16 May 2013

Guest Post: I'll Read To You on the Stars

Matt is what sucks about the Congo.  

Not Matt himself, but the fact that you meet people like Matt (and Erin - see Tuesday's post) and then they leave.  It's almost inevitable.  For most folks floating around in expat-land, it's a predictable 2 to 3 year cycle.  Either you leave or they do.  To prove my point about how awful and wonderful these friendships are, I give you this essay about my child, written by Matt:

When I was asked to do a guest spot for Mama Congo I was flattered, a little sweaty, and mildly excited.  Also a tad bit apprehensive as I have no direct Mama experience.  I have seen movies with mothers in them before, and I have used the words “Hot Mama” on at least seven occasions, twice without being slapped, but I haven’t really had much experience with parenting, or little kiddos, beyond that.  I am aware of the existence of children, however, in the same way that I know somewhere out there is someone reading my second book (no big deal-cheap guest post plug!)

Until I moved to Kinshasa, of course, and had the privilege of spending oodles of time with the four young folk whose tales are so lovingly told in the pages of Mama Congo.  I do not know what sort of lasting impression I have had on the lives of these kids- I mean, how much stuff does one remember before the age of four, or five, or nine, or however old these guys are?  I do know that they’ve had an impact on me, at least in terms of good times and discussions about space, vampires, puppets, and evolutionary theory.  

Discussing evolutionary theory or making Matt into a princess.

I think that I could make a pretty good papa, at least for 45 minutes a day.  Which is better than a lot of parents I know, so I’m in good shape there.

In addition, two weeks ago, in a conversation with LouLou, she said something to me that will go down in history as one of the best rom com lines ever.  Let me set the stage:

We were at a colleague’s BBQ two weeks ago, one of those rare occasions where a bunch of us can get off campus together in a non-evacuation scenario.  It was a great time.  We had beer on tap, sausages that tasted like meat and not lies, cookies with crumbly bits on them, and I learned how to play Corn Toss.

Mostly, though, I hung out with LouLou whilst her intrepid parents mingled with the Kinshasian cognoscenti.  As they were discussing recent political events, economic theories, and where to get really good Pili Pili, LouLou and I gamboled around together, looking for monsters in the dark. 

After about fifty minutes of this she grabbed a book from her pile of stuff that all kids seem to have everywhere and said she wanted to read to me.  We went to sit down under the outside light but after a few minutes she realized it was too dark to see.

Or that she didn’t know how to read.

I’m not sure which it really was, but she went with the first option- I normally do the same.

So we moved on to another spot, under a more promising light, but alas, still not good enough.

We started walking up the little gravel pathway.  I was holding her right hand and she stopped, tugged on my arm, and pointed upwards with her left, book still firmly clenched in her nubby kid fingers (as an aside- isn’t Nubby Kid Fingers a great name for a puppet?  Just saying).

“Look, Matt.”

The stars had come out and were twinkling in the (remarkably for Congo) cloudless night.


“I know- pretty sweet.”

She looked back at the dim circle of light on the recently vacated chair.

“It’s too dark to read here.”  She pointed up at the sky again.  “Let’s go up there, and I’ll read to you on the stars.”

I’m telling you right now, any romantic comedy starring Drew Barrymore where her character utters that sentence in the previews will make 100 million dollars opening weekend.

You’re welcome, Hollywood.

Want to read more?  Matt just published his second book.  You can order it on Amazon.  Johan (accidentally) took the author's picture that appears both on this book jacket AND on Amazon.  I'm still bitter.  I'm supposed to be the photographer in our family.  But, man, is it a good photo.  

Image of Matthew Lippart
That photo...

1 comment:

  1. Thanks, Matt! Your stories always bring our grandchildren a little closer to us...


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