Hey there. Hope you had a great Thanksgiving. All is well. I have been busy getting ready to move to Rwanda and saying farewell to so many people.
I am in pretty good shape, preparations wise. My mom gave me great quick dry towels and bug resistant clothing for early Christmas presents and my sister gave me tons of bug spray with 99% deet and lots of other supplies. (Tiny speakers, quick dry clothing, etc.) My super thoughtful nieces got me stuff to take and share with the kids (like frisbees, playing cards and school supplies.) Those kids are about 10Kx more thoughtful and considerate than I was at that age, or maybe even now. I am looking forward to them taking over (the planet).
If you, like many laggards, have not yet celebrated Christmas, here's a great gift idea if you know anyone who owns a pencil. (Thanks Kimberly Kay). http://www.amazon.com/How-Sharpen-Pencils-Theoretical-Contractors/dp/1612190405
(Some people on the interwebs don't like to expose links like this, but I sure do. Why not be transparent about it?)
I am trying hard to learn Kinyarwanda, the mother-tongue of the kids I'll be working with (though thank goodness when I teach professional skills, that will be in English). Kinyarwanda seems full of vowels and lots of the words sound very similar to me. This has already let to some fun mix ups where I count "seven-left-nine" and say "turn seven" and "how beef are you?" instead of "how old are you?" and my personal favorite "Pineapple to meet you."
how old are you?: ufite imyaka ingahe?
beef: inyama y' inka
it's nice to meet you: nishimiye kukubona
So, maybe you can see how I would mix up "Inanasi kukubona" for "Nishimiye kukubona" and have said "Pinapple to meet you". Or "Ufite inyama ingahe?" which I guess is something like "You meat how much?" instead of "~You years how many?" Ugh. Then again, maybe not.
I will probably get thrown out of the country for nonsense like this so don't worry about missing me while I am gone, because I will be back soon.
The planning to go away has given me a great excuse for a whirlwind farewell tour. Dorko and I went to Philly to see an Eagles game (against the Beefboys.) I had fun for the entire first half. Here's me and Brian Dawkins before the game:
Kate McLaughlin came to DC, which was super fun and we hiked a bit at Great Falls on the Virginia side. Here's me in a tiny cave and moments later, Kate in that same tiny cave:
Thanksgiving was jam packed with family this year. I swung by Louisville to see my Aunts, Uncles and many many cousins on my Mom's side and the Guptons drove to Louisville from Raleigh so I got to say farewell to everyone in the same place. On Thanksgiving Day we all went to Churchill Downs. It was a lot of fun to hang out with everyone at the racetrack. Look at these cute kids down on the rail:
This is Kate, my niece, with Lauren, Clare and Hayley (my cousin's kids).
As you can see it was a gorgeous day. Here's me and my sister Lynn looking stylish in our fasihonable sunglasses. Pretty much the cover for vogue or some such. Fancy:
This is a crazy coincidence, but on the final race that day, a horse named "Court's Journey" was in the field. Several Mint Julips coupled with enthusiasm for my big trip led many of my family members to wager on said horse. I was nervous about costing all my second cousins their college tuitions (you saw how cute they are) but there wasn't much I could do about it, and to my complete surprise, "Court's Journey" won the race. Here's the race results for the day if you think this story is just a bit too convenient (I know who you are.)
I am taking win that as a good omen, though I suspend and resume my superstitiousness several times a day for my own convenience.
I also had a chance to visit Allentown PA to see Amy & Simon. They are doing great. Even though they have the cutest dog in the history of time (sorry Phineas!), somehow I forgot to take any pictures of Trotsky. What a fool! We has a great time on a hike and saw a herd and half of deer, and also won some money on the slots at a casino. Amy is getting settled in as a professor at Muhlenberg College which seems like a well funded and peaceful place.
It was a brisk but sunny day for the end of the WAFC fall league and I had a lot of fun with Snack Pack, though we didn't play that well as a team. Here's all of us:
And here's me setting a not that effective mark, but I like the photo anyway:
how to play ultimate book he explains you are supposed to jump over on your toes on the mark, not lean and get all off balance as I do above.) Note the now all brown ponytail; the blonde is gone for my trip.
Somehow in all of that travelling around I've seen a few movies: Argo (with Simon & Amy), Lincoln here in DC and Wreck it Ralf (with 7 tiny, adorable girls). Argo was the best movie I've seen in ages, even with my general disdain for Ben Affleck. I think it should win the Oscar for best film. Lincoln was long, and historically accurate. Wreck it Ralf was pretty cute, though I generally expect a bit more from John C. Reilly and Sarah Silverman. I am always glad to see Qbert again in any context.
Some of you have asked me about the M23s in the DNC. Don't worry. I am not going to be anywhere near that and Rwanda is very stable and safe. It does seem that the Rwanda government is meddling in some stuff it should not be, which as an American makes me feel very much at home. Here's the best article on what they hey is going on anyway if you're looking for that intel:
And finally, as a very special non sequiter just for you, this is a horse on a beach made out of driftwood:
Don't doubt. Anything is possible. Even a horse on the beach made out of driftwood.