• Shelly Bandelman

35 Years

I love being with my family! My extended and immediate families are awesome! Some of my friends have morphed into family, and that’s great too. When they let me, I rearrange everyone’s lives so we can all be together for everything. The more the merrier!


On Monday, August 31, Brian and I celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary! I really do still love this man more than the day I became his wife. He is funny, silly, annoying, smart, teachable, handsome and strong. He makes me a better person by encouraging me, being totally honest, walking in Godly confidence, and he believes I am beautiful. Brian tells me he loves me in a million ways, and he even says it!


To celebrate this occasion we had planned to go whale watching out of Depoe Bay on the Oregon coast. Nope, Covid struck, and we are still in totally landlocked Uganda.


Plan “B.” We haven’t visited Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary yet, so we thought that might be a fun day trip. I was willing to get up at 5:00am and be driven 3 hours to catch the rhinos during their most active time of day. But there were a few challenges. First, Uganda is still restricting the number of people allowed in a vehicle. We over fill all of our vehicles.


I know what you are thinking, “It’s an anniversary. There are two of you. How small is your car?”


Remember paragraph one. I can’t leave the kids at home if I am going on this adventure! We are a family of six and we have our friend, Lisa, in country. We like to take Lisa with us, and since she is part of our household she isn’t restricted by “quarantine social distancing.” Besides the vehicle issue, the entrance fee for six of us was a bit steep for our budget.


Plan “C”. Let’s go to dinner! Now begins the, “But where?” discussion! Obviously, we will be taking the family. Four adults, two teens (I let Noah be a teen although he has a few months to go until his birthday), and Lisa. It should be nice, but not too fancy. It can be a bit expensive, but still within our budget. Not somewhere we usually go, and not too far away. Mediterraneo in Kololo it is!


Mediterraneo is one of those jewels hidden away behind a wall of bricks and vines. The rusty old green sign is small and unassuming on a crazy busy street, and most people I mention it to don’t even realize it exists. The wooden plank floors, and low roof of wooden slats make it an indoor setting. The lack of walls, filled in with trees, vines, and flowers, makes it an outdoor garden setting. Antique steamer trunks, mismatched rustic tables and chairs, faded umbrellas over tables that wandered outside the roof, hanging lanterns, and tin hearts hanging from the ceiling make a beautiful backdrop to the soft music and most amazing Italian food. Quaint and cozy, it is definitely the place for a romantic anniversary dinner with the family!

I do like dates alone with Brian, but looking down the table at my children, holding my husband’s hand, translating Italian dishes into English (thankful for subtitles), laughing, taking pictures, and celebrating the day that started it all reminded me even more how blessed I am. The handmade spinach and ricotta ravioli in the most amazing ragu sauce didn’t hurt either.

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