Big girl time!
Last minute Sunday morning I decided I needed to flee the island. And Jason seconded the thought. I guess it was a build up of when J was gone, Ramadan, unending needs, and general weariness. I needed a break. Like the kind of break where you can wear pants and no head covering, eat Western foods, and NOT be "Mama Annikah" for just a day. I also knew Eid was coming and there was tons of visiting and an obscene amount of baking in my future and a day of down time before all that sounded too good to be true. We also needed to check in at the social welfare office and follow up on a letter that we never received. I invited Annikah to join me since she had no school and I thought it would be fun bonding time just for us to celebrate her birthday. She loves traveling and was all about a couple days of "big girl time" even if it meant riding the puke boat and waiting in an office all day.
We had a great time together and I remembered that Anni is amazingly fun to hang out with. Us girls lived it up! We rode tuk-tuks, chilled at playgrounds, shopped at a real grocery type store, ate out, painted toenails, and stayed up late telling tales, making faces, and giggling. I was super pumped about getting an iced mocha at a coffee shop there but their espresso machine was busted. But I was committed to reading my book while sipping some sugary caffeine goodness and I am a resourceful girl. In a stroke of genius or an act of desperation I found another restaurant that did have an espresso machine that was working and then brought my shot into the coffee shop and begged them to fix the iced mocha. Every employee in the joint was laughing at me but I simply explained that we Americans like our coffee. They all agreed, made me my drink, and I was one happy Mzungu.
Anni got a special free birthday meal at our fav South African chain restaurant and at the whole staff came and sung Happy Birthday to her. I watched my little 5 year old be shy and embarrassed but at the same time loving the attention (she is truly a mix of J and I) and I had tears in my eyes thinking about what an amazing kid she is and that it is pure blessing that I get to be her Mama. Just being together without an adorable (but demanding) toddler or the chaos of needs at our home reminded what an amazingly sweet, kind, hilarious, patient (she rode the dala dala for over an hour, walked a mile, and waited in the office for 2 hours without complaining once....and Yep......I'm bragging), and amazing little girl we have. I needed this time just with Anni.
I almost forgot we were in East Africa until we got in the taxi to head to the airport and the car was literally smoking. We were assured during the four stops along the way to pour some unknown liquid in the fuel tank that everything was fine and although a smoking taxi does not inspire confidence a few years here has taught me to trust...inshallah... it will work out. After the fifth stop even our driver gave up and flagged down a friend who offered to take us and our stuff the rest of the way. They had extra room in the car even though they had just picked up a goat to slaughter the next day for Eid so we piled in with our bag. And us and the goat happily rode the rest of the way to the airport. We arrived 10 minutes before our flight and still made it!
We had so much fun just exploring and hanging out together and I cannot help but want to hit the pause button on these moments.
Big girl time will definitely be in the works again!