Ndjerareou Journey

Monte Carlo, My First Story

At the end of WWII, Hitler commissioned a massive radio transmitter to be built in Monte Carlo, Monaco.   Never operational, it was donated to Trans World Radio and run by a crew of American and European engineers sending Christian radio over the Iron Curtain into the Soviet Union.  My family stepped into this story when at the age of three we left Fargo, North Dakota and joined the team on the edge of the Mediterranean.

It must have been the stark contrast from my pale American life into all that was Monaco, circa 1983. Being drenched with warmth and light and the delicious scent of foreignness. Chocolate melting on your tongue, butter sticking to your fingers, a sunburn across your neck, a blister on your heal, the crunch of the pebbles beneath your feet, the scent of baking bread, all being washed down with the gaggle of French.   Sunlight and limestone are a part of the history and character of my memories. Pale brick lined streets with laundry dancing across the line above, sun bleached Roman ruins and ancient stone fountains.

Monte Carlo, the capital of Monaco fit together like a tiny puzzle pieces clinging to a rocky beach between sea and mountain, even the beaches are simply pebbles tumbling into surrender as one melts into the other.   The tiny city state moves vertically out of the sea awash in history, provincial French life and epic opulence.

Every morning we’d wake to a rooster crowing and stroll past a Rolls Royce with a flat tire tripping down the mountain for groceries or a swim. With bare feet I’d climb trees to feast on cherries and watch the yachts lining the harbor only to be scolded by ancient leathery French women.  On warm Friday evenings our little collective would gather at the beach while the tourists tried their luck in the legendary casino. We’d picnic by the beach and catch the sounds of Frank Sinatra singing as fire works toasted the wealthy and everyone else.  This is were I developed a taste for Orangina , olives, cheese, croissants and Kinder Eggs (chocolate eggs with toys inside.)

I’ve never been back to Monaco although I’ve returned to France on several occasions. The textures of the place awakened in me a deep love of exploration. You never know what’s around the next bend. The shear visual opulence overwhelmed my young mind and taught me the joys of storytelling with your own two feet. Wandering can become a living, fairy tale adventure.

If your road leads through Monaco I have a few favorites that have stood the test of time:

Trophy to Cesar Augustus

I have memorories of giant Roman blocks larger than my father. It’s a wonder for all ages.

Jacque Cousteau Museum  

Perched on the sea cliff the museum and its giant restored sea creature skeletons left their mark on my young mind. It’s worth a stop.

Palais Du Prince- Changing of the Guard.

Monaco is a still ruled by a prince and this ceremony will have you believing in fairy tales.

The Village of Eze

Splendor of Monte Carlo’s mega yachts getting overwhelming?  Run out of cash due to parking or the casino? Head over to Eze for picturesque cobble stone streets and local parfumeries.

Someday, I’ll tell you about the time my little brother stomped on an ostrich egg, but that’s another story. . .

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The child of missionary parents, writing became a natural was to process my adventures across the world.

Ndjerareou means 'he who builds the road in Ngambai, Nate's tribal language spoken in Chad, Africa.

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  • My fall flavors are carrot cake & ginger bread. But I have a confession, I don’t bake well. I rarely wear my glasses in the kitchen and I’ve NEVER followed instructions very well so my baking mistakes are epic. The precision and concentration to create confectionary masterpieces is rarely worth the time or the guilt.  Birthday cakes come from Cosco, I can make put cookie dough on a pan but I’ve even been known to mix up baked goods that come out of a box.  I do LOVE to cook.  I used to love painting but it feels the same in my brain as standing over the stove and my people are much more excited to see my culinary creations than my artwork. Go figure! .  Today, I bake to make memories. Life is moving fast and I’m always looking for meaningful ways to engage my children.  This recipe will give you those stolen moments together. For the recipe on these Carrot Cake Cookies click the link in my profile. It’s so easy even I can do it. .  #makememories #carrotcakecookies #fall #nothingisordinary #familytime #everydayadventure #nothingisordinary #ibakedit #webaketogether #frommykitchentoyours
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I'm so thankful for my tribe @arthousedallas and the inspiration, encouragement and laughter they've brought along the way. .
Today, I got my hands on an advance copy of Empathy for the Devil, Finding Ourselves In The Villains of the Bible, by JR Forasteros. @jrforasteros .
I've had the privilege of watching this piece grow from edited pages our tribe has spoken into and over to this fantastic book. Thanks for sharing your journey with us! Look for the book Nov. 7th. .
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These days it’s special watching her grow and care for her hair on her own. But I still love separating the curls with my fingers, massaging conditioner into the root myself. Each style becomes a mother’s prayer. It’s a prayer for peace, for beauty, for strength.
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The best part of today- all the family moments that happened, we explored UTA, we told stories of past lessons and adventures, we fell into step with one another as only family can.
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  • "Live in the sunshine. Swim in the sea. Drink in the wild air." -Ralph Waldo Emerson .
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@heleneinbetween On our summer escape in Europe I loved the epic sights but the moments that have stuck in my heart are the impromptu berry picking, carousel rides, funny faces, late night book readings, BBQ adventures, getting lost, and lazy days by the river. .
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None of it required much planning but it did require being present. Thank you Europe for helping me witness their childhood. May we never be too old to explore and play. .
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  • Not all who wander are lost. . .  in the brilliant words of J.R.R Tolkien. Sometimes we’re at home restlessly wondering, floundering, worrying if we’ll ever wander again? The time in-between adventures can be the most desolate for this mama. I struggle through the hum-drum details of a daily routine.  Auto-pilot is the danger here. I adore my family, friends and home but my nomadic heart can get lost in the daily grind.
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Thankfully, when my heart needs a taste of adventure I can wander as far as my local ethnic market. Thai, Indian, Nigerian, their colors, tools, meats, vegetables and spices can enliven any after school doldrums.  My kids get to wander the aisles and practice cultural sensitivity (Yes, it smells intense but this is the food of their culture, how do you think hot dogs seem to them?) and explore drinks, fruit or sweet treats.
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As a bonus, our finds become hospitable moments and ways to invite our friends and family into our adventures.
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