Category Archives: I have two girls

Trooper is 14

Trooper is 14 today. I can’t quite believe that I have a 14 year old nor that so much time has passed. Time stretches over us like gauze wrapped too finely, sometimes we sense it might break as we wrap ourselves further and further back and forward in time. But it never does; moving forward I wrap myself in memories to keep reliving those days gone past.

I went into labour in the middle of the night (why do babies always want to come when we are asleep?) on a spring May 26th in Winnipeg. 26 hours later she was born right on time, due date baby and she has been either early or prompt ever since. This girl is continuously in a hurry, to get started, to get done, to walk, to live, to do it all Now and not a minute too late. She sucks the juice out of life.

A new chapter is about to start in her young life as she moves to live in her 4th country. And she is still fresh, half baked, and not yet ready to settle for anything less than her dreams dictate.

A young woman poised to take off and I give her the wings and hope the parachute of lessons I have wrapped around her shoulders will open and carry her all the way to safer ground.

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From one Kingdom to another: A tale of Princesses and looking for a wedding in the desert.

When they said over 2 billion people worldwide watched the Royal Wedding they were probably right. In any case 4 of those people were in Bahrain and the hunt to find a place to see the big event was a little stressful. Handsome Husband has a very inferior cable service at present, one that shows horror movies, Arabic music videos and a lot of sport. I feared they would not broadcast the Nuptials and even if they did I could not fathom watching then with an Arabic voice over. I am the only Brit in my family and like many I can remember clearly sitting cross-legged on my Granny’s floor watching Charles and Di tie their knot 30 years ago. I like a bot of pomp and ceremony and no one does it like the British.

We have been living under a proverbial rock here in Kampala with no TV, no newspapers nor magazines and my daughters hardly knew what the wedding was let alone who was getting married, why there was a fuss and who cared. When Trooper pointed to the lady in yellow, once we found a place to watch, and asked “so if she is the Queen does that mean she is William’s grandmother?”, I knew they needed an education.

My sister was attending a large garden party, had even painted her nails pillar box red for the occasion and meanwhile we were in danger of missing the whole thing so I decided to make some calls. Some of the hotels and fancy restaurants were offering a viewing with brunch but at a cost of nearly $100 for 4 we decided to look elsewhere. The British Embassy were diverting all calls to an emergency only number, and while I thought this was an emergency, they might not. Then I called The British Club. Yes they were having an event, a party even and no we could not go. Why ever not? Well we are not members and should we wish to enter we would need to come with a member who could “vouch for our behaviour.” I am not joking. And this after I told them that we were prospective members. Perhaps not now.

Then I called a club called The Dilman. Yes we were welcome to come in and watch, and it would only cost us a day visitors’ fee of $45 for the family. Steep but we were running out of options and the wedding was two hours off.  So we decided to go  and after getting hopelessly lost on the way there, hitting desert at one point and finally asking some police men at a road block, we found it.

You may think me a snob if I describe the clientele, so I won’t. Suffice to say that these were not Brits I had ever met in England. These were the ones who were chargrilled red from too many beers pool side, were overly thrilled to be out of Slough and into Bahrain, were stuffing their faces with fat cakes from the buffet table and let their kids drop food all over the floor. Have I painted a picture? Anyway we saw the wedding, it was sort of surreal to watch it in a large circa 1971 cafeteria on a tiny island in the Gulf with the residents of Eastenders, but watch it we did. And it was fabulous. Really it was. Perfick.

Now Trooper and Princess know all about Princesses and Princes and Balcony kisses and golden carriages. They had visited Westminster Abbey just this past summer and Buckingham Palace and they recognized both. They were most impressed by the tiny bridesmaid and the amazing choir. But they both came to the conclusion that they wouldn’t like to be a princess, one bit. Too many cameras, too many chances for things to go very wrong, too much stress.

But they have started to think about weddings.

My Princess is absolutely going for the horse drawn carriage.

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You Rule

Good morning and welcome to the Birthday Post. Every year I write on my birthday. I started this blog when I was 39 and went through all the agonies, fear and ultimate satisfaction of turning 40 on these pages. Today I am 42 and that looks a lot older when you see it up there on the screen than it really feels.

