Thoughtless Words Get Me Into Trouble (Again)

Families in the LopSo, I was asked to contribute to a Chicago parenting site called Families in the Loop last month. Their tagline is “where parents let loose.” In other words, they say what they actually think, not what they are supposed to think. And they swear a lot. (They’re all kinds of awesome.)

So, I wrote this piece called “All I Want for Christmas is to Knock Out My Kid’s Two Front Teeth.” Zaffy had lost her top front tooth, her third one. And it was upsetting to her, just like losing her first two. She vacillated between exhilaration and terror. Laughing and crying. Poor thing didn’t know what to feel.

I felt sorry for her. But I was also annoyed. That’s what got me into trouble. She turned on me when I helped her with her tooth and then I turned on her in a very un-grown-up like way.

It’s not always funny.



Zaffron’s in Love… Again

Zaffron’s in love. The boy is in 5th grade. Much too old for her, if you ask me. This is what it’s like when your second-grader is in love.

On the school grounds:

Mom! There he is! No, don’t look! Mom, I said don’t look. He’s right there! WHY DO YOU KEEP LOOKING?

In the car:

I’m not using his sister to meet him. I liked her before I ever knew she had a brother. I just want to hang out with her even more now!

In bed:

Mom, my tummy has been feeling funny for days. I think it has to do with you know…you-know-who.

In the car:

Well, maybe I’m using his sister a little bit, but I really think she would understand. She gets this kind of thing.

In the kitchen:

Dad, he ran past me today and I felt the wind blow through my hair.

Zaffy’s 13 Secrets About Boys

We’re moving. Which means I’m packing. On Monday, I packed some of the girls’ art supplies. Stuffed between some loose sheets of constructions paper, I found this booklet:

The Secret’s About

Boys By: Zaffy

I now present to you my seven-year-old daughter’s 13 beliefs about boys. Spelling intact.

  1. If Boy’s like you they try to bather you.
  2. Boy’s don’t communicat there feeling’s very well.
  3. Most Boy’s don’t know how to react aroud girls.
  4. Boy’s don’t think before they act.
  5. Boy’s are very playful.
  6. Most Boy’s are always in your way.
  7. Most Boy’s like you but don’t show it.
  8. Some Boy’s aren’t very good at math.
  9. Most Boy’s are always trying to help.
  10. Seretent Boy’s are mean and bossy
  11. Boy’s start to like you when you talk about Star Wars and otter Boy movies.
  12. Boy’s love good food.
  13. Boy’s like to play outdoors.

100 Things You Probably Don’t Know About Me

I read somewhere that on your 100th blog post you should write 100 things about yourself. So, in honor of my 100th post, I present to you…

100 Things that You Probably Don’t Know About Me

  1. I am embroiled in an unhealthy and one-sided love affair with cheap wine.
  2. A colleague and I were once driving in South Africa when we were pulled over by men carrying big guns. When I tell the story now, I say we were pulled over “at gunpoint.” The guns were pointing somewhere… just not at us.
  3. When I was a kid, I wanted to name my future daughter Phronsie Brett, after a character in The Five Little Peppers.
  4. The first time I cried from joy was when my parents told my sister and I that they were going to have a baby. I was ten years old. It was Christmas morning, 1980.
  5. I resent getting old.
  6. The happiest hour of my life was the hour after my husband proposed to me.
  7. I can flip a quarter off my elbow and catch it in my palm.
  8. I learned to drive on a stick shift.
  9. The only time I ever heard my father swear was when he was teaching me to drive.
  10. During the summer between fifth and sixth grade I read 52 books. I thought I was a shoe-in for the Summer Reading Contest. Turns out I was wrong. Another girl won. She read 53 books. Her name was Sally Sokolowski.
  11. Some of my favorite family memories consist of holding séances with my cousins at my grandparents’ house.
  12. The last time I cried from happiness was when I received a 21-seond personal video message from Sean Stephenson.

