(Rainy) Season’s Greetings!

The short rains of November and December are upon us, turning the red soil to paste. The rains mostly come at night and clear up by mid-morning. The rain comes down with an intensity that is strong but never stormy. When we arrived in August, the “football pitch” (soccer field) was so dry that the lines were painted black for better contrast against the baked grass. Now the football pitch is looking lush and needs a mow. The jacaranda trees wear their purple blooms like an Advent sash signaling the start of the Christmas season.

The school term is winding down for all of us. Garrett completed his course in Tae Kwon Do and earned his yellow belt. He really took to it and his instructor complimented his focus. Linnea finished her first term in Kenya Scouts with a campout on the Braeburn school grounds. The brave scouts had a great night but clearly didn’t sleep very much. The Kenya Scouts are a co-ed group. We met Linnea at school the following morning for her investiture ceremony in which she earned her neckerchief and international scouting badge. Scout on!

Linnea performed in her class play, the Emperor’s New Hair. Linnea played the imperial hairdresser and trimmed the emperor’s fabulous, golden, curly, invisible hair. Garrett will be the narrator (and a goat) in his play, Wriggly Nativity, this week.

Jen and I attended a dinner-dance with the Braeburn Garden Estate school parents club. We had a great evening with our friends Harry and Megan and met some new parents as well. The restaurant, the Lord Erroll, has that classic colonial aristocrat feel – it was very nice. We were the lucky winners at the raffle. We came home with a gift certificate for a photography sitting, another for the Prime Cuts butcher, and a pound of local coffee. Looks like we are having some good meat for Christmas dinner! Mutton, anyone?

Recent animal sightings: a Syke’s monkey in a tree at the bank; a 4 AM backyard visit from an aardvark; our resident hedgehogs (outside) and house geckos (inside). We tried to get a picture of the hedgehogs but they are surprisingly fast (and it’s dark outside). The security guard at the bank observed the monkey with us and lamented he did not have any bananas to give to the kids so they could lure the monkey down. We’ll have to carry a camera – and some bananas – with us at all times.

Garrett was invited to his friend’s sixth birthday party at the water park at the Village Market mall. It still seems weird to be swimming outside in December. We are also seeing the two sides of Kenya. We might be haggling over the price of pineapples at the farmers market in Riuru in the morning and then spending the afternoon at a posh water park in the ex-pat section of Nairobi. After swimming and eating cake, we met up and Jen and Linnea to see Santa at the Braeburn school. Santa brought some small gifts for all the children while the parents enjoyed some mulled wine. Our Christmas tree is set up, Iceberg the elf is on the shelf, and we are looking forward to a tropical Kenyan Christmas.

To our family and friends back in the US – we will miss you and will be thinking about you. Hopefully we will be able to Skype with the grandparents on Christmas morning.

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