Paper luck

I am sitting in the orange room with its Chinese brocade curtains, next to the lime green room with its thousands of instruments, which is next to the pink-walled dining room which is next to the mustard green hallway and the turquoise kitchen. Oh and we slept in green-blue room next to the pink bathroom. And we admired the pistachio baby room that is starting to get ready to receive the little tyke a few months hence.

We are at Sita and Jim’s house in Easthampton – a riot of colors, instruments and things that once were part of our households (in Senegal, in New York, in New York, in West Newbury, in Manchester and in Kabul) – a museum of eclectic living one could call it.

After taking a walk with one daughter and our two granddogs in Ravenswood park, we headed west to be with the other daughter, now 6 months pregnant. We are beginning to ease into our new role as grandparents – I already love it.

The end of the week was marked by a series of intense conversations, some that left me deflated and discouraged and other that lifted me up and gave me hope. It is amazing how radically one’s outlook can change through words strung together in conversation – head down after one and head up after the other.

These talks are all related, in one way or another, to our pre-retirement future; a still very long way forward that is entirely uncharted. This stands in sharp contrast to our lives pre-Afghanistan, when the path was rather straight.

After a yummy Japanese dinner with more sushi than was good for us, in busy downtown Northampton, we delivered the paper goods Axel acquired in Japan, cluttering our daughtes’ houses up and uncluttering ours. I also delivered the first of many knitted baby clothes.

The first grade luck ticket Axel got in Japan has done its work already. Axel and I will both be leaving for Africa next Saturday, he via Amsterdam to Abuja and I via Atlanta () to Jo’burg. Axel has been hired by my organization to help one project write its final report. At one point I had considered applying for a job there. Now Axel can check the place out for himself. We did take note of all the security notices about Nigeria – nothing new after Afghanistan, but disturbing nevertheless. Al Quaeda, in one form or another, is everywhere. Killing the boss of a network doesn’t kill the network, nor does it gets at any of the conditions that feed it.

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