  13. I once broke up with a boyfriend the day before my birthday. That night a girlfriend took me out to get drunk. Then we decided to dye my hair. It didn’t turn out well.
  14. The hardest I’ve ever laughed was the afternoon that my sister, Angela, and I decided to wax our underarms. I lost my nerve and couldn’t pull off the wax. We spent over two hours trying to melt it off my right armpit using matches.
  15. I am an expert in absolutely nothing.
  16. When my sister, Cori, was a baby, I used to take toys away from her before she was done playing with them. I then handed her something else that I thought was more interesting. When I was in college I was an intern for a PhD student doing a research study on this exact behavior. Turns out mothers who do not allow their children to naturally choose which toys to play with do serious damage to their kids. Sorry, Cor.
  17. I was once slapped by an old woman in the streets of Nepal.
  18. When I was a teenager I would regularly fantasize about going to a pep rally before the “big game.” In my fantasy I would be overcome by the heat of the bonfire and faint into the arms of a cute boy who would instantly fall in love with me.
  19. I’m judgmental and petty. Not all the time. But more often that I like.
  20. I have epilepsy. Several times I’ve lost consciousness and was caught by a cute boy. It sucks.
  21. I am terrified of screwing up my children.
  22. I broke my nose in high school when I was playing right field in a softball game. Pop fly. I lowered my glove for some reason, which allowed my face to catch the ball. When I tell the story, I played shortstop and the batter hit a line drive.
  23. The six weeks I spent in Africa were simultaneously the best and worst six weeks of my life.
  24. I’ve walked barefoot over hot coals three times, walked barefoot over broken glass twice, and broken an arrow with my throat.

  25. I got caught shoplifting from Wegmans grocery store when I was in middle school. Turns out that eating from the bulk food bins with no intent of paying for what you’ve eaten is considered stealing.
  26. I make killer ice cream.
  27. Parenting doesn’t come naturally to me. What? You didn’t know?
  28. I fish for compliments.
  29. The most emotional years of my life were in 1984, 1992, 1994, 2005, 2009, and 2012.
  30. I accidentally flooded my class toilet in Kindergarten because the bathroom was out of toilet paper. I used paper towels instead. The teacher was pissed. She made all the students in class put their heads down on their desks in silence. The intent was that we stay that way until the culprit confessed. I never did.
  31. I care terribly what you think. (It doesn’t even matter if I like or respect you.)
  32. I became engaged to be married at 5 years old. My marriage proposal came from a boy of the same age. He sent it by mail. It was written in white chalk on black construction paper.
  33. My first concert ever was Captain and Tenille.
  34. When Zaffron was born I was terrified of her. Russell took care of her almost exclusively for the first three days.
  35. When I was a kid I had a huge thing for men with mustaches. HUGE.
  36. I had a very happy childhood.
  37. I idolize Harry Chapin.
  38. I won “Most Original Costume” in my elementary school’s costume contest. I was a McDonald’s French Fry Guy. When the local newspaper lined up the various winners on stage to take a photo, my ping pong ball eyeball fell off and bounced off the stage.
  39. I’ve travelled to thirteen countries: Canada, Mexico, Japan, Thailand, Nepal, Swaziland, South Africa, Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Australia, Belize, France, and South Korea.
  40. I’ve fallen in love exactly three times. I’ve never fallen out.
  41. When I was a kid the worst punishment I could receive was being grounded from the family typewriter.
  42. I was a horrible mother to Mgazi for the first 6 months.
  43. I do a mean imitation of a horse.
  44. Last August, I climbed the Waimea Bay rock with the intent of jumping off into the ocean. I lost my nerve. I’ve been marinating in self-imposed humiliation ever since.
