Sorry for the long hiatus, my life has been pretty crazy recently and it doesn’t seem like it will calm down anytime too soon! So backtracking a lot, back to Julia’s visit. She was flying from Virginia Beach, where she was working, up to NYC to catch her flight to Johannesburg. She had booked those two tickets separately since one was for work and the other for pleasure. She had also booked the Joburg-Maputo flight separately, since this often saves a few hundred dollars. So all was good, unless she missed one of the flights—then she would be screwed. The night she was to fly out of Virginia, hail storms in NYC had cancelled all incoming flights, so she rented a car and made the 8 hour drive into this storm to catch her flight to Johannesburg. The good news is that after this her travels went smoothly and on time, so she made her connection to Maputo. I met her afternoon flight (which arrived early, since when does that happen here?!) in Maputo and we went first to the craft market to wander around a bit. The next morning we left early to go up to Casa de Mar with Erin. We spent two beautiful days there, swimming (Julia is from Maine and shamed us into entering what she considered warm water), watching sunrises, playing Bananagrams, whale watching, and reading our books. After that idyllic time we went to Inharrime to visit the mission, so Julia could see where I spent my last two years and to meet the girls and people I had talked so much about. I brought Green Eggs and Ham and The Cat in the Hat for the two girls who are my best English students. Their vocabulary is good enough that we were able to read the books together, though the girls decided it’s a really strange book and, I have to admit, it kind of is. The girls loved playing with and braiding Julia’s beautiful thick curly hair into all sorts of crazy hairdos. She let them play with her camera so a group of the larger girls had it for about an hour, during which they took a few hundred yearbook-like photos of girls posing under trees and in poses that belong on the cover of Cosmo. Each time I go back I am amazed by how much older the girls seem, especially the littlest one. Like Miralda, one of the little devils last year who I would always catch peeing behind buildings, eating things she shouldn’t be eating, and soiling her clothes She’s now a ringleader for the little ones and comes up to me to report who has peed in their pants and refused to change them. I got to show Julia around the town of Inharrime, where she bought about a million capulanas. Sitting on the Inharrime restaurant’s front porch Julia got to watch the buses stopping to pick people up and drop others off and the chaos that ensues as everyone runs to the windows to sell snacks, drinks, and souvenirs. A man came and sat on the porch and played a timbila, the traditional xylophone instrument and a large gathered to watch him, so for once we weren’t the biggest attraction!