While the rest of us were trekking through the rain and ice getting turkeys and holiday decorations in order, Diane Bowe, her husband David and their two kids, Lena and Anders, were celebrating Christmas in shorts, from their new home in Moshi, Tanzania.
The Bowe’s left their home in Queen Anne for Tanzania back in July while David spends a year working with the Baylor University Pediatric AIDS Corps, and Diane, an aspiring writer, chronicles her life and her family’s explorations in Moshi via her blog, Wide Awake in Africa. And in the six months they’ve been gone they’ve have wasted no time in making the most of their adventure — while we back at home watched the Space Needle fireworks display on New Year’s through the drizzling rain, the Bowe family welcomed in 2010 with a week-long safari through the Serengeti (pictures here and here).
Living abroad for an extended period of time, much less with a family of four, is not something many people get to experience in their lifetimes. But for Diane and David, it was a necessity.
“David and I met in college and share a love of travel, especially to developing countries. When we had children, we didn’t want parenthood to stop us from experiencing the world but knew instead it would take thoughtful planning,” Diane wrote via email. David, who went into medicine with the hopes of helping those most in need, had traveled to remote areas in Central America and Mexico to provide assistance before, but he and Diane had always dreamed of giving their children the rich cultural experience of a year abroad. The opportunity came when their eldest, Lena (who recently celebrated her 12th birthday), transitioned to middle school, an age Diane views as opportune for life abroad.
“Any later, and I think it would be more difficult for the kids to leave friends and their community. It all came together!” she wrote.
Lena, and Anders, 9, are both attending the International School Moshi, where they have each thrived (Lena is the only American in her class, while Anders is one of two) navigating issues of nationality and religion that they would never have been confronted with at home.
“I love how the population of students and teachers from all over the world, forces the kids to confront issues American kids would never entertain, especially in the elementary years. Diversity is not just about skin color, but living in community with people from all walks of life. ISM is a mini United Nations and I don’t think there’s a better environment to learn,” Diane wrote.
Meanwhile, David continues to find his work with pediatric HIV patients immensely rewarding, and Diane has been soaking up every opportunity to write, write, write (and snap quite a few pictures here and there).
When the year is up Diane says they will “definitely come back” to their home in Queen Anne. In the meantime, you can read up on their past adventures entertaining visitors from Seattle over Thanksgiving and finding a Christmas – or Krismasi, rather – tree, as well as those to come. If nothing else, you’ll find the experience was very different from going home for the holidays.
“On both occasions, we had to import turkey from Kenya via our local grocer,” Diane wrote. Nonetheless, they wouldn’t trade the experience for anything.
To read up on the Bowe family’s adventures in Moshi, follow Wide Awake in Africa. (Thanks to Diane and her family for sharing their stories!)