  45. I once told a joke to a captivated crowd of family friends that lasted over twenty minutes. The joke was about a giant pink gorilla. I killed it. (The joke, not the gorilla.)
  46. Sometimes I think that Post-Paris Kristine is just a figment of my imagination.
  47. When I was in high school I had a pin on my denim jacket that read, “Once I thought I was wrong, but I was mistaken.” I thought it was original.
  48. My sixth grade class had an ornament-making contest. I made a balsa wood Christmas tree hanging in a balsa wood oval frame. I got disqualified because the teachers thought I didn’t do the work myself. The winner was Sally Sokolowski. She made a God’s eye. Have you ever seen a God’s eye? I could have made a stupid God’s eye in my sleep.
  49. In high school I had a pen name. Myrtle T. Clearwater.
  50. My favorite vacation with my husband was on a Disney Cruise. Don’t ask me. I’m baffled too.
  51. I cried during the last chapter of the last book of Harry Potter.
  52. I have a horrible memory. I don’t know how old I was when I lost my first tooth or got my period.
  53. I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was a kid.
  54. I was 26 years old before I realized that things don’t always turn out “okay.”
  55. I sucked my thumb until I was in sixth grade. The only reason I stopped was because I picked up a fan (while it was plugged in and turned on) and sliced all the skin off my thumb.
  56. I’m not one of those people who have no regrets.
  57. I have seen the Monkees in concert six times. No, this is not one of my regrets.
  58. I’m sometimes embarrassed to say I’m a blogger.
  59. My mom worked for NutraSweet when I was a teenager. Several types of candy used it as an ingredient at the time and they used to send her logoware. I used to walk around wearing a t-shirt that had “WHOPPERS — The Original Malted Milk Balls” printed across the chest.
  60. I think my first memory is of falling down the basement stairs.
  61. A 911 operator once hung up on me during an actual emergency. (Well, it was my friend, Sam, that they hung up on. But the story flows better if I substitute myself for my friend.)
  62. In sixth grade I auditioned for the lead in the Christmas play. When I sang “O Holy Night” for my teacher, she stopped me short and remarked, “Boy, you sure do sing with your mouth wide open, don’t you?” I didn’t get the part. Guess who did? Sally Sokolowski.
  63. I once had a “run-in” with Owen Wilson in a bar in Waikiki.
  64. My favorite joke of all time is The Pig with the Wooden Leg.
  65. If I knew any famous people, I would definitely name drop.
  66. I think I’m funnier than I actually am.
  67. I have a horrible memory. I have no idea how old I was when I experienced my first kiss or what I said in my wedding vows.
  68. In sixth grade I had the best friend in the world. Sally Sokolowski.
  69. My dad taught me that you never boo at a hockey game. And you always clap for a player who makes a good play. It doesn’t matter which team that player is on.
  70. In high school biology class I dissected a grasshopper and wore his leg on my yellow sweater the rest of the day — like a gruesome corsage.
  71. My favorite and boldest Halloween costume was a short dress accompanied by a a bow with a simple gift tag tied around my neck that read, “To: Men. From: God.”
  72. I adore hyperbole.
  73. My favorite books of all time are: A Prayer for Owen Meany, Life with Father, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Straight Man.
  74. I value honesty more than almost any trait. Honesty made more attractive by decorative details is even better.
  75. When I was a kid, I memorized the Announcer’s Test. My dad taught it to me and my sister during long drives. If we made a mistake, he’d stop and we’d have to wait until the next long drive to try again. My dad memorized it by listening to Jerry Lewis say it, just one time, on the radio. I can still repeat it to this day.
    • One hen.
    • One hen. Two ducks.
    • One hen. Two ducks. Three squawking geese.
    • One hen. Two ducks. Three squawking geese. Four Limerick oysters.
    • One hen. Two ducks. Three squawking geese. Four Limerick oysters. Five corpulent porpoises.