Despite Handsome Husband being so far away I am still being made to feel special on this birthday by the lovely Trooper and Princess who laid a trail of mini happy birthday cards leading from my bed room to a balloon adorned dining room this morning. There I was presented with a gorgeous present that I had picked out myself and presented to them for wrapping; it is a butter soft brown leather clutch bag with African beading design, and handmade cards. I was also shown the Chocolate Cheese cake that we are going to eat later. It was made by them while I was out last night and they are thrilled to bits with their inventiveness and prowess about the kitchen.

So I am a lucky girl, and birthdays are meant to be celebrated no matter the number. I am the Fairy Godmother of Birthdays, according to my friends, they cannot go by unnoticed.

In other news we celebrated Athletics this week at school and it was a most excellent display of school spirit and athletic ability. Lots of running, leaping, throwing and jumping. I managed to get out of the Teacher’s Race, not having enjoyed the mirth that followed my slow sprint around the track last year. I found some PE dept volunteers who were more than happy to give us a fair chance of winning. This photo sums up the day. I like both the message and the medium.

Yes: You Rule and it is so much better said with a Sharpie on a bare leg.

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Peeking at Pearls

Miss Princess has started a blog. Yes she has. And she asked me very politely if I may mention it to you. I said I would, and I am, but only because it is really rather good and sweet. I hope she keeps it up since it is a very good idea and a great discipline that will keep her “Friends” DVD consumption at bay. I feel she will attend to it regularly as it is about her most favourite obsession: fashion and design.

So check it out. You won’t be sorry.

Peeking at Pearls .

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When a girl has a birthday…

The Festival of Turning 11 has passed with success and some pomp. There were presents, flowers, pink icing, happy girls, movies, giggles by the pool and  the happy flurry of girls taking over the house. In a nutshell here are the scenes from this past weekend:

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11 years later.

 

Princess is 11 today. There will be a festival of sorts, cupcakes at school, dinner with friends, a Saturday night party, more cake. She deserves it; after all she is my sunshine girl.

Princess is so much more than her name. Camper extraordinaire, friend to all, t-shirt designer, Sartorialist obsessed, champion shower singer; her room is a blaze of pink and softness, her wardrobe a cornucopia of colour, hair bands and scents. She will curl up and read beside me for hours or stand in the kitchen chopping onions and stirring warmed chocolate, preparing a feast of some sort.

She cried for the first year and a half of her life. While the rest of the world settled into the comfort of knowing the new millennium would not strip us of water, power or the internet, in short the world would not stop, ( do you remember that crazy worry? the stockpiling of water and tins of chick peas? What was that?) Princess was crying, screaming even most days, cross with something that none of us could figure out. As soon as she could speak and express her discomfort when things were not specific enough for her, she stopped crying and started smiling and talking. She has not stopped since.

The first three weeks here in Kampala, back in August 2009 when we leapt over two continents to move here she was not happy. In fact she was terrified, devastated and turned inside out with misery. She wanted to leave and she wanted to go NOW. It was the first time since those early years that we had seen her so miserable and we worried that she might not overcome the discomfort of being here; the cockroaches in the “palace” the abject poverty, the dirt, the chaos. Princess likes everything “just so” and Kampala at first was anything but.

Now she often thanks us for her life, exclaiming that she is so happy, she loves the adventure of her life, the opportunity to see and feel and do so much more than her friends in the first world. I love her grateful manner and her positivity that shines through each day.

I am thinking of 11 years ago. Sharp blue skies, bone chilling wind, a late January Montreal day. As I held my little blanket wrapped parcel of love and looked out of the window of the Queen Vic, across the sheer white fields of McGill I could never have fathomed how life would change so much. Here I am 11 years later, marking the passage of time with a curly girl in my arms and I am amazed.

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5 Beautiful Things. Much needed.

 

 

Some days you just need to be reminded of the beautiful things.

 

So on a day that has delivered some bad news, proved more frustrating than most and not shone as it should have I am looking for the beauty.

 

5 Beautiful things.

 

Princess is taking voice lessons. Last night she sang for us, warm, melodious, full of promise.

 

Queen of the night, a pungent, sweet, sexy scent that fills the air once the sun goes down. We planted it, it has wrapped itself around a tree and now sings for us every night with the strength of its scent.

 

Trooper just finished To Kill a Mockingbird. The wonder of the book is written all over her face. She is struck by the magic of a phenomenal book.

 

A new bed. Big, white, high, I sit upon it like a queen upon a plump marshmallow.

 

If you open your eyes you might see this.

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