Most people, myself included, love to give advice. If your filters are set right, you can catch the good stuff and forget all the illogical, presumptive and condescending things people say. Jason's advice from the beginning was to keep my expectations low. Redundant? Sure. But so important because #1 Jason knows me and #2 he's spent some time in Africa. With practically subterranean expectations in place, I have been pleasantly surprised at (almost) every turn. Driving is manageable and you can park anywhere-- half sidewalk/half road (pictured), facing against traffic, in the median or completely on the sidewalk. After spending a portion of every day for the last 2 years considering NYC's alternate side regulations, I'm giddy! Pleasant surprise #2 we can escape Maputo and visit South Africa's biggest safari park or Swaziland's lush, green, mountains or pristine beaches in a 3 hour drive. And that's about how long I can stand to be in the car with Cynthia. If you know the me, you know the importance of food is ingrained in my DNA. And in Maputo, grocery stores are well-stocked, fruit stands are abundant, and the restaurants are fantastic (especially if you like seafood). We even found a local CSA that delivers vegetables to the door.
Keeping a sense of humor is also good advice. We spent our first month in an old temporary house. Ant carpet and 3'' spiders aside, routine maintenance issues like leaky faucets were a headache. Water conservation is important to me but extra important in a country where having fresh water is a major issue (!). On an outside leak, we (the guard and I) used a large rock to apply pressure and hold off the steady trickle. After a few days, I could balance that rock perfectly to stop the leak. After a proper evaluation by the fix-it-men ("It's broken."), they returned with the parts (a faucet) and fixed the sink. Hooray! First time I used it, I was covered in freezing cold water. The faucet, approximately three inches too short, didn't come close to reaching into the sink. Instead water hit the backsplash and sprayed all over me. So ridiculous, it has to be funny (or we'd be insane because in 4 short months I have a long list of very similar experiences).
Mostly we love it here. Really. Come visit and we'll prove it!
Coming up... nossa casa, how our babies are adjusting, buying my headlight back, being on house arrest and the egg swiper.