Tag Archives: husband

Same house, different Kampala.

Handsome husband has been living in a very different Uganda than I. His entire experience has been marked by plenty of interactions with local working people, and he has a sense of what the real Uganda is all about.  His skills with the art of chat have helped.

He is a big talker and has a tendency to know all about those people that few ever really talk to. He knows the story of the Rwandan girl who serves coffee in our favorite coffee shop, he chats to the Boda Boda men, the taxi drivers, the bag packers at the grocery store, and the cleaning lady next door. He talks to everyone. He has always been known to step out of a taxi. any where, in any city, and know more about that taxi driver than you or I would ever even want to know. It is somewhat of a family joke. Now, his propensity to chat has found an ideal outlet as he hangs out in the markets and rides Bodas all in the name of business. He is meeting people who live day in and day out in that market where women peel matoke and fold samosas. This is a place where young babies are tied to their mother’s back or sit on a box while she sells vegetables to make a meagre pittance.  This hard market life  is their reality; seven days a week they will sit on their stoop, in the mud, the rain, the sun.  When my Mzungu white husband turns up to stand amidst this scene, I can’t imagine how they perceive him.

I on the other hand, spend my days at school mixing either with the Ugandan elite or a fine selection of expat children. The teachers might be adventurous Aussies or Brits or very educated Ugandan’s. The local teachers eat Matoke for lunch and us expat folk microwave our sun dried tomato pasta. Two worlds, but not the same disparity as a French Canadian in the Market.

My frustrations about living here do not even register with handsome husband. Power cuts? Well, they are a lesson not to take power for granted and an opportunity to step outside our comfort zone. Incompetence in the pizza delivery service? An annoyance but one that can be dealt with, all part of the bigger picture. Only recently when stuck in a traffic jam where his car remained in park for 15 minutes with out moving, did the veneer of patience begin to crack.  In fact, I think that much of what irritates me here actually inspires him. I have been begging him to write a guest post with his perspective but he says he is too busy. Maybe he will come around.

His interactions with the Ugandans have coloured his opinion and experience of living here while my narrow world of school and home have coloured mine. Despite living in the same house we are living in two very different places.

I think he has found answers to questions that he may not even know he’s been asking. He is very comfortable here and feels settled. The essence of life here that is raw, base and distilled to the fundamentals of survival, appeals to him. Life expectancy here is 53 years but to him this is not a tragedy, after all we, in the Great Shiny West, live a life far longer than our bodies are intended for. In fact, we prolong life beyond what it should be until we have demented and shuffling people drooling in old age homes. He can see beauty and maybe even charm in the simple yet poverty stricken life, but I only see tragedy. Yes, life here is sad and hard but more than anything it is real.

The different tints we wear over our eyes, also called perspective, are powerful in determining our experience in any occasion. I wish I could borrow his glasses for a day.


Filed under Being brave, Family Stuff, Kampala

MR. Mom and the dog ear cleaner

It is not a common occurrence that a mother leaves the roost in the capable hands of the father for 10 days, but I did just that. I have been home a week now and I have observed some small but significant changes.
First, they managed so splendidly without me that I have been made aware that I am no longer indispensable. My role, while of course still crucial, has shifted somewhat. For example, the only thing that went even slightly wrong in my absence is that during the transfer from one lemon car to another, a lovely beach chair was lost. This had nothing to do with parenting and everything to do with the tendency that handsome husband has to lose something every few months.
Second, MR. Mom has moved in. When my daughter needs ear drops, it is MR. Mom to the rescue. When a yummy Saturday lunch is wanted, once again it is MR. Mom to the rescue. When I arrived back from the London cold, coughing and spluttering it was MR. Mom who handed me a fizzy vitamin C drink every morning.
Third, MR. Mom has learnt a very important fact. Not only did he realize that he can survive so well without me, but that he can actually do it better! A Delicious meal incorporating ALL 5 food groups? Ask MR. Mom. Valentines Day pancakes with maple syrup? Ask MR. Mom. Chocolates for the valentine’s daughters? Ask MR. Mom. 

I think tonight he is making Risotto. Luckily, the fact that I have no Penis prevents me from feeling emasculated.
When asked what exactly my purpose was, now that finer dining, Band-Aids, nail cutting and reading with young ones has been taken over, I was handed Dog Ear Cleaning and Giver of Kisses.
Kiss, Kiss.

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Filed under Family Stuff, Might be funny

17 years


17 years ago today my handsome husband and I moved our facebook status from “single” to “in a relationship”. Woops. That doesn’t work; there was no facebook back then. In fact I can’t believe it has been 17 years considering I don’t feel much older than 22.  How did 17 years pass by so quickly? Although, if you think about it, an awful lot has happened in the last 17 years, but thinking about that too much makes me feel old. Now when two people who love each other want to make it official, they just click a few keys and Facebook announces it to the world; back then, in the dinosaur years I think we just sent an email letter home and told everyone about this great guy/girl we met and wow! Actually if my 22 year old daughter wrote me an letter email telling me all about this guy she met on a beach in Egypt I would probably gulp, try hard not to panic and remember that I did exactly the same thing.

We did meet on a beach in Egypt, Dahab, in fact, back in the days when there were no hotels in Dahab and it was still a Bedouin village where travelers and hippies congregated for a few weeks days facing the red sea, climbing Mt Sinai, playing tons of backgammon and enjoying the local herbs pita. I was travelling with my close friend from university, Charis, and we had started our round the world trip in Cairo. In fact, to begin at the beginning the person who is truly responsible for this adventure was a great travel agent at STA. When posed with the proposed itinerary of Israel, India and the USA she suggested (thank God!) that it would be far cheaper to fly to Cairo, overland it to Israel and then fly on from Cairo to Bombay. We hadn’t even considered a trip to Egypt in our plans but jumped at the chance to add another country to our post university, pre responsibility round the world trip.

