Thursday, December 18, 2008

New Kids On The Block

When we first moved to Africa, I was surprised at how unwelcome I felt.  I had always heard that the Africans were so friendly and love fellowship-which I have now found to be true once they get to know you! It took about a month or so, but the new kids on the block are finally not so "new"! Now that school is out and it is summer for the Kenyans, we have been able to hang out more with the local neighborhood kids. Whether it is having them into our home, Paul playing "futball" with them, or Micah and me sitting outside on a blanket with them, we are feeling a sense of belonging. 

Behind our apartment is a rather large area of grass where there is always some kind of activity going on. My kitchen overlooks this area, and it is fun to sit back and observe. It has been a great way of getting to know the local children. As a way to get to know some children, I decided to bake some cookies and give them to them while playing. I have done this a few times, but this past week went a slight bit differently. I gave out some cookies to about 5 girls who were playing, and boy did the news spread fast! For the next couple of hours my doorbell would ring periodically and a new kid would be standing there asking for a cookie. I just had to laugh at what I had started! It didn't take long for that batch to disappear and Paul was not too happy :) Guess next time I'll just have to make more!
This picture says it all-and these are just a few of the local children. Anytime we step foot outside, Micah is swarmed with love by his "girlfriends". These little girls just adore him-probably for the sole fact that they have never seen a "white" baby before :) But whatever the reason is, it is too cute. He enjoys going outside, crawling around on a blanket, being held by them, and watching them play together. It never fails that sometime during the day one of these girls will come to the door or window and say "can Meeka (aka Micah) come out and play?" Paul and I always laugh at the different pronunciations that Micah gets called, but today I think I heard the best..."Meeker". Too funny!

They girls are really good with him-for the most part. However, last night we had our first real scare! We had several of the neighborhood kids in our home playing Wii with Paul and helping me with Micah. Three of us had just given him a bath and an older girl (around 12 yrs old) had asked to hold Micah while in his towel. I handed him to her and went in the next room to grab a diaper...and that is when I heard a thud and heard Micah start wailing. Never a good thing!!! Apparently, the 12 yr old handed Micah over to a younger girl (7 yr old)...and yes, she dropped him!! Paul and I quickly ran into the room and grabbed Micah. The little girl was so embarrassed and upset-I think Paul scared her even worse by his reaction! It is tough to know what exactly happened-since 8 month babies do not talk, but we are pretty sure he hit his head. She told us he fell on his "back"-but we aren't quite sold on that one. Thankfully, he is okay and calmed down after a few minutes. And don't worry, I also got a little scolding from my husband! Needless to say, we will have some new rules with his girlfriends!! 
Paul enjoying his new Wii friends. These boys knocked one day and asked if we had a Wii. A few days later Paul invited them in to play. They played several hours and as they left they said, "see you tomorrow!" They had somehow heard about Wii, but never had played before and they were just fascinated. It was so fun to watch their excitement as they learned to play. 

Another crazy day at the Akin household. The kids have been back a few times, and we have a feeling that this is just the beginning :)

All I Want for Christmas Is My Two "Bottom Teeth"

Man, oh man. I sure am feeling sorry for my little one lately. For the past few weeks he has been teething galore but nothing is popping up quite yet. Two weeks ago, I could have promised that a tooth would be there by now. He was fussy, chewing on anything and everything (especially his precious hands!), gums swollen, slight drooling (he always drools, so this was not a big difference)-he sure does have all the signs, but those little suckers are just taking their sweet time, and we ALL are suffering at times :) Some days seem to be better than others. Baby Orajel has become our best friend, but we are almost out of the tubes we brought, so we both hope the teeth do arrive before Christmas! Here are a few pictures of a my little "rabbit" working on those things...

The bib is very fitting for this day-I couldn't resist

Such focus 

Working hard with two teething items at a time

Sunday, December 7, 2008


This past weekend we went to the Christmas Craft Fair at the Horse Race Track. As we pulled in, we saw many SUVs and it was easy to see that this would not be your normal African crowd. Most of the people we saw were either Brits, Indians, or Americans. It actually felt like an American event, which was a nice change.

Before entering, we realized we did not have much money with us and just figured we would get some at the ATM at the track. Ha! After we paid the fee to enter, we asked where the nearest ATM was-only to find out that is was a few miles away. We just had to laugh and say, "Oh yeah, this is Africa, not Kentucky." Being from Louisville, we are used to Churchill Downs that has millions of ATMs to make placing bets all the easier for the horse races-especially for the mobs of people at the Kentucky Derby. 

We still had a great time at the craft fair and were able to buy a few things for Micah's room. There was so much to see-it was probably better that we didn't have money with us :) I also enjoyed seeing some nicer stores that I did not know existed. It was the first time that we had been outside for several hours in a row, so we all left with a little "tan" as well. For now on, sunscreen is a must as we are so close to the equator-especially for our little one.

There were several Christmas booths around where Paul and I noticed they were selling "poppers". We joked about buying them and taking them with us to Turkey, as it is a Christmas family tradition for the Akin clan. We later eyed a man in some sort of odd-looking costume and then figured out that it was POPPER himself. We died laughing and had to get a picture-this is for you Lottie! 

Friday, December 5, 2008


TGIF (aka Thank Goodness It's Friday) is an acronym that I always loved when I was growing up. School was out and the weekend was finally here-which often meant sleepovers with friends. I also always looked forward to ABC TV shows such as Step By Step, Family Matters, and Boy Meets World. Good memories for sure!

Well, that famous acronym has come to a new meaning for me this week! Things haven't quite gone our way.  See for yourself...