    And on and one until number 10…

    • One hen. Two ducks. Three squawking geese. Four Limerick oysters. Five corpulent porpoises. Six pairs of Don Alverzo’s tweezers. Seven thousand Macedonians in full battle array. Eight brass monkeys from the ancient, sacred crypts of Egypt. Nine apathetic, sympathetic, diabetic old men on roller skates with a marked propensity towards procrastination and sloth. Ten lyrical, spherical, diabolical denizens of the deep who haul stall around the corner of the quo of the quay of the quivery, all at the same time.

  76. When Russell and I were dating, I accidentally backed my car into his ex-girlfriend’s car in a parking lot. It was a total accident. I swear.
  77. I have an intense dislike for the aloha shirt.
  78. I scored in the 97th percentile on the verbal portion of my GMAT. Don’t ask me. I’m baffled too.
  79. I once had a fist-fight with a neighbor boy on my front lawn. I was protecting my sister’s honor. In my version of the story, I won.
  80. During my sophomore year of college I owned and operated a singing telegram company.
  81. I was baptized when I was thirteen years old. It was a full-on dunking.
  82. The first time I got drunk was in eighth grade. Gin.
  83. My mother used to say I was never happy unless I was complaining. Thirty-five years later, I think I finally agree with her.
  84. In sixth grade my friends and I put a girl on trial for stealing my Rubik’s Cube. We appointed her a lawyer and rigged the jury. The verdict came back guilty. We also planted the Rubik’s Cube in her locker. I’ve always wanted to apologize but I can’t remember who we did it to.
  85. My first job was at Kentucky Fried Chicken.
  86. I breast-fed Zaffy until she was 22 months old. By that time she could ask for it by name. (It got a little freaky.)
  87. I believed in Santa Claus until I was in sixth grade. When my parents finally told me the truth I locked myself in the bathroom and alternately sobbed and shouted “YOU LIED TO ME” through the door.
  88. I fervently defend my right to tell my children that there is indeed a Santa Claus.
  89. In seventh grade I started drinking Diet Coke. I hated the taste but kept drinking it because I thought it was cool. Now I crave it.
  90. At the age of forty-two I started drinking coffee. I hated the taste but kept drinking it because I thought it was cool. Now I crave it.
  91. As a kid, I loved to play the 1980 Atari 2600 version of Space Invaders. I even remember flipping the game. (When you reach 10,000 and the score flips back to zero.)
  92. Once I was trick-or-treating at a neighbor’s house and I stood on the wrong side (the hinge side) of the screen door. I could barely see out of my costume and when the lady in the house opened her screen door I didn’t move out of the way. The door knocked me off the porch and into the bushes. My arms were pinned to my sides and I couldn’t move so there I stayed, wedged between the house and her bushes until my sister grabbed my dad from the bottom of the driveway, and he came and pulled me out. The lady was mortified so I got extra candy. Such is the life of a french fry guy.
  93. I’ve gone to a nude beach. I even took off my clothes.
  94. Until recently, I believed that pride was a sin.
  95.  I have never had a cavity.
  96. The best I ever felt about my body was when I was pregnant with Zaffron.
  97. I’m a piss-poor long-distance friend.
  98. Growing up in Buffalo, New York, I had a very sheltered childhood. Everybody I knew was white. There were a couple of black kids in school and one Chinese boy in church. (Where’d you disappear to, Peter Ho?) Except for the congregation at my church, everyone I knew was Catholic. 90% of the kids at my high school were Polish. Imagine my surprise when I got to college and discovered that the Italian boy I had been dating for three weeks was actually from India.
  99. Five days ago I dyed my hair blue.
  100. I love myself.

Mom, You’re a B.M.

In the car. This is what I heard:

Zaffron: Mom, you’re a B.M.

Before I reacted I took a deep breath. Seemed like this was a lot to take so early in the morning.

Me: I’m sorry, Zaff. Did you say that I’m a B.M.?

Zaffron: No, I said that you are THE B.M.

Me: Zaffy, what does that mean?

Zaffron: It stands for Best Mother.

Me: Oh, thank you, sweetie.

Zaffron: Of course, you’re also my O.M.

Me: Your Only Mother?

Zaffron: Yep.

Me: I’ll take it.

Will Love Myself for Food

So, I’ve been pretty good with doing my mirror affirmations lately. On Saturday morning, I decided to ask the girls if they wanted to join me. Simple request, right? Great way to bond with my girls, right? Excellent tool to provide them as a mother who cares about raising self-confident, fulfilled little kids, right?

Me: Hey girls. Mommy’s going to do some mirror affirmations. Want to do them with me?

Zaffron: What are they?

Me: They are an exercise that you do to fill your heart with love. You look into a mirror for three minutes and tell yourself that you love yourself.

Zaffron looks at me like I’ve lost my mind. I’m inexplicably compelled to keep talking.

Me: No, it’s good stuff. Really! You’ll feel great afterwards.

Mgazi looks at her sister and then back at me, a matching expression now on her face.

Mgazi:  I think Zaffron thinks that what you are saying is boring.

Me: It’s not boring! (I say this strongly). It’s good for you. (I say this kinda weakly, baffled at the unexpected turn the conversation has taken.)

Mgazi: I think Zaffron is right that it sounds boring. But I’ll do it with you. If you give me something.

Me: What? Okay, first of all, Zaffy hasn’t said ANYTHING is boring. She hasn’t said anything at all! Second of all, I am not giving you money to do mirror affirmations, Mgazi.

Mgazi: I don’t want money. I want cereal.

Zaffron: I am kinda hungry, Mommy.

Me: I am not going to bribe my children so that they’ll love themselves. Forget it.

I leave the room defeated by yet another one of my hair-brained parenting ideas. Mgazi calls out after me.

Mgazi: Are you saying “no” to the cereal?

Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It <– 10 Reasons to Read this Book Now!

A friend of mine from college wrote a book entitled, Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It. The ideas in the book changed my life. They can change yours too, if you let them.

