We are heading north, over the pole to Amsterdam, then on to Nairobi. For the first time in 15 trips, I’m sitting with someone interesting. She lives in Berkeley, probably the age of my kids and heads a non-profit supporting environmental groups, both domestic and international. We’ve exchanged information, each acknowledging the importance of the other’s work, each deciding whether the other is someone you want to know. I do. So interesting to observe myself in that “getting to know you” process—-how much to reveal, what to reveal, make sure you shut up and listened to her story. She’s very interesting, well spoken, grew up in Palo Alto where her mother was Head Teacher of Mid-Peninsula High school. In fact, she was one of the founders. My age, she has now moved to Rossmoor and is enjoying her retirement. Her daughter describes her as a “life-long learner, and from what I know, opportunities abound at Rossmoor.
My exit story was even more fraught with “unexpected” delays, like realizing Sunday night that I’d forgotten to get my international driving license andmy travel insurance. I always make sure I can get flown out if some physical impairment occurs (read “stroke”). So on the stroke of 9 am (well, almost9 am) I was walking into AAA in MP to remedy that small omission. It would have been OK were I not flying to San Diego that afternoon to attend grandchild promotion ceremonies for Sonny—5thgrade to middle school, and Kate—8thgrade to high school—on Tuesday, one at 8:30 am and the 2ndat 11. Back on the plane by 3, I was picked at San Jose by my good friend Tito, arriving home at 5 to face all the last-minute stuff I had left, including making and sending cards to Sonny and Kate, which the AAA visit had precluded before my trip!!! ARGH!!!
At some point it occurred to me I had failed to notify my bank and credit card company that I might be using debit/credit cards and would not be happy to had them refused in Kenya. Nor had I canceled my newspaper. The former took well over an hour, as the service representativeI drew had clearly paid no attention in geography or social studies. “Amsterdam—does that start with a D?” sigh! “No, it begins with A.” She still can’t find it. “It’s in the Netherlands.” No recognition. “Otherwise known as Holland.” She can’t figure out the numbers, bobbles the dates and is generally a disaster. But finally we complete that transaction—I hope. Time will tell.
Trying to update my ipod to new books I had painstakingly downloaded from free library CD’s, I inadvertently erased them all. OH $%^%%^&%. OK, I’ll just use Audible. Only I signed into Audio Books instead without noticing, then couldn’t figure out why the PW would work on Audible. At some point in this process a still small voice began nagging at my brain, “Margo, you’re getting to old for this. Too many old lady mistakes.
In case things were not sufficiently complicated, I had 2 guests, my friend Gideon Obonyo, who has stayed here, off and on, and his mother who was returning to Kenya the same day I was leaving only her flight was at 8 am. Gideon lives in Folsom, beyond Sacramento, so of course I offered them beds for the night. I explained he needed to strip their beds and showed him how to start the washer before he left at 5:30 am, so that I could wash my own sheets when I got up, get them hung out, dry and back on the beds before I left for SFO at 11 am. It all would have worked except—–
Just as I was finishing the night before (now 1:30 am) the link connecting my pendant, “War is Not Healthy for Children and Other Living Things” broke. “OH, NO!!!!” OK I’ll go to a jewelry shop in MP that fixed it before, asking this time for a stronger link. The sheets are drying, I’ve showered and eaten. Still have aa few last-minute items to stow, but I can make it. I arrive at the jeweler, only to discover she has closed her shop. I’m beginning to feel like Job!!! I am pretty sure there is another jeweler on Santa Cruz, so I begin to walk—all the way from El Camino to the block where Peet’s coffee. It’s not the distance, it’s the time. Two ladies greet me, I show them the pendant and chain. They think they don’t have the right link, but one goes to look. Five minutes later she appears with a good strong link and I am out the door, walking back to my car (near El Camino). Now I am seriously pressed for time. I had called son, Mark, who always takes me to the airport for my Kenya trip, telling him to come a bit later. Fortunately he didn’t obey his mother, because immediately he arived I found small things he could do. We left the house in good order, clean, dried sheets folded on each bed (didn’t have time to actually make the beds), tables, counters and desk cleared off—only 15 minutes late, but knowing myself I had allowed lots of time.
Evidently the gremlins who had been haunting my every need have finally retired, having done all the mischief they could. After that all went like clockwork.
June 12, in Amsterdam
Seems that I made all my major errors before I left, as the first leg of the trip went very well. Have a 4-hour layover here, then off to Nairobi.
Arrived Nairobi, picked by Fr. Kiriti, who always greets me with a big smile and a hug. It was then 10:30 pm and we faced a long drive to Naivasha, arriving at his house 1 am. Next morning he had to leave at 6 to Nakuru to pick his adopted daughter, Toleo, and her cousin, Sarah, who were to begin a 10-day midterm break. They’ll spend the weekend here, then go to Sarah’s mom in Mai Mahu. Fr. Kiriti’s parents had a compound there, where several of his brothers have established homes and raised their children. After he adopted Toleo from Mji Wa Neema, she spent most of her time with his brother and sister-in-law, so she’s very comfortable, hanging out with many cousins.
And so my 15thKenya summer begins.