The life and times… since my last post.

I have to apologize for having been away so long. Let me explain. My computer has been in a state of chronic disrepair and most weekends it decides to revolt whenever I even consider using it for longer than 30 minutes. I think it reads my mind like the kids in Village of the Damned, a horrible film that I watched on crappy cable television one day when my computer didn’t work. Anywho, there’s also this pesky recurring problem of work eating my real life, which makes late night blogging nearly impossible. At this point, my maid spends more hours in my house than I do and it’s sad. Last, I’ve been preparing to come back to the U.S. in full force. This means, I’ve etched out a travel itinerary and started telling friends to prepare for my imminent arrival. And, I’ve been working on my new pet project – clothing design – in full force. The hope is that when I come back to ‘Murica, I can shop it around, get some feedback, and be inspired for new wears. Aside from the former, I can say… all good things… but that’s no excuse not to write.

I had a friend and colleague in town from India for about 2 weeks. As the hubs and I say, “we fell in love in a hopeless place,” and she reminded us of every little detail. More so than anything else, she brought some much-needed familiarity and Indian cultural references back into our lives. So, we took her out to eat king prawns and she taught us how to make chole bhature at home – it took all of 30 minutes to make!  It went a little something like this:

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Shortly thereafter, I considered writing to you all about how awesome our Indo-African meal turned out, but then my computer revolted and I slipped into a food coma.

Over the weekend, I went to the Zouk festival in Maputo where I saw Kassav live and made it a point to dance like a fool to “zouk la se sel medikaman nou ni ,” because I didn’t know any of the other songs. Then I embarked on a series of South African travels, which landed me in Durban during the xenophobic riots (which I didn’t see at all) and Nelspruit just after the Mozambique – South Africa border re-opened. Let’s say, I was freaked out more by the reports than by anything else. I honestly didn’t see anything out of the ordinary in South Africa while I was there. Most of the violence took place in what seem to be townships and the protests against xenophobia seemed to be in the city center. I saw some of the latter, but it seemed peaceful and heavily policed. There certainly were lots of South Africans apologizing for the actions of the few. They kept asking if I was ok and saying things like “we’re not all like this” and “this gives South Africa a bad name.” I can imagine it’s how my fellow Black Americans feel now with the cop killings and the protests & riots thereafter. It’s a combo of ashamed and fed up, and not always at the people the media would make out to be ‘the bad guy.’ The parallels are abundant and the acts equally as senseless.

Back to South Africa – the people in Nelspruit depend on Mozambican clients to make their living, so they were all too happy to accommodate our needs. In fact, they wanted to show us that their town was safe and welcoming, so we could encourage more of our friends and family to return to the South African side (to spend some hard-earned Meticais). My primary need when traveling is food. So, this happened at Zest:


I eventually came back to Maputo with work pressures at an all time high and nothing but thoughts of vacation on the brain. But, you know, it sucks to always consider that you’re not fully happy where you are. I felt that I’d been running away from Maputo every single weekend just to make it to vacation in the U.S. in July. That’s no way to live. So, when the hubs decided he’d have friends over for a lunch, I went all in. When a Mozambican says they’re inviting people for “lunch,” and those people are under the age of 40 years old, assume that those people will arrive at your house around American supper time. If they happen to arrive earlier, they will likely start drinking beer and liming, but they will not consume food. So, by midnight this is what my house looked like:

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Do  you see that? That’s what fun looks like! There was even a selfie extender stick involved, which spells success as far as I am concerned. Shortly after this picture was taken, I walked my exhausted self up the stairs to my bedroom and went to sleep. Yes, I left these lovely young people in my house to play their drinking games and fill the space with laughter and good cheer. Their vibes, followed by my disappearing act, took some of the edge off of the week ahead.

This very week was filled with plans for seeing my mom and my niece in ‘Murica, as well as the possibility to help out family friends – one who recently divorced and another who recently graduated from college. So many changes, so many opportunities. Oh, and while cleaning out my closet, I found these:


If you don’t know what these are, you better ask somebody!

No, really, you should, because a simple google search won’t help very much. First, Frank T is a classic spanish rap artist. By classic, I mean horrendous. The title of this album was so bad that we had to buy it for fear that we’d miss out on this train wreck (“Los pajaros no pueden vivir en el agua porque no son peces” – seriously?!). My friend Kelly and I bought it in FNAC when we lived in Spain 15 years ago and every few years we send it back to one another to remind each other of our crazy times. I miss my girl from Oklahoma and as a sign of our never-ending friendship, she will get this crappy cd in the mail once again! Oh and to the left, what’s that? Again, I have no idea, but it was something free that I got at Guerlain 2 years ago when I bought a horribly overpriced lipstick that I’ve only worn once. Anyways, this golden flecked situation is called L’Or and I plan to use it sometime in the next month. I have no place classy to wear it and I don’t know how to use it properly. So, be prepared for a story as I make up my own excuse to wear expensive, probably useless, make-up that I haven’t used in 2 years. It’ll be fun!