Here are my top 10 reasons why you should read this book.

1) You can trust the author. Kamal Ravikant is a Silicon Valley entrepreneur who found himself at rock bottom – a soul-sucking, heart-crushing, body-wrecking bottom. He pulled himself out of that mess with a simple vow to love himself fully, deeply, and completely. He has no motive – not to make money, not to become famous. He just wants to share what he learned with other people so they can maybe avoid going through what he went through.

2) The book is blessedly short. You can read it in under an hour. The author isn’t a scientist, psychologist, or personal development guru. He’s just a guy. Like you. Like me, but not a girl. Having zero credentials works here because he doesn’t spend pages and pages boring the reader to hot “get-to-it-already” tears explaining why he’s qualified to write the book. Nor does he waste our time with scientific gobbly-gook about how the brain works.  (That’s the point at which I normally put a book like this down – for good.) He simply explains the exercises as he does them, encourages you to make them your own, and wishes you luck. Minimal pontification. I’m a fan.

3) The cover kicks ass. I know you are not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but in this case an exception should be made. The cover stops you cold — makes you think. The book does too. I’ve read it half a dozen times and I still go back and reread, rethink, analyze and dissect. The cover was designed by Sajid Umerji. I think he’s a rock star.

4)  Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It comes highly recommended by really cool people. James Altucher, who encouraged Kamal to write the book, wrote an incredible review immediately after reading it. James is a trader, investor, writer, and entrepreneur who brought himself back from the brink more than a few times. He knows good stuff. This book is good stuff. (Tim Ferris recommended it too!)

5) It’s a steal! It’s 99 cents if you buy the kindle version on Amazon. (Did you know that you don’t have to have a Kindle in order to read a Kindle book? You can download kindle software for free on your PC or Mac.) Or it’s $4.99 for the paperback version. I bought both. My life is better because of my version of the practice Kamal outlines in this book. MY. LIFE. IS. BETTER.

6) The practice that Kamal describes is simple and easy. It doesn’t mean that it’s not work. It is work. But it’s the kind of work you feel good about doing because the results are instantaneous. They will vary for everyone. We’re not all in the same place in our lives or in our minds. But if you approach your own practice with honesty, openness, and a sincere desire to be compassionate to yourself… you will see change. Big change.

7) The stuff inside works. I’m living proof. Since Paris, I’ve been making some pretty significant changes in my life. Loving myself has made it so much easier to make those changes. Has anyone noticed that Russell is happier lately? That’s because his wife has been happier lately!

8) It’s not a cure. It’s a practice. You have to apply what you are reading. Kamal incorporates this into his message by talking about his own experience with letting things slide. You can’t coast. You can’t be lazy. There are no empty promises in this book. No one says, “read this, your life will change.” Rather, it’s “apply this. There will be magic.”

9) The book is dedicated to me! Yep, you heard me right! It’s dedicated to James Altucher, yours truly, and Sajid Umerji because we “made this book happen.” I am the turkey in between some seriously talented bread in this dedication sandwich, and I am so honored. I earned my spot by reading the book when it was simply a collection of Kamal’s thoughts on what he’d been through. I’m grateful that he decided to share it with people.  Based on the reviews, they’re a pretty grateful bunch, as well.

10) It’s a solid foundation. The practice that I’ve developed from the ideas in this book has become my foundation. When I’m dedicated to it, magic happens. When I’m not, when I allow myself to coast, to be lazy, (those exact things I said you can’t do) the difference is startling.  Things start to feel a little “pre-Paris.” I feel low. It’s easier to feel  sad. Eventually, when I’ve had enough, something will remind me of the one question that Kamal gives us as a tool to return to our practice. It’s my favorite part of the whole book. The one question.

If I loved myself truly and deeply, would I let myself experience this?

No, I would not. I have no reason to ever again not love myself as completely as I possibly can.

And so I begin again, the work that is changing my life and that I expect will continue to do so for years to come.

You should read this book

Zaffy Contemplates a New Sister

Sometimes our family does this thing at dinner where we take turns saying something nice about the person next to us. Today, Zaffy said to Mgazi,” Lulu, if I had a different sister, she wouldn’t be as fun or wonderful as you.”

Aww… then is was Mgazi’s turn to say something nice to the person next to her.

Mgazi said to Russell, “Daddy, if I had a new Daddy, you would be cuter.”

