My Adventures in Malawi

26 Nov

CHAPTER FIFTEEN — 12/04/2007 — First Snow 

Yes, SNOW! It was snowing this morning, as I was walking to work. At first, I thought it was lint or pieces of trash… then there were just too many flurries to dismiss them and happiness came. YEAH, snow!!!!!!!

I usually love winter and the uniform that comes with it (comfortable sweaters and knee-high socks), but this year my poor body was in a state of shock. Too cold too fast. Artic winds started yesterday to make sure I knew I had changed hemisphere. We are officially below zero now. Coat, scarf, gloves, boots (bought on Saturday) and a hood because you don’t want the wind to find one entry point.

Another must is a Starbuck’s hot chocolate (spiced with cinnamon and honey – trying to avoid the sexy voice effect – but no whipped cream and only skim milk because certain curves have been too happy with the Malawian/Irish diet).

Yesterday as I was coming out of Starbuck’s with my precious drink, I was almost run-over by a huge red 4×4/pick-up-truck-type monster, which honked loudly (so rude) and the wheels whined as he took the turn way too fast. Mondays…

No life-threatening encounter today, but there is always the way back, and it makes me feel right at home!

Of course, you don’t want to hear my booooooooring Washington stories. You want to know how I fared in Heathrow. Well, it wasn’t pretty and I still have a BIG bruise on my right calf where my suitcase bit me. It did NOT like spending the night at the terminal 4 (creepy) while I was gallivanting in Leicester Square.

I was tired (left my warm bed at 7am in Ireland – torture!), cold (I miss Malawi) and hungry (they don’t feed you on BMI), so not so glamorous you are going to say, well it was: the Golden Compass premiere was going on with gorgeous Daniel Craig and consorts.

For the sake of transparency, I will confess that I didn’t see anyone famous… just the crowd actually.  I didn’t even know what it was about until the next day when they showed it on the news.

What can I say in my defense? It was 8pm, I had been running around from train station to bus station to airport to dreadful Heathrow terminals to crowded subway stations, AND my last meal was a soup at noon in Dublin. My focus was solely on food food food and then I ate too much (soup AND salad in an Irish pub – ha!).

I dragged myself through an even more crowded subway station to reach my hotel where I crashed happily. Of course, they forgot to call me in the morning so I was late coming to the office… that and the fact that my sense of direction is not great. I’ll pass over the meeting and the face-to-face with webmail after two whole weeks of abstinence (brutal).

I had a really nice meal and superb desserts, which I shared with Derek: a selection of chocolate goodies… aaah. He had to leave but I stayed to clean all the crumbs and then was late for Heathrow. When I checked in the lady said I had 20 minutes before boarding… oops!

Still, you cannot go through an airport without checking out the chocolate section of the duty free and the bookstore. I was right to linger, because we actually left an hour late!

Dulles was actually painless, but maybe I am just more resistant! The good thing about being late to check in is that your bag is last to go in and first (well 3rd or 4th to be exact) to come out! I was home shortly after 10 pm and back at the office at 8:15am on Thursday.

It is strange how fast you slide back into old habits. My lotions and potions are back in their respective places in the cupboards. Morning routines (first, get paper, then wash and eat) are in place. My feet don’t need directions to get me to work.

Of course, some old habits are harder to get back to, as the exercise tapes remind me every day. The dust and piles of laundry only disappeared after much effort on MY part on Sunday – what a change after 10 weeks chore-free.

I am fighting my old snacking habit, which I had broken before going Malawi and came back full force since my longest and best friend was comforting me in time of stress (which happened too often!).

My worst habit is of course creeping back steadily: work work work. I did manage to schedule some fun: Friday, I fought hard to stay awake long enough to visit Patricia’s new house and we had a wonderful picnic with my favorite foods in front a fire. I tasted a special cocktail with pineapple juice… and 3 types of alcohol.

Saturday, I watched Beowulf with Cecile – followed by brunch with a mimosa (yes, I am developing a new bad habit!). I dropped by Olivia’s since I was missing her party that evening. I know I am a bad friend but it was starting at 8pm, how am I supposed to be good company at that late late hour?

But apparently I missed cute guys so I’ll take vitamins this Saturday for the next party. Actually the next one is Thursday: I am going to EXT’s Christmas (sorry Holiday) party. Yes, it is crashing season! The World Bank has such a big staff that it organizes about 4-5 parties. Africa’s party is not until the 17th, so I need to warm up the social nerve.

I hope they’ll have chocolate fountains again this year! Yeah, I am boring you with my succession of chocolate stories, so I will end it here. Malawi was a great experience on many levels and thanks for sharing it with me.

— The End

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10 Responses to “My Adventures in Malawi”

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