Baby Boy Daniel

4 04 2012

My menagère stopped by today with her brand new baby boy, Daniel, and my goodness – he is the tiniest, cutest little boy I’ve seen.

Daniel has quite an extraordinary story.

“C” had her last baby 15 years ago and she was certain her childbearing days were long gone.  It came as a complete shock when her doctor told her she was pregnant – and 4 months pregnant at that – when she went for an examination to see why she hadn’t been feeling well.

Due in April, she took March off work to prepare for the baby  but Daniel wasn’t done surprising her yet.  She’d had a few complications during her pregnancy but as she entered the last month, she felt good.  Last weekend, she started feeling a little off and decided to visit the doctor Monday morning.  Early Monday morning rolled around and “C” was in pain.  Within 2 hours, Daniel was born right there in her home, close to 4 weeks early.  She was all alone except for her 18 year old daughter and the 17 year old daughter of her best friend.  Immediately after he was born, they caught a taxi to the hospital to finish the rest of the delivery and get baby Daniel checked out.

I am amazed and in awe of her for the entire process.  While I know many women have given birth at home and continue to do so in many parts of the world,  I don’t know anyone personally who has done it recently, especially without the help of a doula or a medical professional.  Thankfully, everything turned out fine and both Mom and baby are doing well.

Daniel is tiny and adorable – he currently weighs 2.2 kilos (4.85 lbs) at 9 days old.  His little wrist is about the size of my thumb.  It’s fairly common for babies to be born small(er) than North American standards but even Daniel is considered tiny here!  He’s eating well and has gained 11 grams since he was born.  I’m certain with his entrance to the world, he’ll grow to be a strong boy and man.


Funny Little Story

11 01 2012

It was a friend’s birthday yesterday and a group of us ladies decided to go out for a late afternoon drink to a little place downtown on the water.  One of the ladies ordered a gin & tonic but emphasized that she’d like just a little gin (they have a tendency to pour half and half here.)  We drank our drinks and when it came time to go we began to break down the bill.  We noticed the server had forgot to charge for the gin and being the good people we are, we let her know so she could fix it.

Well she explained to us that the gin was free because it was just a little .

I saw it and it was clearly a full shot in the cup.

Lessons learned –

Alcohol really is cheap here.
Next time I feel like a highball, order ‘just a little’ and the booze is on the house!


An Evening with the Ladies

9 01 2012

Expat housewives are always looking for something to do, particularly, another social event to organise.  We tend to do a ladies night every couple of months which switches up our normal morning cafés and it gives us something to look forward to.  This time, our Japanese friend proposed a dinner at her house and invited the women who walk in the morning.

Generally, we each bring a dish and wine or champagne to drink.  This time I decided to make a cheesecake.  Like, a real one.  I’ve made a few things that call themselves cheesecake but they’re really just dessert with cream cheese in them.  I knew it was a bit ambitious as I’d never made one before and I had heard they were a bit finicky but I felt I needed to make a proper showing.  Many of my housewife friends here are fantastic cooks and they always seem to have something delicious to bring.  I, on the other hand, am new to this housewife stuff and while I can certainly cook, I wouldn’t say I’m great at it.  I usually opt to bring an easy appetizer or if I can get away with bringing beer or wine I’m even happier because I’m never very confident about sharing what I make.

I kept my fingers crossed while rounding up the ingredients hoping everything I’d need would be in stock.  It was… but it certainly wasn’t cheap.

This cheesecake was going to cost almost $60 to make!

I joked with my friends that it had better work out or we were eating anyway and they would smile and tell me it was fantastic regardless!  Luckily, it was a success!  Aside from a few cracks when cooling (I’ll do a water bath next time) it turned out perfectly.

It tasted better than it looks here…

All in all, we had a lovely night and delicious food was brought by all.  I even boosted my baking confidence a bit!

New Friends?

26 10 2011

Since we returned to Gabon, I’ve been walking with a group of ladies.  I know it doesn’t sound like much but in Port Gentil it is.  We walk a long the ocean as it’s really the only place in town where there is a semi-sidewalk and the road is fully paved so we aren’t dodging cars.  In 30+ degree heat, at the end of our 45 minutes, we’re drenched.

We often walk first thing in the morning in hopes to avoid the more intense heat later on in the day.  A few weeks in, 3 stray dogs joined us on our walks.  They were quite nice and didn’t bother us at all.  They’d tag a long and when we reached the beach area they’d take off running and swimming and catch up to us again later.  Then they disappeared.  We walked for a week with no sign of them so we figured they’d moved to a different area of town.

One morning we walked our normal route and half way down the beach there pops up one of the dogs that used to walk with us.  He ran over to join us and we laughed as we realized that that particular morning, he was in a pack of 9.  All 9 came followed him.

So there we are, walking down the street with 9 dogs taking up half the road trying to walk alongside us.  We passed a police checkstop and they started by congratulating us on our exercise (not normal to see a group of white women walking) and then laughed as they commented on our ‘friends.’  Taxis honked and other expat friends who happened to drive by killed themselves laughing at the site of us.

I sure hope that if they join us again in the future it’s back to the group of 3 as 9 is just way too many dogs!

What do you do?

20 10 2011

When you meet someone new one of the first things you ask is, “What do you do?”  It’s an easy conversation starter and in our culture, our career is so much of our life.  I defined myself as a teacher before anything else, especially in the first couple of years of teaching, because my profession consumed the majority of my life.

In the expat community, the wives are defined by their husband, their home country, their language and the company they are with.  When you meet a newcomer the first questions you ask are, “What company are you with,” or “Where are you from,” and even, “What does your husband do?”  Here, we’re all housewives.  If we asked one another “What do you do,” I think the response would be “Nothing really.”

Today, after our morning walk, we stopped for a coffee.  A girl I’ve known for quite some time now asked me, “What did you do at home?”  I explained that I was a teacher and she told me that she was a petroleum engineer.  I found it so odd that we’ve been acquaintances for so long now and neither of us knew what each other did, or I suppose, used to do.  Then I started thinking, I don’t know what the majority of my friends used to do.  Even the ones I’m quite close with.  Do all of us have these past lives that we hardly ever talk about?