We camped on the rim of the Ngorogoro crater enroute to our safari in Tanzania. It was the coldest night of the month-long trip. The showers were freezing, the wind was cold and I couldn’t keep warm that entire evening. I was up most of the night shivering into the cold tent, listening to our zebra neighbours munching grass just beside my head. This is wild Africa. No fences, no guards – just open wild beauty. We told stories around the campfire while just a few feet away, the zebras munched away at their dinner. Just amazing.
We celebrated the boy’s dad’s birthday this weekend in Mar del Plata. And it was wonderful. Great learning, great family time, great food and lots of laughter. I spoke more Spanish in the last two days than I have in the last 20 days of being here. It is AMAZING how human beings can communicate across languages simply based on context, body language and hand gestures. Of course, I am exaggerating a little, because really, everyone was so very very patient with me and my broken Castellano. But Castellano it was! And it was SO MUCH FUN!
There is something wonderful about watching people in family gatherings that really pulls at my heartstrings. It is so nice. There was so much love there this weekend. So much affection, and laughter and togetherness. The looooong table was dressed in red accents and picadas were strewn down it’s length. We had empanadas galore, with Malbec and champagne and beers. I think I may have gained a good couple of kilos just from that meal alone. 30+ people sitting all together toasting happy birthdays, singing songs, drinking and eating. It was wonderful. And for a short moment, I wanted to have 10 kids just so we could all eat at a big table like that every night for dinner (but thankfully, the moment passed!). FOUR generations sat in that room. FOUR. And it was nice to see how they all interacted with each other, conversation and laughter emanating from all sides.
If you could imagine how crazy it all felt for me, trying to catch conversations, decipher tenses and accents and context all at once. My brain was alert, tired, on overdrive but my heart was bursting with joy. I didn’t have to know the language precisely to see that conversations were about the baby, about interesting news, about updates and jokes and all things so normal between aunts, cousins, grandparents and children. In the grand scheme of things, it was OK that my Castellano was broken and the words didn’t come out just right. In the end, I understood all the important parts: love, laughter, family and friendship.
[Feliz cumpleaño señor G!]