Moving makes it even worse. Not only are we packing, but we have to worry about security deposits, turning off utilities, changing our address, mail forwarding, etc. Plus, we're not just moving, we're moving abroad. Not surprisingly, that means there's a whole list of additional things we have to do like make a stack passport photos for visas and residency permits, get international driver licenses, figure out what to do with cell phones and car insurance, open accounts with international transaction-friendly banks, get all of our tax information in order 9 months early, file powers of attorney, go to the doctor and dentist, stock up on a year's worth of prescriptions and travel meds (and I'm not just talking malaria-prophylaxis and Immodium-antibiotic cocktails for traveler's diarrhea. Look up the indications for Praziquantel and Albendazole for a quick parasitology lesson), sell or store vehicles, rent storage space, schedule movers, the list goes on and on.
That's the part that isn't fun. The fun part (if you like a challenge in the kitchen) is using up everything and anything you can. I think C takes the cake for creativity. One afternoon he brought me lunch at work. I was expecting sandwiches (let's be honest, I was expecting Jimmy John's). What he brought was a large tupperware of pasta: rotini and angel hair, marinara, sausage, and oriental frozen veggie mix. I was skeptical but I can't pretend that it wasn't delicious. A few weeks ago, he made a spicy, veggie pasta using homemade chipotle salsa as a sauce base because it's all we had. I don't know where he comes up with this stuff but it's impressive. The most impressive "dump" food I made was Black and White Cake from Clinton Street Baking Co. Cookbook that I made to use up pumpkin, buttermilk, brown sugar, powdered sugar, a thing of cocoa powder, cream, butter, and dark chocolate chips. (This cake was super moist chocolate cake frosted with cream cheese frosting and glazed with chocolate ganache. People were pretty excited about it!)
As if we weren't busy enough with packing and preparing for our "trip," my birthday popped up just 4 days before take-off (and not coincidentally it will pop up again as we repatriate next July). By the time my birthday rolled around, I had already packed up all of my kitchen stuff except my Kitchen Aid, a cooling wrack, a spatula, and a tube pan. This year I decided on Angel Food Cake with whipped coconut cream. I can't pretend that the whipped coconut cream was a good idea. It was so disgusting that I was gagging and had to scrape it all off. I replaced the whipped cream with Cherry Garcia ice cream and all was well again, until I had to say goodbye to our kitties as C set off to drive them to a friend's house in Chicago where they will be staying for the upcoming year. (I keep expecting to find someone sleeping in my suitcase, wrinkling and fuzzing all of my clothes, but nope. They're gone.)
Saying goodbye to C and the cats was when it finally started to sink in--we're moving to Africa! We'll arrive in our new home on Monday and spend a few days running errands (buying pre-paid electricity, re-titling our vehicle, buying groceries and other essentials, and who knows what else) before we each start our jobs. The city is currently experiencing both electricity and water shortages, so we've been warned of scheduled load-shedding but unscheduled water shut-offs. We're expecting a lot of candlelit dinners cooked over the grill in our backyard, out of necessity not because we're romantics!
I can't predict when I'll be writing again because let's be honest, I can't predict anything that's going to happen in my life after today! That's overwhelmingly terrifying but exciting. I've always been a planner, though it's time to adapt to a hakuna matata lifestyle. Though the locals won't be speaking Swahili, hakuna matata is very much in their vocabulary. So is ke tla bo bana, see you later!