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Day 2: waterfall hike on the foothills of Mount K, Day 3: beers by the pool...

Day 2: waterfall hike on the foothills of Mount K, Day 3: beers by the pool…

After a couple of relaxed Moshi days with ol’pops, a refreshingly low-key New Years with friends, a fun but exhausting day at Amani (we both have an entirely new level of appreciation for teachers’ need to have long summer breaks after this experience), we’re getting ready for another journey, this time to the muddy plains of Serengeti and the majestic Ngorongoro crater.

As we pack up to leave our beloved B&B (we’re moving into a house-share for the remaining two+ months) and I try my very best not to stress too much about packing our messy little life up, that strange concoction of excitement, anticipation and jitters sets in our travel-bound bellies. We have four nights in open-to-the-wild campsites ahead of us, long drives on shitty roads, a hot air balloon ride, plenty of questionable experiences in poorly maintained and over-used national park toilets, and hopefully an encounter or two with the magnificent beasts of the East African plains. I’m hoping for a few leopards and a rhino sighting. B’s looking forward to coming car-to-face with the famed Serengeti lions. I think we’re all just hoping to avoid the brunt of the later-than-usual seasonal rains and have the safari of a lifetime…

On that note, we wish you all a wonderful, mindful start to the new year. Fill it with happy moments, big plans and everything good and gorgeous in between.

(Whoop-whoop! This is the 40th post on our wee little blog, by the way. Thanks for reading, caring and sharing, folks.)

-K&B

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An empty shell.

It never seizes to amaze me how quickly a cozy, lived-in home can turn into an empty shell of one. I’ve moved enough times to know this strange transformation not only changes how a place looks with the obvious disappearance of pictures and paintings from the walls and furniture too, but also how it sounds. As I was walking through our half-empty flat yesterday, I noticed how the echo was different. Sound seemed to bounce off the walls with a newfound energy; a melancholic if soothing energy for me, an undoubtedly invigorating one for the couple that will move in in a few weeks’ time.

And just like that our home has seized to be. A few days of frantic packing and we were ready to move out this morning. For the sake of sheer nostalgia we’ve decided to keep our mattress here for two more nights and sleep in our shell-of-a-home as we clean it up, so it’s ready to take on a new couple, a new home; one that, no doubt, will look and feel entirely different from ours.

But this shell doesn’t make me sad. Nostalgic, perhaps. A little melancholic, definitely. But somehow not sad. It’s been an amazing flat to live in and these three years have been some of the best of our lives. The strange noise that the gas heater makes as we crank it up in the winter, the insanely creaky floors, the beautiful old plaster cast ceilings, and countless summer evenings spent chilling on the roof terrace… I’d be crazy not miss this, but somehow it seems right to move on, move out and give this shell for someone else to fill with their life, with their energy.

A home is where the heart is, no doubt. But it’s also where life settles for a time and then aches to move on. It sheds extra layers as things are thrown out, and then seeks to settle again, starting the cycle all over.

Goodbye Geigergasse, it’s been real.

– K&B

PS. One of my all-time favorite songs that fits the mood just right.

Inoculated to the max.

So I’ve found myself talking a lot about vaccines lately. We’ve gotten a couple of travel ones before, particularly for China and Southeast Asia but never did I think that for our trip to Africa we would have to get THIS loaded up. I think I received 8 in the last months + an oral one against typhoid that we have to start taking tonight. My little yellow booklet (or as I like to call it my “I’m-certifiably-not-going-to-get-this-disease-at-least-for-a-few-years” pass) is literally full, Boogie’s nearly so. Everything from rabies to meningitis and yellow fever has passed through our veins these past weeks, albeit in inactive form (doesn’t make my immune system any less stressed, I imagine).

Needless to say all of this didn’t come cheap either – this being Switzerland – but when it comes to a whole host of nasty bugs and viruses, Africa and its tropical regions in particular are not ones to mess with. Of course most people there don’t have the privilege of quick and easy access to vaccines or treatments and have to suffer through even the most simple water-borne ones that kill children in particular. Then there’s the “Big M”, of course, which we’ll also have to face, most likely sans prophylactics, except when we visit the most malaria-ridden areas along the coast.

It’ll be interesting to see how this all pans out and if we manage to avoid anything serious. I obviously really, REALLY hope so. Locals seem convinced that even malaria isn’t that big of a threat in Moshi, the city we’re living in, and in any case, the city apparently has a well-stocked pharmacy (whatever that means in relative terms – I’m curious to see) and one of the best, if not THE best hospital in the country.

Fingers crossed and our little yellow booklets firmly in hand. Three weeks to go now.

– K&B