Thursday, September 21, 2006

Happy Birthday Moqui


Today my little sister turns 28....This is her first birthday as a mommy. HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOQUI! We wish we could be there to celebrate with you...but we did go "out" on your birthday and saw the perfect movie - Sisters In Law.

The documentary was showing at the Mozambican Film Festival. Set in Kumba in South West Cameroon Sisters in Law follows adultery, rape and abuse cases led by a female judge and state prosecutor. It was a powerful and fascinating movie...to see how these women fought for the rights of the victims. They are changing "their world" one case at a time. The movie also showed the first spousal abuse case in 17 years, in which the men were found guilty. According to the attorney in the movie it was the first time a Muslim man had been found guilty of domestic violence.

Moqui, you would have loved the movie. I thought about you and all the reasons you love being an attorney.

After the movies we went to have Indian food. It was a first for me and I loved it! Why hadn't I tried it before?

Well, it's late and we have to go to bed...but one more time....HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Our Home...A Work in Progress


Finally...we have unpacked all of our boxes, built all of our IKEA and other furniture. That took a long time! Our apartment is finally starting to look like OUR home. If you are curious as to what it looks like just click on Our Photo Album for more pictures.

The colors might look familiar from our apartment in Miami Beach. We wanted the "orange wall." Our bedroom is still green. Our office is blue. The main difference with our new home is the SPACE. As you look at the photos you will see many empty walls.

I thought we had so many things. At least that is what it looked like in our 800 sq ft apartment, but now that we have 1,700 sq ft our house looks empty. I can actually run laps around the apartment! JJ and I are not used to all the space, but I guess we will grow into it.

Enjoy the photos. I didn't send you pictures of all the rooms. The other ones are too empty. More will come in the future. But to give you an idea we also have three bathrooms (we only use one) a dressing room (I wanted a walk-in closet for the first time in my life) and a guest room (anyone want to come visit?).

We are headed to South Africa this weekend. We will be staying in Nelspruit.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Four Weddings Without the Funeral


We are lucky to live on one of best, if not the most beautiful street in Maputo - Friedrich Engels. Doesn't it have a nice ring to it...maybe not. Some of you might recognize the name as one of the father's of communism. He and his buddy Karl Marx co-authored the The Communist Manifesto (1848). Well, that was just to give you a little background on the namesake of my lovely street. By the way, every street in Maputo is named after a communist. Mao Tse Tung has an avenue named after him; so do Lenin, Marx, and Ho Chi Minh. I think they are all having a party over it...wherever they are.

Okay, so back to our street...We have an ocean view from the balcony of our apartment. Every day we see runners, dog walkers, young kids playing games, guards playing checkers, at night it is known as "make-out" point with the young locals. If you walk down the sidewalk you will run into beautiful pergolas filled with bougainvilleas that would make my mom very jealous.

But by far my favorite time to sit on the balcony is Saturday mornings to see the Wedding Parades (that is what I call them). It seems like every wedding in Maputo passes in front of our house. We had four weddings this past SaturdayIt is great!

All the guests arrive first – on foot, by bus, by caravan. Then they all line up and start singing as they wait for the bride and groom that has just been married at the local church. Then once the newly married couple arrives they sing and dance some more. They music is beautiful. I swear, they must think I am crazy for just sitting and watching, but I can’t help it.

You can see a picture above and more pictures of Friedrich Engels by clicking on Our Photo Album.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Did a 6.0 earthquake really hit Florida?

I was reading the Miami Herald online and could not believe it...an earthquake in Florida??? Don’t we have enough with hurricanes? Are we going to have to get earthquake insurance now too? Did anyone feel anything? Email us... Here is the article I saw in the paper:

Hurricanes are one thing, but an earthquake? A strong one shook Floridians, but there were no reports of injury or damage.
By MARTIN MERZER AND ALDO NAHED

No hurricanes. No tornadoes. No sweeping wildfires. It was a pretty nice weekend in Florida. Except, you know, for the 6.0 magnitude earthquake.
A rare and unusually strong quake in the Gulf of Mexico rocked southwest Florida on Sunday, provoking worried calls from more than 3,000 people in the state and elsewhere in the Southeast.

No damage or injuries were reported, though many Floridians experienced dishes that rattled all by themselves, swimming pools that suddenly developed waves, and terra firma that wasn't quite as firm as they thought.

''It's always something,'' said Mike Stone, a spokesman for the state's Division of Emergency Management.

The quake, believed to be the strongest in the area in 30 years, struck at 10:56 a.m. and was centered 259 miles west of Bradenton and 397 miles from Miami.
The most common comment Sunday along Florida's Gulf Coast: ``Hey, I did feel something.''
Sally Mayse of Bradenton was riding her bike on a causeway when she sensed a vibration and her two-wheeler wobbled. She thought it was a tractor-trailer but none was in sight. Then, she figured it was her imagination.

''I didn't give it a lot of thought,'' Mayse, 46, said later as she relaxed by the bay. ``Then I heard people talking and I put it together.''

Experts said the quake was too small to generate a tsunami, though the U.S Coast Guard issued a mariner's warning, advising boaters to exercise caution in the area.
Ronnie Mason, a Coast Guard petty officer in St. Petersburg, said he saw computer monitors in the command center shake for 10 to 15 seconds. He received numerous calls from boaters and from residents more than 80 miles inland.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Two weeks and counting...


It has been two weeks since our arrival in Maputo, Mozambique. JJ and I are safe and sound and STILL staying in the hotel. We are looking forward to moving into our apartment this week. Our container (that was taken hostage) should be released to us no later than tomorrow...whew!!!

I apologize for not writing sooner. It has been a whirlwind since our first day here. We have had cocktails at the British High Commission, Welcome and Bon Voyage parties, dinner with "new" friends and I have taken some time scouting out volunteer opportunities. And let's not forget my "manual" driving lessons on the WRONG side of the road. More on those adventures later...let's just say that I used to be a good driver.

In any event I promise to update you regularly in the future. Everyone asks in their emails, "How is it?." The best way for me to describe Maputo is to take you on a tour. You can check out "Drive Through Maputo" at http://www.vanherksen.shutterfly.com/. I apologize for the quality of the photos but I literally took photos from the car as JJ and I ran some errands around the city last week. As you can see the city is extremely poor, but there are many other sides to Mozambique that I hope to share with you.

Before we got to Maputo we spend some time in Holland and had a mini-honeymoon in Paris. You can check out the photos at http://www.vanherksen.shutterfly.com/.