The Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award

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One of the things I love about writing this blog is that it has connected me with a huge, warm, supportive community of bloggers. Isabel, an Australian living in China who blogs over at Nanjing Nian, nominated me for The Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award, recognizing the contribution of women bloggers around the world. I’m very honored to be nominated – thanks so much, Isabel!

There are a few rules that go along with the award. I must acknowledge the blogger that nominated me (check!), answer her 10 questions, nominate 10 worthy bloggers, and ask them 10 questions. Read on!

What inspired you to start traveling?
When I was in high school, I became friends with a French exchange student named Marion. She invited me to spend a month traveling with her and her family in France the summer before my senior year. It was my first experience traveling abroad, and I loved every minute of it! Her family took me to from Amiens, to Paris, to the Alps in the south of France. I was very much bitten by the travel bug that summer, and couldn’t wait to see more of the world!

How did you come up with your blog name?
Mgeni is a word in Kiswahili meaning foreigner, guest, visitor or stranger. I might still be mgeni, but Kenya has very much become my home!

What has been your WORST travel experience?
When I was in graduate school, I did a summer internship in Tanzania. I took a bus from Dar-es-Salaam (the de-facto capital) to Mwanza (on the southern shores of Lake Victoria) to do some field research. The daylight part of the ride was actually really enjoyable! I was treated to beautiful scenery in the Pare and Eastern Arc mountains, and just as the sun was setting, I caught my first glimpse of snowcapped Mount Kilimanjaro. Once the sun went down, however, the ride became fraught with problems, from the bus door falling off (the bus driver painstakingly tied it back on with twine), to a break down that left us on the side of a dark, deserted road for many hours, to a motion-sick child… We arrived in Mwanza over 30 hours later, tired, grumpy, and a bit funky from almost two days with no shower… :)

What are the top three places on your travel bucket list?
In no particular order: a big tour of Southeast Asia, a road trip across the United States, and a cruise to Antartica.

What were you doing before you started blogging?
I used to work in humanitarian aid for Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders. While with MSF, I worked in Uzbekistan, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, and Haiti. It is an amazing organization that does remarkable work!

What is your favorite quote of all time (doesn’t have to be travel related)?
“One of the deep secrets of life is that all that is really worth the doing… is what we do for others.” ~Lewis Carroll

If you could pick anyone (dead or alive) to sit next to on a long-haul flight, who would it be?
No one! I hate talking to strangers on flights… I’m so antisocial on planes, so even if I was sitting next to the Dalai Lama, I would still put in earphones and pretend to be asleep. :)

What is your most popular blog post?
I wrote a post about a mommy getaway weekend at Olerai, a luxury cottage on the shores of Lake Naivasha. I left my girls at home, and enjoyed a relaxing weekend surrounded by grazing zebra and giraffe. It was so much fun, I went back a couple of months later with the whole family!

What is the best piece of advice anyone has ever given you?
Years ago, my friend Lindsay passed on some packing wisdom that was passed on by her own mom: always pack your swim suit. Always. Even if you’re going snowshoeing. Because you just never know if you’ll need it! :)

As part of this award, I must nominate another 10 female travel bloggers. I would like to nominate these ten talented traveling ladies:
Lisa from Life in Dar
Jess from Gypsy Momma
S from towels packed, will travel
Natasha from From Philly to Chile
Naomi from Hello. Hello. Hola.
Olga from The European Mama
Sophia from Think Say Be
Sara from Outland-ish
Rachel from A Kenyan-Texan family
Jo from Freetown Fashpack

Please go check out these wonderful blogs and show them some love – they’re all amazing writers / photographers doing incredible things! And thanks again, Isabel, for the nod!

My questions are:

  1. What are the top three destinations or experiences on your wish list?
  2. What is the most memorable food you’ve had while traveling?
  3. When you are not traveling and blogging you are… (fill in the blank) ?
  4. Is there anywhere you would never, ever, in a million years return to?
  5. What do you enjoy most in other people’s blogs?
  6. What type of carry-on luggage do you have and what’s in it?
  7. What’s the first thing you do when you get to a new destination?
  8. What inspired you to start traveling?
  9. How did you come up with your blog’s name?
  10. What do you never leave home without?

