Here's the rub: In seven weeks, my adopted two-year-old son Taidgh, nicknamed Tiger, and I will be moving to Kenya from Dublin, Ireland. This blog, which I plan to update weekly, is really a toddler's tale of all the adventures/misadventures which ensue for us and those, for better or for worse, who surround us. (As for the subtitle, From Kazakhstan to Kenya, that is also my son's domain: He was born in Kazakhstan to Russian parents, holds both Kazakh and U.S. citizenships, currently resides with me in Ireland, and has already traveled around Europe, America and East Africa.)
Back to the matter at hand. Such a trip! Crazy, you say? Crackers? Nuts? Leave the first-world amenities for third-world chaos? That's what my good pal Mark in Mt. Kisco, NY, thinks. And, I admit, he's one smart cookie.
Here's a recent email exchange:
Mark: Buying a fuel-efficient car makes sense. Locking your doors at night makes sense. Taking vitamins makes sense. Moving to Africa? Doooo tellll...
Susan: How's this: Limited income; great way of life; full-time nanny $150/month; fab friends of 20 years; gorgeous country; wildlife; dashing safari guides; terrific weather (sun, sun, sun vs. rain, rain, rain -- and some of it horizontal!); fluent, Swahili-speaking son; more than fun for visitors; adventurous for me; time and means to write a book and more; perfect cottage on secure grounds in which to live; learning to drive Land rover stick shift on heinous roads; African culture; being a minority (good lesson for anyone); beautiful people in general...not to mention, time to get outta here.
M: Sign me up.
A week later in a phone conversation, Mark reneges. "There's famine and civil unrest in Kenya right now!"
"Well, I guess that's why it's so affordable," I insist.
"Affordable! That's quite a rationale. I don't get it."
I then explain patiently to my pal that Irish logic just doesn't exist (my father was from north Tipperary, so Ireland is half my homeland). One of my favorite gems from a man of the sod is, "Just because it isn't true, doesn't mean it didn't happen." Having lived here for six years, that sums up the nation's thinking for me.
"Besides," I confide in Mark, "Taidgh will have a magical childhood there. And so will I."
He snorts, somewhat appreciatively.
As for my darling son, Tiger's new favorite word these days is Hello. I believe that he extends that welcome every single day to the world at large, wide and wonderful and willing as it is.
Watch out. Here we come.