Growing Love for my Daughter

Day 1: Mgazi, Me, and Pastor

Day 1: Mgazi, Me, and Pastor, one of the most amazing people on the planet to whom I will be forever grateful. Pastor spent every day with me for 5 weeks straight.

Luyanda’s birth mother gave her her name. I’ve been told it means “growing love.” Of course, she goes by Mgazi, so that’s what I call her. One week after meeting Mgazi, I was able to bring her back to the guesthouse with me. During that week, I visited her every day at the orphanage. This is what happened during those visits (as written to Mgazi in her lifebook).

Day 1: We met for the first time. You would barely look at me. You held my hand. You wouldn’t smile at me or talk to me.

Day 2: Checking out my mother, her new gogo

Day 2: Checking out my mother, her new gogo

Day 2: You ran into my arms as soon as I got out of the car. I kissed you on your neck — the only clean spot I could find. And my love for you grew.

Day 3: You fell asleep while I was holding you. My love for you grew as I felt your breath on my cheek.

Day 4: You smiled at me for the first time. And you giggled because I tickled you, asking, “Unjani? Unjani?” (How are you? How are you?) My love for you grew.

Day 6

Day 6: I don’t know why she has her hand in her pants.

Day 5: You hugged and cuddled with me. “Unjani? Unjani?” You giggled, but you still wouldn’t talk.

Day 6: You pushed the other children away from me. It was like you were saying, “get away, she’s mine.” Except you did it all without saying a word. My love for you grew.

Day 7: You came home with me. The best day of all.

On day seven, I wanted to believe that I was really going to go get her… bring her home… live happily ever after, but I was wary. The trip so far had been fraught with road bumps. At the same time, I thought it was a good sign that the day was September 9th. Russell will have to verify, but I think we met on September 9th way back in 1994. (Another aside: Before we married, Russell made quite a big deal about wanting to wait 12 years before having children. We waited 10 before having Zaffron. Now, 14 years have passed to get child number 2! If you average that out… 12 years, on the nose! You’re welcome, Honey.)

Day 7:

Day 7: We’re about to leave. Mgazi is extremely quiet and withdrawn.

When I arrived at the orphanage, everyone was inside.  It was just too cold to play outside! The kids were all in one small bedroom just hanging out. Mgazi greeted me warmly. I tried for the umpteenth time to get her to talk to me. She had never said a word directly to me only to her caregivers or friends. I think it had become a game. I would tickle her and jiggle her, while asking, “How are you? How are you?” in a silly, sing-song voice.”Unjani? Unjani?” And she would just stare back at me, holding back giggles. I kept encouraging her to talk to me, “Say, I’m fine! I’m fine! Say, ngiyaphila!” And at that point, where I’m begging her to tell me she’s fine, she would laugh and laugh. Today was no different. She just cackled in response to my cajoling and tickles. I think she thinks my attempts at her language are funny.

She was all smiles and cuddles until I started to change her clothes to leave. She got very quiet and she resembled the girl I met on day one more than the giggly kid I had gotten to know over the last few days. She was nervous. She knew something was up.

We stayed for about ½ an hour, asking last minute questions, saying goodbye to the kids. Mgazi never smiled. She wouldn’t even look at the camera during some hastily arranged group shots.

Finally, after a teary farewell (between me and Mgazi’s orphanage mom) we drove off. Mgazi seemed sad looking out the car window, silently waving her little hand. I felt horrible taking her away from everything she had ever know and loved. So I did the only thing I knew to do. I nuzzled her neck and gave her a little jiggle and tried our standard tickling game.

“Unjani? Unjani?

This time, and I’m so thankful for this, she said in a tiny little raspy voice, “Ngiyaphila,” (I’m fine) before she broke into a fit of giggles.

And that broke the silence. She’s been talking ever since. Of course,  I can’t understand a word she’s saying.

Every once in a while, I think I recognize a word or two. She’ll be singing or babbling to herself, “something something something JESUS! Something something HALLELUJAH! Something something something BANANA!”

It’s music to my ears!

Day 1: Smile kid!

Day 1: Smile kid!

Day 10: After three days with me at the guesthouse

Day 10: After three days with me at the guesthouse

Day 21: We've know each other for 3 weeks

Day 21: We’ve known each other for 3 weeks. This photo was taken after Mgazi and I had already lived together for two weeks.