Monday, June 9, 2014

“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” ― Marcel Proust

It is so good to be at home with Karen in it.  It just didn’t feel right without her here.  While she was gone, we made a few changes so that she would be even happier when she came back.  We took all the shutters off the windows, removed the big tarps we had to unroll and tie down when the rains came and replaced both with modern, aluminum framed sliding glass windows tinted to reduce the heat.  We have almost ten times the light in the house now, the outside looks much cleaner, and Karen loves the more open and breezier look and feel of the house now.  We had to double-tint some of the windows that got direct rising or setting sun, but now we don’t ever have to close a window because of bright sunlight or be in the dark behind closed shutters and tarps in the rain.  The windows have rain channels and can handle even the most torrential rain.  Our refrigerator needed replacing and we replaced it with one the size of most American refrigerators with a side-by-side freezer.  The new fridge makes beeping noises if you leave either door open too long—sounds like a truck backing up in our kitchen.  Another little change was moving from a five-year-old, four-inch, foam mattress to a ten-inch, firm, foam mattress that Karen loves (which is the most important thing).  And to top it all off, when we drove through the gate on Friday, all the staff and the students came to greet us singing, dressed to the nines, waving branches, with all the bushes covered with kangas and much laughing and hugging.  Karen was in tears.  Sadly, we have no pictures because we were too overwhelmed.  This was something that John had cooked up and it surprised me and Shaban as well.  We have never felt so welcome or so glad to be welcomed back.  I have been watching the sun rise over the Serengeti for years but it was a lonely sight for the last six weeks.  Now, knowing that Karen is sleeping in the next room, it is a lovely sight once more.  Once, when we had only been here in this house for a few weeks, Karen rushed from room to room shouting, “It’s Africa out of every window!”  So it is and now she can see it all the time.  She brought back stuff for her school and many ideas for new projects, so there will be little “down” time.  She is already making plans to build a studio where the old, small kitchen is now.  The weather may not change much, but it is never boring here—at least not when my honey is home.
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