Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Merry X-mas, Vrolijk Kerstfeest & Feliz Navidad

As the holidays approached this year I wasn’t sure what to expect from our first Christmas in Maputo. I was feeling a little homesick and missing the Miami winter. I know this sounds crazy...but it is summer here and extremely HOT. Although it doesn’t get cold in Miami you have your random gusts of cold air and “sweater weather” that surprises you every once in a while during the holiday season. Maputo during Christmas is hot and humid. The other day is was over 105 degrees! It makes it hard to get into the Christmas spirit.

We put up a Christmas tree and decorated the house...but it just didn’t feel like the holidays. I was still feeling a little homesick and I spent the week before Christmas watching ¿Que Pasa, USA? everyday (My sister gave me all the episodes before I left Miami). Watching this show as an adult made me truly appreciate it and iI realized how “perfect” the show was at capturing the life of a Cuban-American family in Miami. After an overdose of the Peña family I decided that I wanted to have my own Noche Buena in Maputo.

JJ was hesitant at first due to my lack of culinary skills and to tell you the truth I have NEVER really made anything for Noche Buena. All that was left to my mom, grandma and Jose (our neighbor). JJ is a wonderful chef but he wasn’t really sure about lechon hasado, yuca, frijoles negros y arroz blanco. But after discussion and deliberation the plans for Noche Buena were set into motion. I don’t blame JJ for being nervous...have you ever seen me in the kitchen!

I spent the week on email with friends and family figuring out the recipes and ingredients. I want to thank my grandmother, my mom, Ana and Carlos for answering all of my questions and sharing your recipes with me! I think that from now on I will help with Noche Buena the next Christmas we spend in Miami.

Our friends were invited. We had 12 people for dinner...but that was okay since our pork was 18 pounds!!!! That is a big “bird” (as JJ and I affectionately referred to the pig). Let me tell you that the lechon came out delicious! I have to give props to JJ...he was on pig duty and I swear it was as good as Jose’s (our neighbor in Miami) but I would never tell him that. We might not have had a caja china...pero que rico!

Noche Buena was a success! No one got food poisoning (ha ha ha) and we had a wonderful time with our friends and their friends. We have been very lucky to meet wonderful people in Maputo. The dinner table was full of stories, talking, know just like back home. It was very special and I will never forget our first Noche Buena in Maputo.

The party continued on Christmas Day. We had a Christmas Brunch. Everyone came over with food. We had mimosas...sat around....listened to Christmas Carols...played games...shared stories...had a dip in the pool (I bet you can’t do that wherever you are this December).

Our First Christmas in Maputo was perfect and although we missed our family and friends in the USA and Holland (a lot!!!) we are very blessed to have such great friends here in Mozambique.

To everyone not here with us....JJ and I would like to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!! We will be visiting Holland and Miami in February and can’t wait to see all of you.

Click here for pictures from Noche Buena (Christmas Eve) and Christmas Day!

P.S. Just a couple of personal updates I forgot to mention before. I am now not only the "wife of a diplomat," but I am also the newest member of the staff at the American International School of Maputo. Yes, I got a job! I am the Activities Coordinator. I can't wait to start full-time in January. I worked the last two weeks before Christmas break and I really enjoyed it. Okay, so I have a job...that brings me to my next BIG news. I need to get to work, right? Carpooling isn't really an option here...I finally learned how to drive stick shift. I don't think JJ ever thought I would learn...but I did. I still give people a little whiplash, but hey I can get from point A to point B. This is progress!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Visiting Orphanage in Bobole

Two weeks ago I finally went back to the orphanage in Bobole (just outside Maputo) to deliver the mattresses they so desperately needed. I want to thank my friends from Florida (Alberto, Elizabeth, Kirk, Ana, Io and Jazz) for sending donations. I also want to thank my friends over at the US Embassy Public Affairs Office in Maputo for donating the transportation and the driver.

I delivered five mattresses, bunk bed frames, coloring books and crayons. They were very grateful. Click here to see pictures and videos. During the visit I was able to talk to them and discuss other items which they needed. In January they will have close to 35 orphans. I am working on getting them the following items:

- Five additional beds
- Ten mosquito nets
- Three sewing machines (they would like to teach the children to sew and this way they would be able to make their own clothes)
- Electrical wire to complete their electricity project (once they have electricity they will be able to store food in a freezer. Right now their diet consists of rice, corn meal and vegetables once in a while)

If you would like to help with a donation please send me an email at

Happy Holidays!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Another Letter from Maxwell

My nephew Maxwell is almost 4.5 months now and did I tell you he is a genius. This is the second letter he wrote to me. I love receiving his letters, but I am starting to wonder if his parents know what a great writer he is. I enjoy them so much I wanted to share it with the rest of you. And did you see the photo...4 months and he can sit up all by himself. I love you Maxwell!

Dear Auntie,

I'm dictating this letter to grandpa to let you know we have moved already to our new house. The house is big and beautiful and dad painted the whole house with his friends from Nigeria and did a great job!

I have a room all by myself, but it's really far away from mom's and dad's room. But I already learned how to get back "in" with them. Every night I sleep for a little while and then I start screaming and crying and then mom takes my back to her room with dad and I sleep there the rest of the night. It looks like mom is the softy of the family. She can't help but hold me when I start crying.

By the way, I am totally OK after the operation. I'm peeing like never before. I didn't know I was so clogged down there. Even the little incision is totally closed and it doesn't hurt anymore.

Oh, I discovered laughing the other night. I was playing with mom and grandma and I started to make a funny sound because they were being silly. Mom said I was laughing for the first time. Now I make the sound when grandpa tickles me under the arms. It sounds like HA HA HA or something like that. Every time I do it, they all laugh too.

Another sign of maturity according to mom, is that I can grab stuff with my hands, especially the left one and take the stuff to my mouth. When they show me a toy I can grab it and put it in my mouth. Mommy is really into my development. She bought this boring CD with CLASSICAL baby music and she plays it every time I am in the car with her. Its sooooooooo boring. I prefer rap music myself. Daddy has great music in his car from some rappers. I like the song "You think your poop smell like roses...."but I know the song its not about me.

Well I'm in my new house, but I miss Duke. He was really nice to me...I'm not missing any fingers or toes. Grandma and Grandpa have been really nice coming here and helping with the house. Grandpa put together my new crib, but he doesn't say anything because he wants dad to take the credit.

I love you a lot and miss you more than any other auntie.



Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Long Overdue Update

I have been a bad bad blogger. Since our return from the honeymoon things have been very hectic, but that is no excuse. Our honeymoon was fabulous. Our road trip in South Africa allowed us to see so much of the country and it is so different. We got to see Cape Town, the country, small villages, the bush, went on safari, stayed on a Ostrich Farm, walked the beaches, Nelson Mandela's prison cell...I could go on and on. But the best way would be to show you the photos. So click here and enjoy!

After South Africa we headed to Rwanda to visit our friends Jaco and Leontien. What a gorgeous country! It is hard to believe that most of the country was wiped out less than 12 years ago.

More news on our end....I got a job! I will be the new activities coordinator for the American International School in Maputo. I am nervous and excited at the same time...I will tell you more as the weeks progress.

We hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving holiday and are getting ready for the Christmas season. We will be preparing here in Maputo as well and we won't let "summer" get in the way of a perfect Christmas. Yes, it is summer here and man is it hot!

Oh, oh...I almost forgot. Check out our new video clips. Just click on "Our Video Library" to the right. Don't expect anything exciting. We were just having fun with our new little camera that has a video feature.

Well, hopefully the next photos will be of our Christmas tree.