Anyways, my work week ended with a networking lunch at Zambi’s that concluded with 3 spoons and this dessert:


In case you’re wondering that’s raspberry swirl, amarula ice cream, chocolate biscotti and a dark chocolate cake. Yup… pretty much a foodgasm on a plate and you should be jealous.

I ended the week with a sunset at a Maputo mainstay that I had not yet visited: the Naval Club.


Who knows what the next weeks will bring, aside from the Azgo festival and Bushfire in Swazi? Hope to write more soon and to have new adventures to share!

On fictitious kids…

As my birthday approaches I’ve found myself thinking more and more about youth. College kids look younger than I remember. High school kids look like they don’t care about anything at all. Elementary school kids look like they bite. Toddlers look cuter than I remember. Babies are still scary. And I just saw a 3D sonogram the other day – that is the coolest, grossest thing I’ve seen all year. Times are a-changing!

In sum, the world seems a scarier place than when my mom was my age and decided she was ready to have me. I’m thinking long and hard about who my future children will become, the world they will grow up in, who their peers will be, and who among you will be their mentors. And I wonder if, as an intelligent person and mindful individual, you ever feel comfortable bringing an innocent life into this world. There are the universal insecurities of parenting: the selfishness, the financial instability, the definitive reality that you’ll screw up your child somehow. There are the choices you must make that you can’t guarantee will turn out well: what color to paint the nursery, which school to send them to, what tactic of discipline will both allow you to control your child and to stay out of jail. Aside from these communally shared concerns, I’ll offer my own tailor-made top 5 child-rearing fears now, well before I’m confronted with the reality of having kids of my own to mess up or dump at your house at will.

1- No Newtown: Seriously, how do you avoid Raising Adam Lanza? I read Lionel Shriver’s “We Need to talk about Kevin” and I was ready to get my tubes tied. The lack of support some parents have to take care of their ‘special needs’ child is just sad. But when your child is a danger to others, where does parenting end and protecting the public begin? And how is it done? Successfully? I want to raise children that are neither victims, nor perpetrators of violence. It seems there is no money back guarantee on this one.

2- “I wish you have a daughter like you.” Signed, MOM: My mother has wished that ill omen on me since I was in elementary school, but frankly I don’t want a kid like me – or my brother. My brother and I are not alike in most things, but if I spawned a child like either one of us then that means that I will have to be on my toes every day for the rest of their lives. There will be no days off. They would either be a constant prankster who always needs hands-on parental oversight OR an aloof nerd whose quiet plotting means that they are perpetually homeless from the age of puberty onward. Actually, both types of kids sound equally sucky to parent. I sure wouldn’t want that job!

3- R. Kelly would be dead if Aaliyah were my child: Not all child rapists, molesters or predators are as well as known or as sleazy to the sight as R. Kelly. Most live amongst us as friends, family members, and trusted members of our community. Have you ever actually looked up the sex offender registry in your city? It’s frightening! What’s more frightening is that “One researcher stated that more than 70% of abusers are immediate family members or someone very close to the family.” I fully intend to cause bodily harm to anyone who dares to…. Whew! Just thinking about it makes me want to move below the Mason Dixon, so I can shoot someone with my legally owned and registered shotgun!

4- Let them eat cake?: My food restrictions being as they are, I am conscious of the fact that what I think is healthy for me is not the most conventional diet for a child. Sure, I can Vitamix their raw food smoothies, but kids need cow’s milk every once in a while. I probably bought a total of 4 gallons of cow’s milk in the last 2 years – 3.5 were used for baked goods for colleagues and the other .5 were consumed by any number of foreign visitors squatting in my guest room. I’ll have to reintroduce dairy, meat and rice to my fridge; adjust for the lack of calcium, iron and Vitamins B, C and D in my diet; and reduce my intake of tuna, coffee, dark chocolate, spiked cider, wine and processed foods (even if they are Trader Joe’s brand). Argh!

5- Keep the ole’ ticker ticking why dontcha!: In the last 5 years, both my grandfathers have passed away. So I’m concerned that I may not pop these babies out in a timely enough fashion such that they’ll have the benefit of knowing their great grandmothers. I had the benefit of growing up with the women who mothered my grandmothers and it’s really important to me that I give my children that possibility as well. I pray for my grandmothers’ health, not just for my unborn children’s sake – but I get the feeling that they’re not done teaching and I’m not done learning from them  just yet.