times the passenger is holding crazy amounts of stuff while they drive, I don't know how they do it. As a walker, you must be brave. They don't stop for you so you have to be willing to walk right in front of traffic and move quickly if you want to get anywhere.
2. Goods are being sold everywhere. You will see stands, people on the curbs, people walkingwith bowls of fruit/vegetables etc or baskets/toys/phone cards or whatever it is they sell and massive amounts of it they carry as they just walk around town. You will also see beggars at every turn, some that talk and others that just hold their hands out all day. At night, the kids are more predominant and they will chase you and start conversations with you in effort to get your money. Moms will sit roadside with their babies and just a blanket on the ground selling random candy, gum, pairs of shoes or whatever they have trying to make some $.
3. Ugandan food is delicious but very starchy. We ate at a place called Caribou yesterday and it was authentic Ugandan cuisine and we loved it. We ate pocho (pronounced Po-show)- its like corn meal but not baked like we do for cornbread, just raw and white instead of yellow; matoke (Mah- toe-key) which is a green banana based food but really thick and not very flavorful unless mixed with spices which some places do; beans are a big deal here as well as white rice for some reason; they have something similar to a tortilla but much thicker than I love, but can't remember the name of. Curry is a spice often used here as well. While white rice is the most popular here we chose brown rice but its not the way we would know of it. They explained that their brown rice is just white rice cooked in a spice "like the Muslims cook it." Whatever than means. We had a pea soup poured over top of our food and it was great! You could have chosen a beef, fish or chicken soup poured on top but we chose pea. They wouldn't let me walk away without a soup poured over it so that was the best option for this vegetarian. Everyone drinks only sodas and juice here. The sodas have real sugar and no corn syrup though so they taste different. Also they come in all kids of fruity flavors depending on the brand you choose. We have been drinking water the whole time but we always have to specify we want it cold and in a bottle. At the mall though they have the basic food- Pastas, sandwiches, burgers, pizza etc but it always has a Ugandan twist on it. Fries are called chips and a lot of the foods are spelled incorrectly on the menus which cracks me up. Overall food is more bland here, perhaps b/c they don't use as much (any) sugar and salt as Americans do which is ok by me! Maybe this trip will have some effects like my sugar cleanse did and change our taste buds to be more sensitive to too much additives and such. Jaydn is loving the adventure of eating all these different types of food and seems to like pretty much anything but sometimes will pick out certain foods based on their color.
Please continue to pray for us as we wait. Our "timeline" looks like this but is highly tentative:
1. Get formal judge ruling on Tuesday November 23rd.
2. Try to get a Visa Appointment at the US Embassy for Wednesday the 24th but will most likely be pushed to Monday the 29th (they only do visas on M and W).
3. In the meantime, work on getting Jaydn's passport and A Ministry of Gender letter.
4. If our Visa Appointment is on Wed we could leave as early as Monday the 29th (Thanksgiving holiday delays us here b/c the Embassy is closed Thursday and Friday). If its not until Monday that we have our appt. then we will most likely leave Wednesday December 1st late evening. That is if we get her passport and letter by then as well!
Thankful to be here but always ready to go home :)