The way people react to the tractor…
One final glance at Nairobi, before I return to Holland.
Just for a little while, but I’m really looking forward to it!
The tractor is safely parked at the tractor company in Nairobi.
The morning of the day I was taking it there (see pic above), I discovered that my front left tire had gone flat.
Lucky me, all I had to do was reinflate it with my doctored little bicycle pump (alas, no electricity on my tractor), after which it was up to the tractor mechanic to solve the problem! Hoooo-oooh!
Kosovo can’t come with me to the Netherlands, there’s too much risk of a quarantine, which i can’t afford. I’d love to bring him to show him my home, meet my friends, my family…
Now he’s lodging in a garden, together with loads of fellow dogs he can play around with.
It took a bit of strong language and a lot of sighing, but in the end they allowed me to go on the plane. before I mount the stairs, and enter it, I notice, wide-eyed, that there’s a tractor in front of the plane. My suitcase and all other luggage for the trip loaded upon it!
And that’s it:
“takes over a year of sweat to get about 17.000 kilometers down the road, takes one day to get back where i started!”
I’m coming, I’m so happy!!!
Mum and dad come to collect me from the airport, we have a cup of coffee and move on to visit my twin sister. She’s really, hugely, massively pregnant. For all I know she’s giving birth right this minute. My initial days back here are family days, I promised my parents. Quite a relaxing, nice sensation.
My sister is pregnant!!!! Have I arrived yet?
WOW, that’s one giant belly! As for the rest, she looks exactly the same as always. A bit fatigued, but also radiant. We eat the walnut cake she originally intended to bake at the start of her first contractions. An afternoon in the garden, and I get to feel the baby’s dynamic antics.
I’m staying the night, and I’m thinking: ‘something might happen’. Very late at night i need to make a trip to the bathroom. As I’m tiptoeing past Kirsten’s and Pascal’s bedroom i’m hearing: “Manon, it has started!”
I nudge the door, and I see two persons sitting up in the bed, in the light of a night lamp. For half an hour, my sister squeezes my hand to pulp, ‘sparing Pascal the same fate for a little while longer’. After which I get to have a little more sleep. It’s kind of incomprehensible that I’m able to, but I’m reeeeaaaallllyyyy tired.
Next morning, I enter the living room only seconds after the midwife came in. “it’s going to be a while”, she says.
When mum and dad come to pick me up, around 10.30 am, contractions are already setting in every three minutes.
Pascal is having his shower and I help sis out, ‘dealing with the contractions’. At first, this isn’t working out the way it should at all. ‘boy, I should have gone on a course or something’
But my sister is a real heroine, she remains calm. She probably considers the situation to be ‘way too early for a real panic’.
Three hours along, the baby’s there, about ten times faster than estimated. She’s a girl and she’s called Nienke!
My parents and I get to have a look into the cradle. My mother has tears in her eyes and says:”how beautiful, how beautiful”
Then I get to have my peek, and there’s this marvelously cute doll of a girl under the blankets. She makes the impression of someone who totally failed to notice the excitement of having been born very recently, the way she’s sleeping soundly.
I’m visiting my grandmother the day after. Her first words are: “you haven’t grown any uglier… but you haven’t grown more beautiful either”. I suppose that was meant to be a compliment.
Later on she says: “It’s as if the last time i’ve seen you was only yesterday”. “That’s how it should be, grandma”, I reply.
After that I get to go to Amsterdam, time for real ‘culture shock’ to kick in.
Amsterdam Central Station: Reineke comes to collect me, on a bike!
From here on, it’s all a bit hard to recount events. I was trying to take it easy, even though many things were happening simultaneously.
There’s so many things that need to be taken care of, but tomorrow it’s my birthday and I will celebrate…!!!!
Two months ago, I didn’t know I’d be celebrating here, and if it’s up to me, there will be a campfire. That way I’ll have everyone with me, with every future campfire along the way!
By the end of this month, 28 of september, I’ll be meeting Matty mc Nair, an arctic expedition guide, in Paris, after which I will swiftly return to the point I left off!
Manoooon, where are you?
Kooooooooos, I miss you!
Hope he’s allright.
The lady running his kennel in Kenia says he is, and also that he’s befriended a lot of other dogs…
originally published sept 1 2006