Hiking

We have a thing in our marriage. It’s kind of recurring problem, called Hiking. We do it on every vacation, and I’m not sure why. I always think I’m going to love it. It sounds so good in theory. And I’m often proud of myself when I’m finished. But overall, I don’t think I actually like it. I spend a good 80% of the time complaining so I’m not sure why BB keeps inviting me.

Although, to be quite honest, I spend a good 80% of my normal life complaining as well so at least on a hike he gets exercise and a nice view.

See, I’m a bit of a Debbie Downer. I’m not just a glass half-empty person. I’m a glass half-empty of spoiled milk person. When my youngest sister was born, we have video footage of when I first met her in the hospital. My eight-year old response to meeting this little precious thing, said with a huff of reality: “Now we have to go through chicken pox again.” I want everyone to be clear that there are bad parts of everything. Don’t get too swept away in the moment people!

I just find it’s important to keep our expectations low. So while I’m hiking, I can’t think of the present moment of beauty. I can only think about how long it’s going to take, bug bites, my need to pee, the temperature, how if I can’t do this simple hike, then I will never amount to anything in life…you know, the normal thought process of a human.

So this vacation’s hike in Nyungwe Forest was no different. Except that when we got to the valley, there were hundreds of monkeys! Almost made it worth the pain.

We started the vacation with a trip to the beach with some friends. Freddy loves swimming/eating sand.

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Then we drove to the rainforest. The lodge was set among the gorgeous tea plantations.

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On the hike, we saw chimpanzee nests.

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And monkeys!

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It was beautiful. But not painless!

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10 years

We celebrated our ten-year anniversary this past weekend. I would say we blew last year’s celebration of breakfast at Starbucks out of the water this year. We spent the weekend in northern Rwanda – at the foot of the Volcanoes National Parc – the most beautiful place I have ever been. And we spent it with two of our closest friends who came all the way from Chicago to see us (and some baby gorillas may have sweetened the deal).

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We did not have a chance to exchange gifts or write cards this year. Life is just too busy sometimes. While P&L were stalking baby gorillas, we drove up to a fancy lodge and went for a hike. of course, a hike in Rwanda is never a solitary affair.

We hiked to the top of a peak and shared a snack. We gave apples to two of our “guides” – they had never had apples before!

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We met lots of lovely folks with whom we exchanged email addresses. Fabian has been emailing me all week – he’s preparing for his school examinations this week.

Tejean showed us him home and his cow.

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John, an orphan, showed us the teeny tiny light he uses to study by. I couldn’t even take a picture because it was pitch black in the home with just the tiniest little light. One of the most humbling moments of my life.

We finished back at the lodge and enjoyed some tea and cookies.

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It was not the most romantic of adventures, but it was memorable, and very much “us.” Ten years is a long time. We were babies, and we didn’t know what we were doing. We were in love, but we didn’t know anything about love. We didn’t yet know the trials that would come our way. We bounded forward with idealism and plans. I think that’s the way to do it. I don’t think anyone would ever get married if they really knew how challenging it would be, but then they would miss out on one of life’s best joys.

To know and be known by my husband is pure delight. To be confident in his love and trust at all hours of the day and night. He makes me feel safe and loved. He allows me to flail and flounder without (too much) criticism. He greets me with a smile even when I haven’t been so nice.

I’ve never met anyone who cares as much as BB does. He cares about everything, and it sometimes drives me crazy. He makes me madder than anyone, and sometimes he drives me to eat a lot of chocolate. He challenges me to learn how to really forgive.

These ten years have flown by and yet I feel like we are still just kids trying to figure out how to do life. I love my sweet, humble, aggravating, patient, loving, not funny BB.

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