The decision to go to Namibia the first week of October was made on rather short notice. My course is so demanding, it takes seven days a week of my time, and it felt like taking a week’s holiday was too luxurious. The two weeks break in March, I’d opted to get caught up and stay in Cape Town. But this course will be over before I know it, and it would be a shame to not see the surrounding countries while we are here. So I decided it was time to visit Namibia, perhaps the first country I ever actually wanted to visit in Africa, thanks to its German heritage.

It gained independence from South Africa in 1990, and indeed it feels more Afrikaans than German. Some of the buildings look German-with green roofs and ornate balustrades-but I didn’t hear anyone speak it.

The Germans perpetrated what is called the first genocide of the 20th century on the Herero and Nama populations, decimating 50 and 80 % of their people respectively. They formally apologized for the genocide in 2004. I knew nothing of this until we went to a museum in Windhoek and saw this exhibition.

Image may contain: indoor

There’s only 2 million people in the entire country, three times the size of the United Kingdom. Cape Town alone has 2 million people, so it’s no wonder I experienced culture shock coming back. We drove for hours every day throughout the country without seeing a soul. No beggars, no one selling anything on the side of the streets. We came back with no souvenirs. I joked with Zimkhitha that everyone saves up money to buy petrol instead. Second lowest population density in the world, after Mongolia. I was reminded of my time working out at the Grand Canyon in Arizona and feeling so isolated from the rest of the world.

We took the bus with Intercape, 21 hours riding. The kids loved it, especially Elithe riding on the double decker. It was a surprisingly easy ride, though I realized that I must pack a blanket next time as that’s the key to tricking your body into sleeping. We did Wimpy’s rush dinners and breakfasts at the gas station. Wimpy’s is my favorite fast food place here-the kids also love it because of the toys and balloons. They have all day breakfast and a big menu and fresh salads.

The trip was without too many metaphorical bumps but the gravel roads in our automatic non 4×4 were bumpy enough! Elithe had a bout of food poisoning but was instantly better after the good old fashioned cure of ginger ale. I was called back driving out of the car lot after witnessing me stall out with the manual car. I later got an automatic…in another city…two days later. In the mean time they dropped me off at the bus station. So the bus is what we took. The kids are too good at sitting for long hours. They got surprise packs at the gas station.

Image may contain: 1 person, sitting

I was questioned for a while when the officer noted Ryder’s name was not on his birth certificate.  I didn’t even realize. Why does Mexico do it like that? It had my name, the hospital, his time of birth, Certificado de Nacimiento, his size and Apgar score, no mention of Jacob, no mention of Ryder. Fortunately, he decided to let me through anyway since I had his passport and visa.

If you go to Namibia, you must plan on spending a couple of weeks. The distance between notable places means you spend all day driving. The view is dry, dusty, and monochrome. The sun beats down and even with air con, you sweat. It’s the driest country in that dry area of the world, Subsaharan Africa. The lack of water is related to the country’s biggest crisis-sanitation-because most people cannot afford flushing toilets and must use plastic bags.

Image may contain: sky, outdoor and nature

Driving in a sandstorm

Uniquely for this area of the world too, it felt peaceful, safe, and not corrupt. I was surprised that often, I was the only white person in sight in Windhoek.

The Namib desert is the oldest in the world. It’s beautiful in a desolate way. We saw some animals. The most memorable was an ostrich frantically racing alone across the horizon. A thirsty-looking horse, his ribs showing, spending his last days alone slowly on the side of the road. Goats being herded into their pens.

Deserted buildings, ghost towns, only show up in between 200 kilometers of open road stretching ahead as far as the eye can see. Zimkhitha reads aloud to me “Groups in Music” to while away the time. We make it through three chapters. There is no radio. The kids do their workbooks in the back of the car, and color.

Image may contain: sky, outdoor and nature

The highlight was definitely sandboarding. We went on Dune 7 in Walvis Bay. It was gorgeous to ride out there on quad bikes, sailing straight up toward the cloudless blue sky, soaring down again.

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, sky and outdoor We went alone first, Zimkhitha and I. It wasn’t so different from sledding down snow, and the sand didn’t even get in my eyes or hair. Then the kids got to go. Ryder got on my back. And they shoved us down. He was so happy, he asked to do it every day. He was doing cartwheels in the sand for joy. Elithe did a flip off the board and got sand up her nose and mouth, and still quickly assured she was ok because she wanted to do it again.

