We spent three weeks in Botswana over Christmas and New Year and had a great time catching up with family but unfortunately I was pretty sick for most of the trip. Between that and our week of flu at the lake I’m beginning to think I should give up traveling and just stay at home. I’m finally starting to feel like myself again but I really wish I’d been in better health and able to enjoy all the fun things that are accessible in Botswana. There were so many highlights for the girls and seeing them so happy made it wonderful for me too.
They got to meet Santa – despite the looks on their faces they loved this and kept begging to go back and talk to Santa again. I think the looks are more annoyance at me for interrupting their conversation for a silly photo.
They got to play on a multitude of playgrounds. There are so many restaurants with playgrounds in Botswana that I was able to remember what it is like to sit down and enjoy a meal while the girls happily played. They had so much fun climbing, sliding, swinging and running with the odd tumble here and there to teach them how to do it all. I wish we had more opportunities for this kind of play closer to home. They really loved having a bit more freedom outside, without the worry of wildlife, and since Granny and Gramps have a pool they were swimming everyday.
They got to dance around a beautiful Christmas tree. Granny and Gramps couldn’t find any for sale so they dug out one of the evergreens in their garden and planted it in the lounge! It should be back in the ground now but it provided tons of joy for everyone, especially the littles.
They got to play in the snow. (Santa left us some Christmas snow - Insta-Snow courtesy of the Steve Spangler Blog). We sprinkled some around the fireplace and the tree for the girls to wake up to and then wrapped the canister and put it under the tree with a card from Santa himself. It was the last present opened and the girls were so excited that, just as Boo had asked, Santa shared some of his snow with them. We made a big pile of snow on Christmas afternoon and the girls spent the rest of the day (and much of the following days) playing in it.
For clean up it would have made much more sense to make it on hard surface where we could have swept it up but then we wouldn’t have had so much fun running, rolling, jumping and sliding into it. It was pretty magical to play in snow and then jump in the pool on the same hot and steamy afternoon.
One of our gifts from Granny and Gramps was a trip to Sun City – a huge theme park, hotel and holiday complex in South Africa that started years ago as a gambling getaway in the traditional homelands, which were not under apartheid law. Now it is a family resort where there were even more playgrounds and pools. We took a train ride through a small nature reserve and saw our first emu (I know, this is Africa right?)
We also got to ride a NYC taxi but I wasn’t able to get a photo of the highlight of the trip – the waterslide into one of the hotel pools. The girls are still talking about it. They had never experienced anything quite like it and even I have to admit that it was impressive. I was bit jealous as I was feeling pretty rough and not swimming that day. The pool and the slide were built to look like a natural rock pool and they swished and twirled as they hurtled down it and into the water.
The best part of our holiday was seeing the girls reconnect with loved ones. They adore their Granny and Gramps and spent much of the trip basking in their affection. One of the girls’ aunts who we saw quite a lot of during Boo’s first year, when we lived in Zambia, was also visiting for Christmas – we have missed her as we have only seen her once since moving to Malawi almost three years ago. Even a couple my husband’s old friends (from his young and reckless days) resurfaced which was a huge bonus as I was able to put some faces with names and stories. My mother-in-law had injured her foot just before we arrived and had difficulty getting around so the two of us commiserated while the girls ran circles around us. Luckily, apart from a minor cold, the girls were healthy and throughly enjoyed each new adventure. We’ve all struggled a little to get back into the swing of things at home but I think we are finally there and we are looking forward to finding out what 2013 has in store for us. Hopefully a move to a place where the girls will have a little more outdoor freedom is on the cards.
I feel like I’ve been absent from this blog for ages – how are you? How did you spend the holidays?