This was a fun blog to write and I look forward to learning new things about each of these interesting ladies. Thanks so much for participating!

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Things I love about home: walks in the neighborhood

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One of the wonderful things about being at my mom’s house for the summer has been the long walks we’ve been taking around her neighborhood. She lives in a leafy, suburban area, with lots of interconnecting roads and cul-de-sacs. There are so many different places to take a stroll!

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When the girls were jet lagged, we would go out for a long stroll early in the morning, still in our pajamas, enjoying the cool morning air. Often we were the only people outside, walking around while the rest of the world was still waking up.

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I would love it if we could take neighborhood walks like this in Nairobi, but we live in a part of Kilimani with few sidewalks and lots of traffic, so strolls aren’t really an option for us. We are enjoying them as much as we can while we can here in the US!

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Do you take family walks where you live?

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Things I love about home: tea parties with Nonnie

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My mom has enjoyed having tea parties at home with the girls over the past few weeks. She brews up a pot of herbal tea (Almond Sunset – Claire’s favorite!) in a real tea pot, and serves the tea in beautiful bone china tea cups. (Heidi gets a little metal tea cup from the girls’ play tea set.)

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I don’t know if it’s the special herbal tea, or the excitement of the special tea cups, or if it’s the ritual of the process, but both girls really love these tea parties!

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It makes me realize that we don’t always need to do something elaborate to share a special moment with our kids. Sometimes it’s just as simple as brewing a pot of tea… :)

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Things I love about home: children’s theatre

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I took Claire to her first play a couple of weeks ago, and she loved it! There is a Children’s Theatre in my mom’s town, and they did a summer production of Goodnight Moon, based upon Margaret Wise Brown’s book of the same name. Continue reading

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Family traditions: the al fresco bush bath

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One of my favorite family traditions is treating our kids to an al fresco “bush bath” whenever we travel. (You may remember me talking about this in my recent post for Cup of Jo’s Motherhood Around the World!) Continue reading

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Things that are weird about home: bizarre prepared foods

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One of the things that always shocks me when I come back to the U.S. from being abroad is the supermarket. The supermarkets in the U.S. are huge, with an enormous assortment of goods. The sheer selection can be overwhelming. I’ve gotten used to it over the years, and I’m not always quite so stunned anymore. But I have noticed something during this visit that I find completely weird: a variety of processed, prepared, packaged foods that I simply cannot understand. Continue reading

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Things I love about home – The Children’s Museum

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We’ve taken Claire and Heidi to this Children’s Museum twice now (most of the photos in this post are from last year, check out how young the kids look!). The Children’s Museum of Richmond such a fun place! I can’t help but wonder what it would take to set up something like this in Nairobi. To my entrepreneurial Kenyan readers – can you make this happen? :) Continue reading

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Motherhood Around the World

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Today I am so very very excited to be featured on my absolute favorite blog, A Cup of Jo! Every summer, Joanna does a fascinating series called Motherhood Around the World, featuring interviews with American mothers living abroad. I am thrilled to share tales about motherhood in Kenya with all of Joanna’s readers! Continue reading

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Introducing….

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Those of you who have been reading my blog over the years know my children as Sweetpea and Sugarplum. It may (or may not) surprise you to find out those are not their real names! When I started this blog, I really struggled with the decision of whether to use the kids’ names. In the end, I came up with the pseudonyms Sweetpea and Sugarplum, in an attempt to protect my daughters’ identities in a small way. Continue reading

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Where we wore, July 2015

Our local babywearing group, Babywearing Love Kenya, has a tradition of sharing photos of some of the places we wore our babies each month. Check out all the babywearing adventures our members had in July 2015:

Wearing my 3 months old around the house with a Toto Wrap...

Wearing my 3 months old around the house with a Toto Wrap…

Continue reading

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