23 May 2012

To Do List.

We leave Kinshasa for the Virginia summer in just a few short days. Two months Stateside.

So, I present you with my To Do List that has been developed based on a year living in Africa, having two kids, a cat, and plans to fill 8-10 trunks with stuff during a visit to the land of Target and Ikea.  I really like reading other people's To Do Lists.  Especially when clipped to a refrigerator door.  It's totally revealing, usually funny, and provides a fabulous snapshot of the ins and outs of daily life.

So, be entertained:

1.) Inventory remaining medications and medical supplies.  Make list of what to buy in bulk (Especially Ibuprofen & Cold Meds.  Local versions don't seem to work as well.  Is that for real, or just in my head?)

2.) Go to 30 Juin Pharmacy:  buy home malaria tests and Coartem cures for whole family.  Try to avoid becoming malarial right after stepping onto American soil.  Oh, the drama!

3.) Take stock of bug spray and sunscreen.  (Need to spend hours researching mosquito repellent again.  Even after 9 months of daily application, I can't decide which is best.)

The Continuum.  From L to R:  #1, #2, #3, #4

4.) Wash and maybe re-treat mosquito nets (right before we leave).  They are a sickly color of grey right now.

5.) Talk to NouNou, Mama Vida, & Mupwa about optional projects around the house while we're gone:
  • Cleaning weird parts of the house that we don't normally care about (fan blades, screens, etc.).  
  • Make sure both sewing machines are working.  Have them worked on if necessary.  Mama YouYou and Mama Vida will be sewing for extra money this summer.
  • Talk to Mupwa about his big plan for "hunting down the cockroaches where they live during the day."  See what this is all about and if it involves loads of toxic chemicals.  Maybe do it anyway.
  • Will they please take care of the cat?

 6.) Make list of books to buy in U.S.:

7.)  Make list of products to look at at the pharmacy in the Brussels Airport.  (This is mainly a self-indulgent activity.)

8.) Decide what to do about Mama Congo over the summer.  Can we possibly be interesting when we don't have "life in Africa" to write about?  Ponder this with Sarah.  (We can't let our fans down.  Meaning all four of our mothers and mothers-in-law.  Wait.  They won't read our blog when we're living with them!  We won't have any readers this summer.  Ponder this as well.)

9.) Contact friends who are gathering hospital/labor & delivery supplies for Dr. Laure.  (Thank you!) Arrange to get these things this summer.  Hassle old coworkers in Charlottesville to start collecting.

10.) Plan summer trips to:
  • Indiana (for backyard barbecues, 6 year old birthdays, and an education on how Indiana is actually really cool)
  • Brooklyn (to drink amazing tea in tiny, light apartments with our children's namesakes, shop at Uniqlo because Johan swears only their pants fit "right", frequent that great kid's consignment store...) & Boston (to visit my cousin in her first real job, feel historical, and probably shop.  Who am I kidding?)
11.) Re-Promise my parents that those will be incredibly short trips and ALL OTHER times will be spent eating cereal and watching Downton Abbey & Mad Men on their couch.  (See if they are still planning on taking Elias fishing.  If so, tell him about fish and summer lakes so that he stops  associating "the United States" with "buying Legos at Target.").

12.) Throw away that playdough I made that is totally growing mold.  This is part of the process of cleaning out the cabinets.  Ugh.

13.) Think about Elias' 6th Birthday on June 30th.  He wants a spy party.  Hmmm. 

14.) Remember all of those random things that I should buy in the States.  Ask Sarah to help me.
  • Nuts.  (Seriously large bags from Costco.)
  • Smoke Detectors.
  • Bed Skirt.
  • Saline Nose Spray.
15.) Buy extra Gripe Water to take back to desperate friends with little babies.

16.) Figure out where to buy little things "from Congo" for friends and family.
  • Kuba 
  • Epic trip to Au Beach for pagne.
  • Those little painted cards from that one guy in front of City Market.
  • Locally made woven baskets randomly sold for 10,000FC at Saba. 

17.)  Stay up late using nighttime bandwidth to download "new" TV shows to keep kids super happy on airplane. 

18.) Continue to successfully wean Lou from her pacifier.  Before we have our dentist visit this summer... Wait.  I am weaning my kid from her pacifier two weeks before a 20 hour long transcontinental flight?  I'm really losing it.

19.) Ask Mama Vida if she will make us extra pili-pili sauce so Johan will survive the summer.

We are really so excited to be headed back to the U.S.  So happy to see parents/grandparents.  So happy to be able to have real conversations, unbroken by weak Skype connections.  So happy to eat strawberries and pour our kids non-UHT milk.  So happy to have incredible late-night dinners with great friends on Virginia lawns.  I know that when August comes, leaving will be gut-wrenching.

But, I'm also happy that we'll be coming back to the Congo in the Fall.  Happy to have Lou start French preschool.  Happy to be teaching new subjects.  Happy to cover our plaid couches with Target slipcovers.  Happy to have Eli run free in a 40 acre rainforest.

It's a good life.
Now.  To get started on that list.


  1. Two comments: 1. The mothers and mothers-in-law will continue to miss their kids in Congo who are not in Congo but rather in the next room laying on the couch. It's a habit that is hard to break. We'll still look for FB updates and Mama Congo posts. 2. Are you kidding about the pacifier?!?!? You better wear one (or two or three) on a string around your neck for that flight home.

  2. Please keep blogging. I would miss you! I love stopping here on my daily round of blogs. (and I'm not family, nor have I even met you in person, so there)

  3. Hooray for the Indiana shout-out! Can't WAIT.


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