At home, finally

Sunset from the back yard

We’ve been here in Windhoek for nearly four months, and it’s feels like home. We’re developing weekend routines, weekdays are starting to feel less insane, and I don’t need to use Google Maps to go everywhere.

Pandemonium in the living room on HHE delivery and unpacking day

Our sea freight shipment, or HHE, arrived just about a month ago, and it’s already 90% put away. Our house here has lots of built-in storage space and a huge kitchen, plus a garage (a garage!!!! We’ve never had a garage before!), so it was surprisingly easy to find places to put things. Although some stuff got shoved into closets, all of which I promised myself I’d deal with later.  Our photos and art are on the walls, our carpets are on the ground, we’re eating off our own plates with our own silverware, M has his books, I have all my kitchen gear and cookbooks, and Nate has his record players. Everyone is happy.

Life here has been relatively easy for us to adjust to. Most of the social culture is outdoors and it’s awesome. Plus you can easily buy just about everything you need, including pork products and alcohol. And things here are so darn inexpensive. It’s glorious. It’s just so nice to be someplace where it’s comfortable to be outside. I can’t stress that enough. Granted, we haven’t been here during the worst of the summer heat, but there’s no way it will ever be as bad as Oman. Nate and I were outside this morning at 11 am, hauling around bags of dirt and shoveling the soil, attempting to get a garden going. We never could have done that during an Omani summer without suffering from heat exhaustion.

One of many overwhelming aisles at Embassy Liquor. Yes the store is called Embassy Liquor. It’s almost like they knew who their best customers would be…

Speaking of Oman, we took some of the lessons we learned there and applied them to our life here. One of those lessons was to get our adventure car as soon as possible. We purchased a bakkie, or pick-up truck, and it is a big powerful vehicle. It’s the perfect 4×4 to explore Namibia with, and we’ve added a big metal top, or canopy, as they call it here, to the back. There’s so much storage space it’s amazing! We still need to get a roof rack and a steel rear bumper, but we are ready to go!

The workweek here took some serious getting used to. Monday through Thursday we work from 7:30ish to 5:15ish with a one-hour lunch break, and then on Fridays we work from 7:30ish to 12:30ish. We’re always running around like chickens with our heads chopped off trying to get to work on time (which never happens), and then in the evenings we scramble to get dinner on the table before M goes to take his bath around 7:45.  It makes me appreciate the Muscat workweek and commute, which had us leaving the house around 7:30 am and getting home by 4:45 pm each day. Thank heavens for our housekeeper; without her we’d be spending all our time doing laundry, tidying up or cleaning the kitchen.

Cloudy sky

One of my favorite things to do on Saturday mornings is to go to the farmer’s market. There are all kinds of vendors, and when you want to buy something, the vendor sets your stuff aside and gives you a receipt. Once you’re done visiting all the stalls, you take all your receipts to the payment area, pay your bill (you can even pay with a card!), and they mark all your receipts as “paid.” Then you go hand your paid receipts to the vendors and you collect your stuff. It’s ingenious. It’s nice to be able to stroll around without lugging heavy bags everywhere. Although it’s also kind of bad because you don’t realize exactly how much you purchased until you have to collect it all and you leave with far more than you actually needed.

Another cloudy sky, this time in the morning

We’re glad we’ll be here for three years. We are settling in, and M is happy at his “tall house in Africa.” Our time in the U.S. over the summer (about 7 weeks) was really hard for him and he kept asking to “go home.” We tried to explain to him that Muscat wasn’t our home anymore, that we were going to have a bunch of different homes over the summer, and that we’d finally arrive at our new home in Namibia, but what 3-year old really understands that? When we finally pulled up the driveway to our house in Windhoek, he said “Are we at my house in Africa?” We were very relieved to finally tell him we were home.

It’s like we can all finally exhale after a summer of holding our breath, now that we’re here. And that’s a nice feeling.

I love it when a plan comes together

Our next post is Windhoek, Namibia! We will arrive in September 2019, insha’Allah, and we could not be more excited.

I wrote earlier about third tour bidding, and it was a stressful unpleasant time for all of us. I didn’t really realize how stressful it’d been until it was over and I felt like I could finally relax.

We had initially identified Windhoek as one of our top choices, and pretty quickly it became our top choice. Nate was placed on the short list, which was sent to the bureau in DC, and a few weeks later he was notified that he was the bureau-leading candidate. Then, about a week later, he was offered a handshake for the job. Now he is waiting to be paneled, which means that all the job offers are being reviewed to make sure they aren’t breaking any rules. After being paneled, cables will be sent to out with travel orders and so forth. I’m not sure how long the whole paneling thing takes, but hopefully it won’t be too long. In the meantime we are planning to explore Oman some more and make the most of the rest of our time here.

Namibia a huge country (twice the size of California) in southern Africa with a population of only two million people, which makes it one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world. It’s home to the Namib desert and some of the world’s tallest sand dunes, and it’s also the first country in Africa with environmental conservation and protection written into its constitution. There are lots of national parks and game reserves throughout the country, plus wineries and craft breweries. And did I mention that you can easily buy pork products throughout Namibia?! We absolutely cannot wait to get out and explore everything that Namibia has to offer.

It’s a huge weight off our shoulders to know where we’re headed next, and now we can buckle down and start checking off the last of our Oman must-do’s.  Experience tells us that things can change on a dime, so we are going to make the time count while we can. And then, hold on Namibia, here we come!