I knew we'd crossed some line the day I heard Matthew call his zippered sweatshirt a "jumper". He's even taken to calling England "the U.K." It all sounds quite fancy, but rest assured he's American through and through. I took him to a Tea Farm today. Amidst our discussion of politness over lunch on the lawn, he decided to show me where you're supposed to put your cloth napkin when you're eating with good manners...
It was a good day overall. Since I had off for President's Day, I assumed it only natural that Matthew's American school would, as well. With Matthew and I the only members of the family who didn't get to visit the Kiambethu Tea Farm when Oma and Opa were here, it seemed like the perfect Mama/Son day out. Course, after we both got excited for our adventure, I learned that he didn't have the day off afterall, so I made the responsible decision to keep him out of school. Heck- I haven't had alone time with him since we got to Africa, and we've both missed that.
Truth be told, despite the possible enrichment possibilities one might imagine justifying for a day playing hookie in the Kenyan countryside, it wasn't the most riveting or educational experience for a 7 year old boy with ya-yas. He seemed much happier playing with the tub of legos on the front porch or petting the dogs than listening to Fiona talk about her Grandfather establishing the tea farm in 1910 or how Kenya's the 3rd largest exporter of tea around the world.
But, maybe there's something to be said for making sure to carve out time with your old Mum (achem, I mean "Mom"), who works a lot and barely remembers to remind you of your homework. We made sure to do lots of math problems on the drive back through the rolling tea farm hills (Matthew's idea, not mine actually). And, Matthew made sure to tell me at least 3 times throughout the day that he was excited to go to the tea farm, but he's most excited to spend the day with me. :)
I do hope he remembers the donkeys on the side of the road, the tea pickers dotting the countryside, the funny Banana-related names of the banks and sidestreets in the small town called "Banana Hill", how you pick only the tender tops of the tea plant and it grows back more fully like we picked basil back in Nyack, the taste of freshly squeezed passionfruit juice. But, I hope he remembers most of all to throw it all to the wind once in a while and just enjoy your life with someone you love. I hope I can remember, too.
|Polite placement of the cloth napkin|
|Matthew taming the local Wildlife|
|Serious Nature Walk with Kikukyu Elder|
|Tea Pickers in Limuru|
|Tea Picker Apprentice|
|Matthew and Mama Together|