Monthly Archives: December 2010

The end of the year and the start of a long road trip

Two weekends ago I danced on a bar stool and didn’t fall off. It was fun, and rare and since it was  the closing night of what was a fabulous panto, had such a sense of celebration and relief about it. It was a dancing tonic; so much so that now it is my New Year’s Resolution to go out and dance a whole lot more. It is necessary to get out more, feel alive and grab a bar stool to dance upon now and again. I certainly don’t do that enough. So with thoughts of New Year’s resolutions it is time to wrap up 3limes for 2010 and take a short break. Of course it is always tempting to look back on the year in a sort of Top 100 moments flashback series but I won’t. The few highlights that spring to mind start with the extraordinary New year’s eve of last year, spent camping on the Delta in Murchison Falls. Then more trips spring to mind; Lamu, London, Amsterdam. I have been a lucky girl travel wise this year. On the home front the pictures that make me remember and smile tend to involve the girls. Princess on stage in the Sound of Music, both girls as mice in this years Pantomime, Trooper on the soccer field giving it all she has, Princess as Veruca Salt, singing her little heart out despite the fever she was fighting. They are good, happy, thriving,

 

We are heading out on a Road Trip Through Kenya in a few days; in my mind it will be the Road Trip to End All Road Trips. 17 people, 4 cars, 2400km, 5 stops. I will return with a survival tale and photos. I promise.

 

Until then it is time for 3limes to take a little holiday, freshen up and come back more inspired and ready to see things in a new light.

 

Happy Holidays to all.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under personal, Uganda

Charlie Brown revisited.

I don’t like to recycle old blog posts but this one is a must. It is the time of year when I am all teached out and like to show the class some appreciation for their hard work.  Last year I forgot about Charlie Brown but this year I remembered and loved it all over again.

There are a lot of truths in that little 25 minute movie.

I wrote about it back in Trinidad in December 2008.

Lessons from Mr. Charlie Brown

Perhaps mean grownups were once just mean children.

 

Why is it so hard? It should be so simple. The answer is this. Just be nice.  This works for everything. The smile at a colleague, the have a good day, the can I help you? The lending a student some money, the bringing a toy in for the toy drive, the throwing the best birthday party for your kids, the surprise dinner party, the little thoughtful acts that make the world go round. It does not include the crabby guy on the phone who doesn’t give a damn, the people who cut off the old people’s heating in the dead cold of winter, the nasty immigration officers who make you feel like you are doing them a favour coming into their country, the lazy rip off artists who run a scam, the lawyers who watch the bottom line and miss the humanity, the guys with guns that storm hotels, the police that hit teenagers, the fanatics that bomb houses of prayer, the parents who never talk to their kids, the teachers who put down kids and ruin a dream, the kids who write on walls and ruin a life.

Last night I watched a Charlie Brown Christmas. I had forgotten what a gem this cartoon was. First of all they feature the voices of real children rather than adults trying to sound like children. The writing cleverly reflects the real way that people speak, particularly children who are often painfully honest with each other. They have not yet installed the “filter” that enables them to edit out the brutally honest and often rude comments. It is a fact; if you want to know the truth about how you look in that dress, ask a child.

In the Charlie Brown Christmas the kids all are mean to Charlie Brown, berating him for never doing anything right. Of course they ultimately learn that it pays to be nice to one another. When his little tree becomes beautiful the children realize they were wrong yet there is no fast moral where Charlie “rubs it in.” They just begin to enjoy the true spirit of Christmas once they begin to sing together. Each character is charming in their own way because we can see ourselves in at least one of them.  Each one is eminently human.  They are not particularly kind to each other because they have not yet learned how important it is. We have our filters. We should know better. We are grown ups and it is a simple as just being kind. When we watch Lucy taunting Charlie Brown we cringe and laugh because we know it is wrong.

The original post with pictures  is here.

Leave a comment

Filed under Miss Teacher, observations

Christmas Spirit where are you?

I am trying to conjure up some Christmas Spirit and I have found that it is hard to do without chilly snowy weather and shops. Going to the mall, hearing the same looped Christmas music over and over again, standing in endless lines under bright lights choosing between red, silver or gold tinsel and seeing your pale reflection in the shiny orbs hung on huge mall trees might grate on the nerves but it does continually remind you that Christmas is here. In Trinidad, despite the warm weather we never forgot it was Christmas as the whole country gets into the swing of Parang music, Pastelles and shiny ornaments. The Trinis love their Christmas and have built a whole set of traditions and ritual around it. Here it is harder to find spirit. Yes, a few stores have thrown together some tinsel and cheap bright lights, a few plastic trees here and there and some loud piped music but it feels like it is done for the expats and not for themselves. Where I come from Christmas is predominantly materialistic but here materialism does not exist so the Christmassy feeling that generally creeps up on you mid December or in some frustrating years, not at all, is harder to come by here.