Once in Cairo, where we arrived on January 16th 1992, we met two very handsome guys biking around Egypt. Regaled with tails of sleeping in desert tents and escaping from packs of hyenas, we followed this Swedish and Scottish pair all over Cairo. With promises to meet them in Dahab we left Cairo after one week and headed to a very cold and expensive Jerusalem. In fact, Israel, however wonderful it was, proved too cold and costly for us and we headed to Dahab anxiously awaiting the arrival of our two intrepid cyclists. As often happens when travelers meet and make grand plans, they didn’t turn up but Francois did. We met at sunset on some worn and shabby sofas overlooking the red sea. The sea was pink, the sky was pink, the sand was pink; it was all very rosy. 



We met on January 31st and two days later on 2,2,’92 we climbed Mt. Sinai.  A group of us decided to climb up, sleep the night there (although there was barely in sleeping accomplished in the freezing stone hut) and wake to see the sun rise from the top of Moses’ mountain. It was beautiful beyond words.  At that time, we were simply friends; in fact it was my friend, Charis who had her eye on him. I was busy being determined NOT to fall in love on this trip. However by the time we reached Aswan on February 13th love was all I had in my mind.

We had delayed our departure for India until the 22nd of February so that the three of us could sail the Nile in a Faluka, visit the Valley of the Kings and Queens, cycle to the Aswan Dam and generally explore Egypt together. It was an auspicious and remarkable start to our relationship. When it was time to bid farewell (Charis and I went to India and he was going to Europe)  we were windblown, sun kissed and cupid shot to the extreme.

We would not see each other until May 2nd when he drove down from Montreal to meet me for a few days in Cape Cod. Then it was another separation until September when we moved to France together. In our 4 months apart, while I was in London and he was in Montreal, trans-Atlantic phone calls were extortionate and there was no email, facebook, twitter, blogging or texting to keep us connected. Unfortunately he was not handy with a stamp but we managed with our weekly Friday phone calls to keep the fires burning. 

 17 years later I am thinking back to that night in Aswan, a full moon throwing her light into the room, our first kiss, the beginning of an incredible life together that has taken us from Egypt to France to Montreal to Winnipeg back to Montreal to Trinidad and now looking towards Uganda. It is a story that surely gave my parents some sleepless nights.

“What! You met some French Canadian guy on HOLIDAY and you are moving where with him??”

Yet it is a story that lives in us and in our two daughters and one that echoes with every step that we take.






Filed under Family Stuff, How old am I?, personal, Travel

Epiphany on a beach

There are a lot of things I have trouble accepting. There are a lot of reasons that I sometimes get angry. It is called baggage everyone has it, some more some less; basically you can either carry it and complain or leave it behind.


I have gripes. I live in the sun and love my job but I have my own things I need to make peace with .


1.I will never have loads of money. My financial projections were all wrong. Now I am trying to make that okay in my head. I have a theory that richer people have more heart disease because they are stressed from all that hard work and worry about getting the latest bag and keeping track of all the cash. I, on the other hand just need a bit more money and I’ll have a healthy heart.

2.I will never have very long thin shapely legs,with gorgeous calves and delicate ankles. Not much to be happy about there. Not sure I can love my body but can probably learn to like it, a bit.

3. Elements of my childhood that I have to shrug off. Like a fluffy dandelian I just need to count and blow. Or turn it into fluff.

4.I have certain tendencies to be bossy and controlling towards the gentle and handsome man I live with. I need to accept him exactly the way he is. It is interesting that a lot of strong and bossy women try to change aspects of their husbands, some even to the point of divorce. Eventually, and for most women this is after the kids leave home, she has a choice. Stay or go. (Sometimes the husband shocks her by being the one to turn round and leave). Wouldn’t it be great to start accepting the husband earlier and just enjoy the ride?


So there it is. Money/Body/Man.


The point I am trying to make is really a question. Does acceptance come with age? (Not for everyone, mind you, some stay poor fat and bitchy), but there are those who make peace with it all and are much happier.


So this is my big epiphany: 


Happiness simply comes from not being mad anymore.

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Filed under observations, personal

On a Thursday?

So there I was on the beach and I was alone with my husband, it was sunny, the place was empty, the light was gorgeous and it was a THURSDAY! 


When I got home from school at 2pm I had flumped on the sofa and said “I’m bored” . I didn’t want to face another afternoon of homework, a nap, some tv and then dinner. “I wish we could DO something” I whined.


The handsome man I live with who luckily is not at work these days suggested we go to the beach. I knew this would not go down well the girls.  As I suspected, they stomped and got cross and complained and suffered and pulled faces so I said “FINE!” I got a baby sitter, slipped jiggled into my bikini and off we went. Within 40 minutes I had a green sands in my hand, sand on my toes and my face in the sun. There was even a gentle breeze just to make it more perfect. After talking like uninterrupted grown ups we went for a swim then came out and had ANOTHER green sands (wow, ginger beer!) the drive home involved sandy bare feet on dashboard, wind in hair, a great view, golden dappling light and some very cool French tunes. 


Why is this the first time I have done this?


Some people have date night, with a meal and maybe a movie. I am going to initiate Thursday afternoon dates. It’ll totally be worth the 20 in baby sitter $$$$.


And coming home all sandy in the middle of the week is really a slice of heaven.


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Filed under Trinidad & Tobago