That’s hello in Swahili – jambo – so jambo everyone!
First and foremost, I cannot write this October/November post without mentioning that Marc has now officially voted for the first time as an American citizen! He sure chose a dramatic year to make his voting debut. Either way, our absentee ballots are in…
And onto the bulk of this blog update, Kenya! An education conference for work sent me to Nairobi, Kenya a few weeks back, hence the Jambo Kenya! title. We simply couldn’t miss the opportunity to make a family trip of it, so Marc joined me for some sight seeing and safari in Kenya before the conference. Two yellow fever vaccines, some malaria pills, and a 16-hour flight through Cairo, Egypt later, we found ourselves in Nairobi, Kenya, arriving at 3:30 in the morning. It was quite a day of travel. Here we are on our Egypt Air flight thankful that all went well.
And with a safe arrival began our African adventure…
The video says it all, really, but here are some of the highlights of our trip:
- Visiting the African Endangered Wildlife Fund where we fed and kissed the endangered Rothschild’s giraffe!
- Marc spotting lions (his favorite!) on safari in the Masai Mara National Reserve
- Andrea spotting elephants on safari (her favorite…)
- Picnic lunch under savannah trees in the Masai Mara – Lion King brought to life!
- Visiting a local Masai village
- Ending our trip with a visit to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Fund where we played with and adopted a baby, orphaned elephant and met a blind rhino
We got to do some pretty amazing things on this trip, and for that we are both thankful beyond measure. Our visit of the Masai village, in particular, was quite humbling, reminding us of how fortunate we are to not only live the way that we do, but also to have the ability and opportunity to take trips like this around the world. But somehow at the end of all of it – Kenya, safari, the Masai villagers, the giraffes, the elephants, everyone and everything we encountered – we were taken away from our usual travel high, and, instead, brought back to earth, to a more grounded, raw, simple version of ourselves.
Travel is wonderful and we are certainly advocates for and have benefitted from the growth, flexibility, and open-mindedness that it uniquely teaches. That being said, Marc and I seem to have reached our travel capacity and this trip quickly became the last “hurrah” of our traveling selves (at least as a couple), and man oh man were we keenly aware of how fortunate we were to get to end that chapter with a real “bang” on a Kenyan safari.
So, to Kenya, we came, we traveled, we learned, we saw and we left different people than we were before. And while we certainly would have benefitted from a more relaxing vacation (and are both still recovering!), we’ve come to appreciate the fatigue, the challenge, the discomfort that you offered on this trip. Our first 5 years of marriage (to be celebrated in December…!) we searched and struggled to find ourselves and filled the gaps in that time with moves, different jobs, travel, and “adventure,” all of that having culminated and led to our current African existence. It’s time, now, to slow things down and focus on a more grounded approach to our life. We might actually be ready to “settle down,” at least in a Marc and Andrea version, and believe it or not, Kenya, you’ve given us the green light to do just that. So, thanks for being part of our story, for celebrating a bittersweet, beautifully demanding 5 years of marriage with us, and for welcoming a new chapter into our lives filled with adventure of a different kind. What will this chapter bring? Who knows. Stay tuned, there are still many more stories to tell…
30-Minute Coconut Curry – Super rich, but super delicious. I especially like the coconut quinoa. Not an everyday-of-the-week kind of dish (because for us it was very filling), but definitely a quick and easy recipe when you have a curry craving.
Got extra quinoa? Make this! Dark Chocolate Quinoa Breakfast Bowl
Spicy Roasted Chickpeas – Love these as an everyday snack option.
Zucchini Basil Soup with Fried Shallots – In my version of this soup, I omitted the red pepper flakes (Marc does not enjoy spice) and added about a 1/2 cup of coconut milk as well just for added creaminess. 🙂
Spiced Parsnip Muffins with Maple-Cardamom Cashew Cream – Loved these muffins!
And I think Marc loved these muffins even more…Almond Spiced Honey Oatmeal Muffins. I added shredded apple to these for a more seasonal muffin.
For lovers of coconut and a fun twist on almond butter…Almond Joy Butter
And, finally, I regularly make these raw brownies for snacks during the week. They’re simple, easy, and freeze well… 5-Minute Espresso Walnut Brownies. You can omit the espresso if you’re not a fan.
You might notice, and I think it’s safe to say, that my two favorite whole food, plant-based cooking blogs at the moment are Minimalist Baker and Dishing Up the Dirt. Both my style of cooking, based out of Oregon, and offer simple, quick, and easy recipes for the home cook! I post only some of their recipes that I’ve tried and that are preferred for my family, but check out their websites for even more if you like the recipes I’ve posted.