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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Stop and Smell the Roses

Earlier this week, I took the kids to the swimming pool for Jeremy's swimming lesson. While we were waiting for his teacher to come to the pool, the kids were playing in the water. They were actually getting along!!! I couldn't believe it...I didn't hear, "Mine, Mine, Mine!!!!" or "Me, Me , Me".....they were just two children acting civilized in the pool. I even managed to get a picture of the two of them together.:) Then, in a split second...the peace was over...Jeremy had taken Elizabeth's bucket and that was it...she was crying her famous war cry," Mine, Mine Mine!!!!!!!" Thank godness Jeremy's teacher showed up.:) Which is a good thing because my blood was really starting to boil over breaking up the 50th fight of the day between the two of them. Then, later on when we got upstairs, I made sure they changed into their dry clothes and started to put dinner on the table. When I came to my place....I saw a small pile of flowers at my place at the table, at Guy's place and Elizabeth's place. I looked at Jeremy who was hoping I would see them. He told me he picked them from the bushes on the way back from the pool.( I didn't even see him do that.) He said," I thought you would like the flowers, like flowers, right??" At that moment I realized that God makes children irresistably cute to make up for all the times they are fighting. I guess we all need to remember to stop and smell the roses.:)

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Bus Duty

This week I was the "bus mom". On our compound , at least one week a year each of the moms who live here, has the task of rounding up little ones, letting them know that the other one is okay to sit next to. Also, making sure the older ones aren't sitting too close! ha ha There are three runs in the morning and three runs in the afternoon. The first one leaves at 6:50 a.m. then back again for a 7 a.m. run and finally back to the compound again for the 7:15 a.m. run. Then, there is a 2:20 p.m. run, a 3:15 run, and a 3:45 run in the afternoon. Add another run each day to take Jeremy to school since there is not a bus for pre-k since they start later than the rest of the school, and I made a total of 65 trips back and forth from the school to the compound. Needless to say, I really don't anticipate with very much joy riding on a bus anytime very soon!:) I wasn't feeling the best this week either, so I wasn't on here very much. It was all I could do to get to bed by 9 so I could wake up at 5:45 to get ready so I could be on the bus by 6:45.:) But, as I was riding the bus this week, I couldn't help but think about how different this bus experience is from being a mom riding a bus in the U.S. I decided to make a top ten list of how you know you are a bus mom in here goes...

10) When you are riding the bus, there are more bumps in the road than kids on the actual bus

9) You have your driver driving a "chase vehicle" for security

8) A guard is always looking through a peephole in the gate before letting the bus on the school compound.

7) You can hear Yoruba talk shows over the bus radio

6) The kids on the bus are talking about their favorite vacations ( Dubai, Switzerland, etc.)

5) You see razor wire on top of all the compounds as you are riding in the bus

4) You see a 12 year old riding an okada with no helmet

3) Some of the kids on the bus couldn't go on a field trip to Senegal because of a problem with visas

2) You see women carrying bread on their head

1) Teenagers say they can't do something with friends on a certain night because they don't have a driver
So, there you have it...that about sums my week up. I hope you all had a great week! :)

Monday, April 19, 2010

Little Ears

On Saturday, Guy drove us to the school in the afternoon for a school sponsored Bingo game. It rained all night on Friday night, so the roads were pretty covered in water. The dranage is terrible so all the roads look like tiny ponds. On our way back home, we drove through a pretty deep part of water on the street near our compound. As we drove through the water, I saw a police officer on an okada on the side of the road. The wake of the water we were driving through splashed him all the way up to his shoulders. I saw the look on his face and I could tell he was angry. I said to Guy, "Keep driving...that guy is really pissed off!" After about 5 seconds Jeremy said, "Why is that man pissed off?" Oops...I need to remember about the little ears which are listening to everything I say.:)

Friday, April 16, 2010

Returning Home

We came back home on Tuesday night. It was definitely an experience to travel to Italy with children this time. When Guy and I went by ourselves ten years ago, it was fun for the two of us. It was so wonderful that we could go back again, and this time, with our kids.:)
Every time I return to Nigeria, it is difficult. I think it is difficult because I feel like I am leaving a life that I am familiar with ( stores that are stocked, relatively easy to get around) and come back to chaos. But I always remember that among all of this chaos, I am learning new things all the time. And without the chaos, I wouldn't appreciate the places I get to visit as much as I do now.:)