1. Our week began with no water coming through our apartment except in the kitchen-and it was freezing. I woke up one morning, turned on the shower and was about to get in when it suddenly just stopped. Not even a trickle of water would come out of any of our bathroom faucets. Paul had luckily already showered. The plumber came and "fixed" it the next day leaving us with a flood to clean up. Later that day we were having a horrible leak in one of our bathrooms, so the plumber returned. Yes, water did work in all rooms now but we had a new problem now-the cold water only trickled and the hot water was full force.  We took scolding hot showers for two days since we couldn't equalize the temperature. I tried not to complain-because I really am thankful we have hot water because it does not last long! Well, we the same problem happened about 4 days water again! The plumber came back and fixed it temporarily but told us we need a new water pump soon or the cycle will repeat itself. So we are thankful we have water-at least for now!

2. On Tuesday we were sitting in our apartment when all of a sudden our electricity went off. This happens rather often, so we were not that alarmed, until we heard a knock at our door. Two men from the power company were standing there and told us that they had turned it off because we had not paid our bill for the month. Paul had paid it sometime in mid-November, but they had no record of that and asked to see our receipt. We could not find it, so after a little negotiating they turned it back on. Paul had to go back to where we pay our bills and get a new receipt written-thankfully they had records that it had been paid!

3. On Wednesday, we got in a minor car wreck on the way to workout. Paul hit a matatu (public transportation) and broke their backlight and scraped both of the cars. We ended up paying the matatu driver about 3000 ksh ($36) and went on our way. If you can avoid it, we have been told it is better to not get the cops involved. Thankfully we were in the midst of a lot of traffic so we were not going very fast. 

A pic of a Matatu-they always have a yellow line around them

4. We only had two days of language school this week. Our teacher canceled on us on Monday (he had visited family and had not returned yet), came Tuesday but wasn't feeling well, and then didn't show up on Wednesday with no warning. We tried calling and calling and could not get a hold of him-which is not normal. We finally were able to reach him on Wednesday evening and found out he had been in the hospital all day and was diagnosed with malaria and typhoid. He was achy all over and had extremely high fevers. He obvious canceled school on Thursday and send his friend to teach us on Friday.

Okay, so life sounds a lot worse than it really is! It was one crazy week and we look forward to seeing what God has in store for next can't possibly be any worse, can it!?! 

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

An African Thanksgiving

We just wanted to post a few pictures from our Thanksgiving in our new home. We are blessed with amazing friends and teammates whom we had the privilege of spending the holiday with. We actually were able to celebrate twice, which was a lot of fun. Our entire team got together for the traditional "Thanksgiving meal" the Saturday before. It sure was great to have some home cooked American food! We were able to meet some coworkers who live further away from us and enjoyed our short time of fellowship.


After we returned from language school on the actual Thanksgiving Day, we had a few people over to celebrate again :) It was nice to be with friends and made it a little easier to be away from family. Thankfully, we were able to skype with both sets of our families (and see family members who we don't get to talk to quite as often). Below are a few pictures from the holiday.

       Micah wants to play too!

Paul enjoyed having a Wii buddy for the day :)

I'm so blessed with all these girls and don't know what I'd do without them!

Had to get a family photo for Micah's first Thanksgiving

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas


Call me Scrooge, but I'm still having trouble getting into the Christmas spirit.  Maybe because it is 80 degrees+. I am literally "dreaming" of a white Christmas this year! My only hope is Turkey because we know in Africa it is impossible! I guess according to Kevin Garnett "ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE" :) But seriously, I have to make myself turn on Christmas music, and that is just sad. Normally, I am dying to turn it on can't get enough of it. I would listen to it in my car, in my work foyer, in the kitchen while cooking or doing dishes, etc. One of the best feelings is when you turn your radio on and hear that FIRST Christmas song! Gosh I miss those days. I also miss bundling up in my coat, gloves, and hat and drinking Peppermint Hot Chocolate from Starbucks. Yum!! 

Well, to celebrate the Christmas season (and to help me get into the Christmas spirit), we took Micah to see Santa--"Black Santa" is what we like to call him. Micah had the privilege of sitting on Santa's lap, getting his picture made, and receiving his first present from Santa. He didn't cry, but he was not quite sure what to think of everything. Black Santa and his Elves sure did love having a "Muzungu" (white) baby around! It was a wonderful memory and such a fun day together as a family! 

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Happy Thanksgiving! It makes me sad that I'm not there with my family to celebrate, but thankfully I have wonderful memories that keep me going. Here is a quick list of what I will miss back home...
  1. Family!!
  2. Magnolia Hill decorations
  3. Jon, Ash, and Maddy coming in town
  4. the Akin boys talking 100 mph
  5. Charlotte's cooking
  6. Traveling to home, sweet home and seeing the house all decorated
  7. Getting together with extended family
  8. Decorating the tree
  9. Singing "Turkey Day" with my sisters :)
  10. Games with the cousins
  11. a Thanksgiving jog
  12. the "kids" table
  13. Football
  14. COLD weather (Africa is a little too warm for the holidays!)
  15. Seeing old friends
Here are a few pictures from last years Thanksgiving...
 All the girls squeezing together after our Thanksgiving meal

      My wonderful family minus the kids table
The Akin clan (we miss you Tim and Anna!)

Monday, November 24, 2008

So It Begins...

After many people asked me to start a blog, I finally gave in. But who knew there was so much to learn about blogging!?! I am completely overwhelmed, but maybe I'll figure this thing out one day :) This is probably one of the best ways for everyone to stay in touch with our lives-especially while we are overseas. Our hope is that with updates and pictures, this blog wont make us feel so far away!