Wednesday, June 28, 2017

What's Up Wednesday: The Kenya Edition

I'm linking up for what will likely be my most unique What's Up Wednesday post ever. In case you're stopping by my blog for the first time, we're currently visiting friends in Kenya. They moved here three years ago and it was time for a visit. So welcome to the Kenya Edition of "What's Up Wednesday."

 
image from here

What we're eating this week... We're eating all sorts of lovely food. Our friend, Carla, is a really good cook. I've been enjoying the fresh mangoes and I really liked my first Kenyan Caramel Frappe, courtesy of Java House. Also, they sell Bitter Lemon here which reminds me of the year I lived in The Netherlands.

What I'm reminiscing about... Nothing! I am too busy taking in all of our new experiences. But I already know we'll be reminiscing about this trip for a long, long time :)

What I'm loving... I'm loving all the visiting time we are getting with Kurt and Carla. And I am loving watching Rachel and Ella and Sam and Aaron and Ben play together. It has been so amazing to just get to spend so much time together.

What we've been up to...Yesterday we did a hike in Hell's Gate National Park and it was incredible.
 

What I'm dreading... Leaving :( I will miss our friends so much.

What I'm working on... Relaxing. And reading All. The. Books. And trying to keep up with blogging about our trip. Ha! Below are most of the books I brought to read this vacation. Thus far, I've read two.

What I'm excited about... Roof riding! We got to ride on the roof of the truck in Hell's Gate and it was such a great vantage point to see all the animals. I can't wait to do it again!

What I'm watching/reading... Yesterday I was watching all the zebras! And the warthogs! And baboons. I even saw a giraffe, although we weren't close enough to get a picture.
What I'm listening to... We're staying in an amazing house with a metal roof and as the sun heats the roof up, it expands and sounds like it's raining. So I'm listening to "rain" on the roof, even though it's sunny. I'm also listening to all the kids playing together and I'm loving it.

What I'm wearing... A necklace Carla gave me. It's from Sudan and I love it!

What I'm doing this weekend... Ummm, we're going on safari to the Maasi Mara this weekend. You guys, I can't even believe I'm writing that sentence. I'm soooo looking forward to telling you all about it next week.

What I'm looking forward to next month... Once we get back to Canada, we're going to three baseball games in three weeks. Yeeeks! And I'm participating in the 24 in 48 readathon in a few weeks so you all know I'm excited about that. Yay!!!

What else is new... Everything! We're having such an amazing time, words can't even do it justice, although I'm trying. I know this trip will be one of our favourite memories for a very long time.

Bonus question: How do you celebrate the 4th of July?

Well, since I'm Canadian, I don't. I am a little sad that we are missing Canada's big 150th birthday celebration this Saturday but I have a feeling we'll have our own day to remember.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

I Could Get Used To This

The main reason we are in Kenya is to visit our dear friends who moved here three years ago. It has been so great to reconnect with them. Rachel loves and adores Ella, and the two of them are so sweet together. Ella made Rachel hot chocolate on Sunday morning which is the way to Rachel's heart. Ha!
We landed on Kurt and Carla's doorstep as they were moving so we all moved to their friends' house near Lake Naivasha. There was so much luggage some had to ride on top. Rachel was a little (a lot!) skeptical.
I grew up on a tree nursery so I have inherited the "must take pictures of nurseries and plants everywhere you go" gene. Dad, and any other nursery relative who is reading this, this is what a Kenyan nursery looks like. The plants are in plastic bags and set up on the side of the road. This was taken from the car as we headed to Naivasha.
And then we entered the Great Rift Valley which goes from Lebanon down through to Mozambique. It is pretty amazing.
What was also amazing were these views of Lake Naivasha (left) and Mount Longonot (right). The Thursday plan is to hike up Mount Longonot so wish us luck. Yikes.
As we were driving down the road to the house where we are staying, we saw our first zebra herd. Amazing.
Yesterday (Monday), we headed down to the river on the property where we are staying. We had to wait a bit before going in as we had to make sure there were no hippos around. And by "we" I mean "Kurt and Carla" because Dave and I don't know a thing about how to suss out the hippo situation. Ha!
Rachel and Sam had a blast, once Rachel was convinced of the fact that the water wouldn't go past her waist.
After being at the river for about an hour, we headed back, ate lunch, and then completely relaxed for the rest of the afternoon. The kids played...
...and played.
And I read a book (Seven Days in May by Kim Izzo) and drank a Coke on the back porch.
And it was glorious.

Monday, June 26, 2017

We Went To Kenya!

This past Thursday (June 22), we left for our family's most ambitious travel adventure to date. Rachel was really intrigued by these floating squares at the Toronto airport.
There was basically no gate to wait at in the part of the airport we were in. Instead everyone sat at these tables with iPads. Rachel played around and was ready to order an ice water (just by clicking random buttons). Sam ended up sitting at the bar watching a Blue Jays' game. Ha!

We had a short-ish (seven hour) flight to Frankfurt, Germany first. We all ate supper and tried to get some sleep. The kids were pretty hyper (and the plane was bright and loud) so we all only got about two and a half hours of sleep.
Dave enjoyed a Frankfurter (ha!), and the kids and I had hot chocolate and chocolate croissants. I was so proud of myself that I ordered in German :) Then Rachel played on an indoor playground and Sam and I explored the airport.
Sam also went to a castle and enjoyed Oktoberfest. Hahaha!

We found some really big planes.
Sam and Rachel cuddled in a car. Considering they had had so little sleep, they did awesome. We were in Germany from 6am - 11am German time. Then we boarded our flight to Nairobi. We all slept another couple of hours and landed in Nairobi at 8pm, local time. We got through customs, got our bags, found our driver, and the kids were totally energized for a ten minute walk to the car. We arrived at our friends' house and basically went straight to bed. We all slept for about ten hours straight and woke up ready to go.
Sam loves sitting in the back seat of our friends' truck. Rachel loves sitting without a booster seat! Ha!
Carla took us to the Mennonite Guest House. They have huge grounds with lots of fun things to do. Rachel immediately mastered the monkey bars. And then we tried swinging. Sam played frisbee with Aaron, Ella, and Ben.
Just swinging with Rachel. In Kenya.
The grounds were gorgeous so of course, I took some pictures, like this one of pineapple growing.
Rachel on another swing-y thing.
Then Ella and Rachel climbed a tree. Rachel has turned into a monkey since we got to Kenya.
Then we ate the most delicious wood fired pizza. Um, yummmmmm!!!
And to no one's surprise, I took some pictures of flowers.

It has been so fun to see all the kids playing together again. They picked up like it hadn't been three years since they'd seen each other.
That night Dave made tuna melts and it was just like home, except he was also drinking a Kenyan beer. Ha!

And that was our first day in Kenya. Day two coming soon...