Celebrated our last night here with this family that has literally held us together for the last 7 weeks. They have helped us get settled, provided meals, driven us on errands, introduced us to friends, tagged along with us on outings (and included us in their own outings), been our photographers, printers, conversation partners, and encouragers.

We have celebrated 6 birthdays together between our families in the last 7 weeks and have seen each other through more transitional times in the lives of our families than is normal in such a short period of time. This family has challenged our idea about what it means to be a neighbor. We could not have made it without them. Thank you Homeyers.

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At Samurai sushi on Ggaba Rd. If you are ever in town, go there. You’ll be glad you did.

a walk in the park

We took a break from our adoption errands and stopped at the Sheraton hotel downtown to take a stroll through the park and let the kids blow off some steam. It was a beautiful place to walk around and it had plenty to keep the kids entertained, including giant (live) storks, a playground, and a large empty fountain perfect for climbing. Our driver and friend, Patrick, snapped some shots of our family (photos haven’t been the priority on this trip and we are having trouble getting very many with all of us in it). Here are a few of the best of the day:

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south african sips

Stumbled upon this wine cellar last week and had some fun learning about the different wines that come from South Africa, which apparently has a similar region to California’s Napa Valley that is great for producing wine. So far all the wine we have purchased and tasted has been very good and is very affordable! They do sell wine from other regions of the world here too, but since we can get those varietals at home I decided to stick to the South African wines. Haven’t been disappointed yet!

The Cellar, Ltd: plot 1202 Gaba Road Quality Hill Shopping Centre, Uganda, Kampala, (+256)414 269284

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the best view in kampala (beauty found amidst a difficult week)

Cassia Lodge- located atop a Kampala hill, overlooking Lake Victoria. The sign boasts it has the “best view in Kampala” and I can’t argue as it’s certainly the best I’ve seen so far (though I’m quite fond of the view from our bedroom and kitchen windows). We have enjoyed a few dinners here, celebrating the birthday of friends. These shots were from the most recent dinner, where we were lucky enough to watch the full moon rise over the lake while we ate.

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The table is always good news, but especially when it’s lit by the full moon and the distant city lights.

where we’ve been

So I mentioned we were going to have an adventure… man, did we ever. We journeyed out to Murchinson Falls National Park which is on the Nile river and set up camp at a lodge there for two nights. We explored the park by boat and by car and saw more beauty than our eyes and hearts could handle. Even the drive there (which was a long 6 hours in the car with 4 very little kids) was gorgeous- crops and trees, birds, baboons, bright colors, children playing, people walking, outdoor markets, schools, churches, rain and thunder, homes and huts… all of it, beautiful. Then there was our own adventure of roadside “bio breaks” and the never ending hunt for snacks to keep all the kids entertained and happy (we didn’t have enough time for a full on lunch stop, oops). 

Being away from the city was really good for me for a few days. It allowed me to be present and enjoy our suddenly larger family in a way I haven’t been able to yet, just because there was no paperwork, no appointments, no process to move forward; just our family and a beautiful country to enjoy. 

But being in such an environment with 4 small kids is no cake-walk, ha. It was a different kind of bliss; one of major diaper blowouts in the most inconvenient places (like on a boat on the Nile, in the restaurant at dinner,  and in a jeep on the savannah), one of any sort of schedule or routine thrown out the window, and one of no time to sit stationary in one place to enjoy the surroundings. I mused that most “normal”  people with 4 kids ages 2-6 years old (keep in mind our 2 year olds are more like 1 year olds right now) would not intentionally plan a trip to Africa for such outings with the whole family. That’s something you are supposed to do “when the kids are a little older.” But we are embracing crazy and there was no way we were missing the opportunity. I’m so glad. 

The kids loved it. Even the little ones appreciated all the animals going by and the different modes of transportation. Macy, Owen and Elias all got to have a turn riding with either Dave or I on the “jump seat” on the hood of the car through the game park, coming within a stone’s throw (their throw) of water buffalo, giraffes, and antelope. Elias, thrilled at first fell sound asleep after a few minutes. Owen, initially petrified (we might have had to force him into it), quickly decided it was “the best thing ever” and Macy, well, she just put up her hands in the air and loved every minute of it. Sophie and Tyra got turns too, but we let them ride on their own.

As if that weren’t enough, we met all kinds of beautiful people from all over the world who shared their stories with us, encouraged us, and, on occasion, entertained us. I tell you, too much beauty to describe well. 

Here are a few photos to fill in the gaps a bit (keep in mind my internet is slow and unreliable, otherwise I’d post more for you to enjoy). 

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Voyage up the Nile to Murchinson Falls (you should google image the falls… super pretty).

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On the hunt for some animals.

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Success.

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The “jump seat.” See Dave’s insta shot of the giraffe to see how close he got up there. And the water buffalo… the camera wasn’t out for that, but let’s just say, mom was scared. 

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 The twins with mom and dad on Lake Albert, overlooking the Rift Valley.

 

 

prunes (one of our favorite finds so far)

Any time we have to be in downtown Kampala we plan our trip around at least one visit to this little eatery called Prunes. With great outdoor seating, a yard with a swing set, slide and trampoline, a menu full of phenomenal selections, a juice bar, home made desserts, a warm and hospitable staff, and a really cute clothing shop in back, it’s hard to go wrong. There have been a few days when a stop here has served as a “reset” button for our family in the midst of long drives and appointments. Today, we were particularly thankful for the clothing store in back as Cora had a blow out upon arrival and needed some new threads. Owen has instructed me that this is where he wants his birthday cake from in 2 weeks. He has the flavor all picked out. 

Prunes is a place where both the kids and the adults are happy to visit and linger. It is located on Wampewo Rd and is close to the Ministry of Internal Affairs (where you go for Ugandan passports). 

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