1) “Home Date” – You feed and put the kids to bed early, dress up, light some candles, turn on some music, and eat dinner and dessert together - just the two of you. I would say this is, by far, the most common form of dating in Kibuye. Even though you have to make the meal yourself, it usually is at least an attempt at something fancy. Personally, I have learned how to make all kinds of different food (albeit, with some serious failures) that I would have never learned how to make if take-out from a restaurant was an option! “Home dates” have definitely helped me to expand my cooking skillZ. Caleb and I have a reoccurring home date every Thursday night where he destroys me in darts.
McLaughlins at Home
Rachel's homemade Mango Sticky Rice in homemade Carved Bamboo Bowls (by teammate Carlan)
Watts at home (don't worry, Susan is taking the picture)
Us at Home
Sample Meal #1: Fresh Spring Rolls, Crab(less) Rangoon, Dumplings
Sample Meal #2: Ethiopian: one of our favorites
Sample Meal #3: Vietnamese Banh Mi Sanwiches
Thursday Darts: Bullseye!
Caleb Wins (Again)
2) “Date Run” – I need to include this in here because it is a thing. Even though Jason and Heather are the only ones I’ve ever heard of taking a date run, it does happen – for them. While running might be torture for some of us, these two runners love it! They chat the whole way through a 5K in #beautifulBurundi. Impressive. Also, fun fact: Jason actually proposed to Heather on a run!
Heather and Jason (stock photo) :)
3) “Date Walk” – several couples on our team enjoy this activity, including us. The Sunds actually take one every Sunday, and occasionally they stop at the local village “duka” (shop) for some take-out goat brochettes. Brave.
Goat brochettes, anyone?
4) “Piki Date” – you and your spouse on a single dirt bike exploring #beautifulBurundi together. It’s like the date run, except you don’t have to run. Caleb took me on one of these piki dates for my birthday last year. Breathtakingly beautiful.
5) “Canteen Date” – put the kids down, find a sitter, and walk up to the one and only sit-down restaurant in the area: The Hospital Canteen! Have a Fanta! They also serve delicious rice and beans, chips (French fries) and lenga-lenga (greens). Yum! And you don’t have to cook!
The Hospital Canteen
6) “Wednesday 8pm Team Meeting” – I know this doesn’t sound like a date. But for those of us with little kids at home, there is usually a standing order for a middle-school babysitter to come to your house on Wednesdays at 8pm so that the adults can go to a team meeting. Caleb and I try to sit together at these meetings on the couch. Sometimes we hold hands. No kids!! Woot!
(I don't have a picture of this. Who takes pictures at a team business meeting, anyway?)
7) “Date Night by Elise and Anna” – this is a pretty sweet deal, but it’ll cost you $$. The middle-school youth on our team are trying to earn some money, so for $20 you can get dinner and babysitting. They set up a table for you in one of the empty guest apartments on campus (if there is one available). You go “out” to the “restaurant” and they cater Calzones, salad, brownies and homemade ice cream to you. They also feed your kids at your house and put them to bed. Score!
The beautifully set table - with a tablecloth and everything
Brownies and homemade ice-cream
The chefs AND babysitters
8) “Date Night from the White Elephant Gift Exchange at the Team Christmas Party” – now this is, by far, the most coveted date night of all (babysitting included). Someone else cooks an incredible gourmet meal for you and your spouse at their house. They also cook a second meal for your kids that they take over to your house, where they feed and watch your kids, while you dine out fancy and –ALONE– in their home. It. Is. Awesome. And if you’re lucky enough, your host will be Susan Watts: our Team’s very own Michelin-Star-Equivalent-Chef. We won date night at her house this past Christmas. I don’t think there’s a restaurant in the world that could measure up to that memorable night!
Sunds date night on the Bank's porch
Banks date night at our house
Watts date night at the Bank's house
Our date night at the Watts house
#IWantToGoBack (and, it's just juice, don't worry)
Carrot Cake with homemade Cream Cheese Icing
So, yes. We take dating SERIOUSLY here in Burundi.