So we have poured the favourite Christmas music into the ipod and we sing in the car. The Christmas films are out and tonight we all cuddled up an watched How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

“ Maybe Christmas doesn’t come from the store

perhaps it is a whole lot more.”

A perfectly apt quote for Christmas in Uganda.  But I can feel the spirit sneaking up on me just a little bit. Tomorrow we begin the last week of school; reports are written , shopping lists are being compiled and menus set. Our dear friends are flying in Saturday night and we are all set for wonderful holiday together. It might not be the same as Christmas Over There…in the Great Shiny West, but it will have its own particular spirit created from a mix of music, movies, funny tree decorations, new traditions and friendship.

1 Comment

Filed under Family Stuff, Uganda

Faltering.

Handsome Husband seems to think that my blog is faltering. Faltering? Do you know what I have to do around here to get five minutes to tap furiously on the lap top in hopes of producing something somewhat entertaining or meaningful for my reader? Okay perhaps, I have taken my eyes of the target and been a little distracted. I am teaching the teens, surviving, living, going to the doctor, nursing sick princesses, co directing a pantomime and cooking for 19. I am planning for guests, reading the books, shopping the shops and walking the walk; so, faltering? Really? Am I not good anymore? Nor fun, not amusing? So I went and checked my stats. Not aways a fun idea because what we can learn from strangers who accidentally find me while hunting for Ugandan girls singing in the rain and killing chickens? Or the best one yet: Do Hippos Roar at the Moom? I mean how many of that number are real readers and not just people who stumbled by looking for Roaring Hippos and Trini Carnival?

But the truth is the number has gone down, the readers are running away!

So now to be perfectly honest I am having a bit of a wobbly. I am not entirely sure where I am going with this blogging thing. I am not sure how many grocery store mishaps, safari trips and Kampala stories I can write. I don’t want to winge nor complain but quite frankly often that is all I can do over here. It is not easy. But you don’t want to read about my homesickness, my longing for shiny shops and restaurants with clever handsome waiters.

Part of the problem is that I am not allowed to write about Camp Hormone anymore, well not in any detail and that is really what I do all day and I used to love writing about the teens. Not anymore.

So this is a small crisis. Not a big one, and certainly to be expected after 2 and a half years of writing 3limes.   Just feeling a bit lost and faltering, that’s all.

9 Comments

Filed under Being brave, pen and paper

Inching towards Christmas

Oh where have I been?

While the hills of Kampala were strewn with yellow clad runners in yesterday’s Kampala Marathon I was ticking things off my list and cooking dinner for 19 people. Yes 19. Nothing like confronting the fear of invites with one whole swoop of people. And it all went off fine. As the sun set, I lit candles, we all sat outside and admired the blooming garden, hammocks were swung and people chatted quietly as they munched on the best brownies in the world. Thanks Nigella.

Today Princess will step onto the stage and perform her rendition of Veruca Salt. There has been much apprehension and shower singing and now, when the glitter is glued on,  backdrop nailed, lines learnt and costumes sorted where is young Princess? In bed nursing a fever. This bad luck simply must pass and the show must go now, not just today but tomorrow and all week as the KADS Pantomime opens Wednesday night and both Princess and Trooper will be donning mice outfits and dancing to Cinderella’s Work Song. Trooper, who is 13 and much too old for this sort of thing is mortified and has threatened that if any photos of her replete in mice ears and tail appear on Facebook she shall report the photo for abuse.

In less than two weeks reports shall be written, books put away and shreds of party paraphernalia swept away as Term 1 comes to a close. Yes Camp Hormone closes for 3 weeks and the inmates are all sent home, as are we the teachers. I am awaiting Christmas Spirit but it has not yet made its entrance into The Villa. Without chilly climes and snow it is always hard to get the feeling. I might have to pull out the Christmas Music CD and rock around the tree. Once we pull it out of its box in the garage. Sacrilegious: fake trees. But what to do? A Ugandan Christmas it shall be. Round two.

1 Comment

Filed under I have two girls