We moved into this apartment in December of 2009 and the unit above ours was empty. It stayed that way for quite some time, and I prayed often that either it remain empty or it was filled with great a great family. I prayed for everything you could imagine: That the family would have children who were a good example to mine; that they would be a good fit for our stairwell lifestyle; that I could become friends with the mom; that our relationship would be a healthy one where we both leaned on each other; that there would be friends for the boys; that there might just be a babysitter who could watch my boys occasionally; that they wouldn’t be smokers… I may have been a little specific.
I say this in all seriousness… God answered each of those prayers perfectly. Even down to the non-smokers part! My neighbors are incredible people with incredible children, two are playmates for my boys and two are able to babysit my boys! I would be honored if my children grew up to be like theirs!
When Evelyn told me last week that she was going to make dinner for us and that she was going to serve us traditional African food, I was more than a little excited. I had tried some of these foods the last time she made this meal and had loved them! I looked forward to last night’s dinner more than I care to admit.
Her cooking marathon started at 8:00 and we arrived at dinner time fully prepared to hurt ourselves in the feast.
I have no way of telling you the names of each food below but I can tell you what they are. The two dishes on the left in the following collage were chicken, prepared two different ways. The bottom center dish was fried plantains, the right-hand picture was a bean/sweet potato dish, and I didn’t get a close-up of the spinach stuff, but it went so well with the rice. Just in case the boys were finicky, she made hotdogs and macaroni and cheese. (Guess which of my boys ate multiple helpings of the African food…)
We sat together for hours and talked about all sorts of things. My neighbors have so many stories and my favorite is their “how we met” story. Absolutely adorable! Of all the benefits the Army provides, all of which I am thankful for, the friends it provides me is my favorite. I get to meet the most amazing people and live life with them. And then I have to leave… or they do. But as we part we remain friends and remain in contact, and this Army community is so small that we do hope to run into each other again.
I thought about listing all the many ways Evelyn has blessed my heart but then I worried that I’d forget something. Instead of telling you that these are all the ways I’ll just say these are some of the ways:
- watching the boys while I ran for miles and miles
- milk for Parker whenever I ran out
- a dozen eggs when I realized I forgot Deviled Eggs on Thanksgiving’s menu
- calling when she’s at the commissary to ask if I need anything
- encouraging me in my weight loss/exercise journey (she’s a CrossFit NUT!)
- having an awesome set of kids
- watching the boys when I took Matt to the ER.
- offering her car anytime I need it
- just being herself. She’s pretty awesome.
Changing tracks completely, tomorrow I will start the series on our Italy trip. I have written many of those already, and some have yet to be completed.
As I did for my What we will miss series, at the the bottom I will post what I have planned for each day so you can follow along as we PCS, in almost-real-time. Of course, life is subject to change and I’m okay with that.
What I think we’re doing today:
I have an appointment at 9 and after that, a few hours with Christy and her cute kiddos. I feel like I haven’t gotten to see her at ALL lately and I miss her. After the fun and yummy lunch at her house I return home to work while the boys nap. I think the most important thing for me to do right now is wash all of our clothing and pack “smart.”
For example: I need 1 large duffle bag of clothing for us to use the next few days while we’re still in Germany, but the rest of our clothes can go into duffles and set aside in the “use this when you get to Nana’s house” pile. They need to fly with us, but we won’t need to get into them until we’re on the other side of the ocean.
I also need to go through the bathrooms, which our first movers neglected to pack, to separate things I want to keep from those I want to throw or give away. The things I want to keep will go in our unaccompanied baggage shipment, except for the toiletries we’ll be using throughout the duration of our travels.
PCSing is full of exciting things, and then the more mundane, like sorting through bathroom cabinets.