It’s been over a month since I’ve posted. Sorry about that. It’s been a whirlwind of visiting home for the holidays and hectic craziness at work. Last I wrote I was about to take off for the US for the holidays. Mike and I spent 6 days in LA, 6 days in Chicago, and 1 night in DC for a wedding. That last travel day was horrendous: DC to LA, 6 hour layover in LA, LA to London, 8 hour layover in London, London to Dar, 6 hour layover in Dar, then finally Dar to Nairobi. Whew! We were beat.
But here are some of the highlights from our visit home.
We got to spend a half day in NYC because we had to spend 1 night there due to our flight layover on the way back home. This was really nice because it broke up our flights a bit and we got to see NYC at one of my favorite times: Christmas! It was freezing and we didn’t have our cold weather gear with us, so we were lucky enough to borrow some things for the day since we were staying at my brother’s apartment. Early morning, we took the subway to Grand Central and walked along 5th avenue to see the tree at Rockefeller Center and the beautiful windows at Bergdorf’s. They always have the best windows!
It was funny that after being away for so long, we definitely had moments that lit us up, like: Starbucks! Egg sandwiches with manchego and chorizo from the market! Subways! Oh New York, how I love thee.
Then it was off to LA, where the jet lag hit us pretty bad for about half the week. LA is always busy packed because I have a lot of relatives and friends to see. You can bet that every meal is planned! It was all about what do we want to eat that we can’t get in Nairobi. For us, that’s Asian food and sushi. They have it here, but it’s nowhere close. So we went to the usuals, Cho Dang for soon dubu (Korean tofu stew), Nozomi for the uni bowl (sea urchin sushi), Din Tai Fung for soup dumplings, and of course home cooked food for Christmas.
It was nice to walk around Hermosa Beach one night and we got to see an amazing sunset. The ocean was jet black and the sun was already down, but the horizon was still lit up with orange. It was surreal being at the end of the pier and staring into the blackness. It was unusually clear that day, not a cloud in the sky.
After LA, we headed to Chicago to see Mike’s family. Matt and Sue moved into a gorgeous new home so that was really fun to see and they a kitchen that is to die for. We especially loved seeing our niece and nephew, Hailey and Mitchell. Aren’t they the cutest?
Since it was freezing in Chicago, we didn’t much outdoors, but Mike and I went on mall walks with his mom and dad at the huge Gurnee Mills outlets. It was pretty hilarious because Mike kept trying to cut corners. New Year’s Eve, Matt and Sue had some friends over and we cooked a huge feast of lobsters and steak. We saved the lobster shells to make some stock, and had some delicious lobster risotto the following day. I used this recipe and added 1/3 cup cream and shredded Parmesan cheese at the end. Also added asparagus and mushrooms to give it some good texture. So yum.
One really fun activity we did was going to Hailey’s school to collect chicken eggs. Her school has a farm on the grounds where the kids can volunteer to help take care of it. Hailey loves egg collecting, so we were lucky to have her show us the ropes. You go into the chicken coop and reach in to collect the eggs on the shelves. Then there’s a whole process of how you clean the eggs and check for any cracks with a light. Was such a unique experience and we brought home some freshly laid eggs. In total, we packed 98 eggs into cartons! And that was the second collection of the day too.
After Chicago, we did a whirlwind 24 hours in DC for one of Mike’s college friend’s wedding. Was fun to see his William & Mary friends and of course we always love going to weddings.
After that, it was time to head on the plane for the long long journey back. It was so nice to be home though and we miss our friends and family very much!