Monday, January 05, 2009

Holiday Musings

- It was a funny holiday. It seemed very short, and very surreal. We didn't do much in terms of traditional celebrations (no tree, no wrapped gifts, no travel, no family), so I'm sure that contributed to it. was a bit of a weird one.

- I made a list prior to going on vacation of all the things I wanted to do. I accomplished about 1/4 of them, though it wasn't really that type of list where you must tick off each little thing. What they say about lists is true - keep a master list full of dreams and large-scale goals, then make smaller ones that are actually feasible for a day, a holiday, etc.

- Regardless, we did managed to go to the beach at Macaneta, go to the pool at Terminus, buy new sheets and towels, and go to Núcleo de Arte to see local paintings and sculptures.

- Maputo isn't the easiest place to have end-of-year guests, as most of the restaurants and tourist attractions are closed for the holiday season.

- Nearly a week of solid rain during said holiday season makes it even more difficult to entertain in the city.

- Despite all the challenges, it is still possible to have a great time with out-of-town visitors. You just have to enjoy drinking.

- The owners of Dolce Vita are keen businesspeople. They were just about the only bar in town consistently open. We had Christmas Eve nightcaps on the verandah there, despite the rain.

- I believe it is the first time in my life I've actually gone out for a drink on Christmas. Perhaps it will become a tradition.

- Speaking of Christmas, I learned (to my embarrassment) that it is a Christmas tree and the act of physically wrapping a stack of gifts that triggers me to remember my Dad's birthday on December 29th. As we did "virtual" presents this year - all ordered online and shipped without us seeing them - I didn't realize that something was missing until much too late. I feel terrible, but my Dad is being quite a good sport about the whole situation, saying that technically this means he is still 62 and not 63, and that perhaps he can do his own take on "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button".

- I will not forget next year, no matter where we are or how we celebrate.

- As for celebrations, Maputo is a bit of a dud as far as New Year's is concerned. Maybe it's because I've had the privilege of passing Reveillon in Rio and San Francisco, two of the most fun cities ever as far as these things go.

- I did wear white, though. At least one tradition managed to creep through!

- We went to a house party, then tried to go out dancing. Coconuts, the only nightclub that was open (and not charging US$90 for a package dinner/dance thing), was completely empty and nonetheless charging $40 per person to get in the door, with no drink credits. I wouldn't pay that to get into most clubs, much less Coconuts! We milled around the parking lot a bit, drove around searching for something else to do, then got frustrated and went home.

- Along the way, we got into a bit of a stressful situation with some acquaintances. I won't go into it, but suffice to say it's crystal clear who "nossa gente" is here in Moz, and who isn't. Again, the fact that Rico and I are not part of any of the usual expat cliques/crowds here is very apparent.

- I am not at all sad about this.

- However, I could do with having some more good Mozambican friends. I know that quality is much preferrable to quantity - at least it is in my book - but it always surfaces during party times and holidays (and when we have guests) that we don't have that many local friends. We do have a few - and they are good ones - but it is complicated. I've hashed over many times in my mind the reasons I believe are behind this, and it is pretty damn complex.

- Still, it is what it is. I'm over trying to overcompensate and force friendships, and I'm also over believing that just because we have a few local friends and are mostly loners here, we aren't having an "authentic" experience in Mozambique.

- I think with each year that passes, I become more of a loner.

- Cats, however, always cheer me up and keep me wonderful company. Especially little 9-week black and white ones, and a big black boy-cat who makes the funniest meows ever.

- As does my husband (not that there is any order to this list). It was wonderful to spend our first Christmas and New Year's together, despite the somewhat anti-climactic nature of it all.

- I didn't make any specific resolutions for 2009. The principal theme that occurred to me is that I want to be a better person than in 2008. I want to be a better wife, a better professional, a better friend, a better daughter, a better cook, a better writer, a better dancer, a better citizen of this world. Not because what I do now is insufficient or unsatisfying; I want to be better in the sense that I want to learn from my mistakes, take risks, reach new heights.

- I am fundamentally happy in Maputo, with our life as it is at this very moment, though sometimes I am at a loss to explain exactly why. We are far from family, far from friends, living in a bit of a bubble. Still, it is home, and perhaps that's what it comes down to in the end.


Jenny said...

Hi Ali! My dad and I were waiting, thinking, "when will ali give us a hallie update on her blog?" enjoying drinking is always key! :) i know they were so blessed to spend the new year with you. I hope to see you soon too, somewhere in the world!

Brandie said...

Happy New Year! Hope you are able to achieve whatever you set your mind and heart out to accomplish this year!

brendan said...

just remember, as long as you have a picanha, an open flame, and cold beer, you'll always have a good time. There is my maputo wisdom.

Ali la Loca said...

~Jenny - I put some photos up on facebook, and will post here when I get a chance as well. I hope to see you, too, somewhere, at some point. Probably in the US, but you never know!

~Brandie - To you, too. Thanks for such a nice wish for 2009.

~Brendan - Yes, it's a pretty much foolproof recipe. :)

Marcia Francois said...

Happy New Year to you and Ricardo.

When will Dion and I have the great pleasure of having you stay with us again?

Love and hugs