IMG_20171005_094347IMG-20171008-WA0023

There is a dearth of restaurants, unsurprisingly, but nevertheless I got to try a scrumptious local dish of oshingali (the o is silent, like many Namibian words) with oil and beans, scooped up with pap, the local carb.

Image may contain: 2 people, food and indoor

We also ate at one of the most famous restaurants in Walvis Bay, the Raft Restaurant out on the water, with views of dolphins and a kite surfer coming perilously close to our window.

Image may contain: one or more people and indoor

The kids, asking the bartender for toys.

Image may contain: 1 person, sitting, food and indoor

The parking lot of the Walvis Bay library, also called the American Corner library, which only had three cars. That was a mystery, but the bigger mystery was the handouts inside the library about 9/11. Why?

Image may contain: one or more people, sky and outdoor

Image may contain: one or more people, sky and outdoorImage may contain: sky, tree and outdoor

Would I go back? Yes, but only with a decent rough road vehicle, and lots more time to cover distances.

{ 0 comments }

When a nomadic family acquires…

October 8, 2017 Read the full article →
IMG_20170921_102351

It’s been less than a week, and it’s all I can think about. A pet. I’ve never had my own pet before. The last time I lived with an animal, I was 17 years old, half a lifetime ago. I always assumed I’d have a dog one day…well, Jacob and I are almost to 10 […]

0 comments

Ryder update! Age 5

September 3, 2017 Read the full article →
IMG_3453

Apparently the age of four was just a blur of countries (about 16 of them). Now Ryder is five years old, and living a life of routine. Mostly. He was attending a Montessori school, but was admitted to the German international school. His teacher, who knew him from the last time we were in Cape […]

0 comments

Energy psychology, parenting, and fashion

July 22, 2017 Read the full article →
lido deck

When I was engaged I won a drawing at a bridal fair. The lady at the fair told me, when I showed up, “I knew it was meant for you!” I have a suspicion that she said that because I was not “dressing my truth.” Since then, Dressing Your Truth has become semi-famous in Utah. […]

0 comments

Life with an Au Pair

July 3, 2017 Read the full article →
IMG_3598

Life for us now is very different, living in one place, in South Africa, while I have internships and classes and Jacob is doing film extra castings and trying out an app idea for South African clubs and Ryder is attending the same school he went to the last time we were here but with […]

0 comments

Entering Mozambique

July 3, 2017 Read the full article →
IMG_4110

It was time to leave Kruger National Park and I was ready. Six nights of sleeping in a tent. Six nights of shoveling cough drops methodically into my mouth and counting down the minutes until the sun came up. We’d decided the night before to arrange a doctor for Ryder. He had a fever. I […]

0 comments

Tribute to Sophie

May 10, 2017 Read the full article →
IMG_0971

I remember the moment I met Sophie. It was at the gate to Ryder’s preschool in Chiang Mai. I was thrilled there would be another boy Ryder’s age who was also an English speaker. She was from England, and had a pleasant yet shy way about her, as did her son, Shaye. “Will you ever […]

0 comments

Just Another Day in the Life

April 30, 2017 Read the full article →
IMG_2078

Of an American digital nomad music therapist student at the University of Pretoria in Cape Town. So. Our au pair offered to take us to her witch doctor here. Naturally I jumped at the chance. Wouldn’t you? Then of course, when I mentioned this to two visiting friends from the States, one of whom we […]

0 comments

Things Ryder Says: April 2017

April 23, 2017 Read the full article →
Ryder in tree

On my stolen phone: Mom, can we eat at the restaurant with the camel, where you got your phone stolen? I didn’t get it stolen at the Indian restaurant in Cape Town, I got it stolen at the McDonalds in Chile [in December 2015]. I want to go back to the restaurant in Chile. Why? […]

0 comments

A Year of Highlights with Ryder

March 27, 2017 Read the full article →
IMG_1619

Why haven’t I written about Ryder for a year? I don’t know. For a while I gave monthly updates. Once the baby stage is over, the milestones aren’t as apparent. And so it goes. And time races on. Here’s an overview of what the last year was like for this third culture kid. He and […]

0 comments