Our Last Day in Italy

Today we went to Saint Peter's Basilica. We had to stand in line outside for about 45 minutes to wait in line for security to get in. The kids did amazingly well...Elizabeth only had to go to timeout once....we can always tell her that she actually stood in timeout in Saint Peter's square.:) I have to say that Saint Peter's is my favorite place to go in Rome. I can't get over the feeling that i will never be so close to such a powerful saint in my life. Saint Peter is buried there and that is such an awesome feeling to know that this basilica is built on top of his remains. When guy and I were there about 10 years ago, Pope John Paul II was still the pope. This time, we saw his tomb in the crypt. We saw Michelangelo's Pieta . Jeremy asked me ," Why does that lady look so sad?" I said that is Mary, and she was sad because Jesus died. Jeremy said, "But, he came back to life and it was a miracle!" It was so neat that he is putting these things together and they are making sense to him.:) After the basilica, we took the kids to lunch and then, nap. That night we visited the Spanish steps and then the Trevi fountain so we could throw our coins in to insure that we will return again.:)

The Colloseum and the Forums

On Sunday, we visited the Colosseum. it is amazing to me how old this structure is and how it is still partially standing. When I think about everything that took place in this gives me the chills. We took the metro to the Colosseum and also saw the forums from the Colosseum. the kids could really only handle one thing a day so we left the Colloseum and took them to lunch at Mc Donald's ...of course. It was a welcome diversion from the pasta and pizza that they had been eating everyday.:) That night, we met my cousin for dinner at a real Italian ( no tourists) pizzeria. She has lived in Rome for several years. It was really interesting to be in the restaurant with so many other Italian families having Sunday dinner together just like us. I have to say I love Italian restaurants because they don't care if the kids get really loud!!!:) ha ha

On to Rome

On Saturday, we packed everything up from our week long stay at the villa. We said good bye to Siena drove to Rome. We stopped off near Civita, a small Tuscan hill town that is only accessible by a steep foot bridge. There are actually only 14 full time residents still living there. We ate lunch at a restaurant that overlooked the own itself,and then, headed to Rome.:) Guy did a great job driving us to Rome. He dropped us off at our hotel and then took the rental car back to the airport. Mom and Dad met us at our hotel and we had dinner nearby.:)


On Friday, Guy and Jeremy decided to have a day together doing Guy Elizabeth, my mom and me took my dad with us for a girl day.:) We walked around the small streets of Siena and had lunch at Il Campo square. We ate gelato and went to the Civic museum. It is so overwhelming to me to see so much beautiful art all in one place and it seems like everywhere I go in Italy...there is so much beautiful art...even at the civic museum!:) We ended our day going to see the head of Catherine of parents had not seen it yet.....and it was just as surreal for them as it was for me. It was a nice way to spend our last day in Siena.:) Then, we ended the day by having a glass of wine outside our villa and going to dinner at a restaurant nearby to have an earl y birthday celebration for my mom's 57th birthday.:)

On to Volterra

On Thursday, we headed to another small town in Tuscany called Volterra. Volterra is a town on a very high mountain and in the looks like it is floating among the clouds below it. For you Twilight fans...some of the scenes from the movie " New Moon" were shot here. It is also known for its alabaster. We went to an alabaster workshop and got to see how some of the items are made...and of course we shopped for some alabaster. The drive there was also beautiful. So many vineyards and landscapes that looked like they were out of a picture book.:)

Day at the Market

On Wednesday, my parents and brother headed off to Florence and the kids, Guy and I decided to take an easy day and go back into Siena. On Wednesdays, there is an open Market in the town. We had fun looking at all the different things which were there. We did some shopping, had some pizza, and shopped some more. Then, we went into another church in Siena which is dedicated to Saint Catherine of Siena. In this particular church, the actual head of Catherine of Siena is housed in a glass case above the altar. I have to say, it is a very surreal experience to see a relic that old. Her head has been housed there since 1383!!!! It makes America seem like an infant!:)

Wine Anyone??

On Tuesday, we headed off to Montepulcino. This small hill town in Tuscany is known for its wine...and anyone who knows me knows I love my wine.:) I made a conscious decision to stay awake on the ride there so i could look at all of the beautiful scenery on the drive there. When we arrived, we went to a local cantina to taste some wine and we bought some ...of course.:) Very fun. We even saw they were filming a Brazilian soap opera in the main square....there is a story about that...but I will save it for when I can personally talk with all of you.:) After wine tasting, we ate at a small restaurant and had...yes, more wine and then pasta. Then, we walked and looked around inside the church near the square. Jeremy wanted to know why there were candles that were lit, and I told him people light candles when they say a prayer. Guy took him over to light a candle and told him to say a prayer, and Jeremy said," God, I want a flying toy, Amen." I guess we need to work on how to say a prayer.:) ha ha Later on, we walked around the town and did some shopping. It was fun to feel normal again and go in shops to look around without people following me around to haggle the price. It was a lovely day.:)