Sunday, October 26, 2008


Well friends, the past couple weeks have included a few milestones, and what better way to celebrate than with a blog post? (A blog post about all the ways I've already celebrated, that is.) First off, I said goodbye to Karen's lovely apartment. Another person was scheduled to occupy it in mid-October, so I knew I'd need to vacate the fine place where Chris and I spent our last few months together in Cameroon.

I enjoyed it to the very last, hosting various meals and enjoying the large (by local standards) oven until the last possible moment. Here is my posse of work friends, toasting before dinner. They are (L - R) French, British, American, Dutch, and German, all enjoying Mexican food in Cameroon. How often does that happen?

Mmmm, quesadillas. (I actually cooked the beans Cameroonian style, with lots of garlic and ginger and a couple Maggi cubes, the way Julia taught me. They turned out really tasty.)

Also in the days before vacating the apartment, I hosted a delightful Food Club brunch, replete with banana-pecan pancakes, eggs scrambled with fresh basil and cheese and cherry tomatoes, and fruity tropical juice drinks. And my 'last act' on those dishes was preparing dinner for Marian (just back from furlough) and Ginger (owner of Bert Douglas the cat), both fascinating people who've been in Cameroon for many years.

Now I'm living in my friend Christy's apartment, just downstairs from the place I left, subletting from her while she's away for seven weeks. (We were both thrilled to discover that her absence matched up almost perfectly with the remainder of my stay!) She'll be back a few days before I leave. Anyway, her place is identical to Karen's in most ways, but laid out the opposite way, a mirror image of the old place. A key difference: as you can see, the mosquito net over the bed is blue!

After several days of cleaning and organizing, I'm feeling quite at home here, ready to invite others in. I've already had my friend Rebecca over for breakfast...

...And Beth came down to make cookies one night! Notice that she's armed with a hammer, which may not be a traditional baking tool, but for us it comes in very handy for breaking the Mambo bars into chocolate 'chips.' Beth did the hammering for this batch, and a fine job she did.

We were using the same recipe Chris used, and it was Beth's first time attempting chocolate chip cookies. They turned out great! As of this writing, I still have a couple left, but not for long.

A few mornings ago, the sound of chopping woke me up. Here's the sight that greeted me when I peered out the back window. Clearly this guy had been working hard.

Yesterday, the lovely Ann brought me some fragrant white roses from her yard. I had to take a picture because she's completely color-coordinated, from her clothing to the flowers right down to the oven mitt protecting her hand from the thorns. Yes, all is well in the new apartment.

Another important milestone duly observed was one full year in Cameroon. Chris and I first arrived here the evening of October 11th, 2007...amazing how much learning and transformation can happen in the course of a year. My friend Annelies is also celebrating her one-year 'Camiversary' this month, so we went out for dinner with friends to celebrate.

So yes, this October I've vacated one apartment, moved into another, and celebrated one year in Cameroon. But more wondrous still is the fact that as of this month, Chris and I have been part of each other's lives for six years! Yes, we met in October 2002, when I was fresh out of MVS and he was still fairly new in town, first over conversation and drinks at my Senegalese bar, then through innumerable other adventures, the extraordinary and the everyday. Nearly three years ago we embarked on the adventure of our marriage, and this year in Africa has been yet another remarkable experience. This picture of us was taken a couple years after we met, at a drag show benefit for my former place of employment. Can't wait to be sitting next to him again, with or without the red feather boa, and looking forward to whatever adventures the future may bring!

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