Wednesday, July 22, 2009


I am leaving for America very soon. So much is happening and so much needs to be done that it makes me want to stay in my apartment all day do nothing. It's happening really fast. But, at the same time, it's happening too slowly and I just want to rip the band-aid off like when I was a kid. I'm still working on a project for my job. Crazy that in the middle of packing and saying good bye I'm also typing up facts for a school publication. I'm sad. I'm really sad. The last time I left Africa, I confess, I was thrilled. I wanted to leave so much. This time is different. I will miss so much here a great deal. I love it here, love the people, love my friends and especially love the community that I've come to have here.

Yet, I'm happy. I'm of course looking forward to seeing family and friends again. I'm looking forward to being back in a culture that I understand, to not be constantly feeling like I have to be "on" or in some way trying to understand, fit in or work within the culture. I'm looking forward to the familiar. It's not that I love places like Starbucks and Target all that much, though I do like those places, it's that I'm used to those places. I know what to expect in those places. I'm looking forward to that.

But, having come back before, I realize that there will be things that I think I will understand and yet be overwhelmingly surprised at when confronted by them. When someone lives overseas, they return changed, no longer fitting in to their home culture and never having fit in to their host culture.

I'm overwhelmed at the prospect of starting a new job so quickly after returning from this one. I love this job, but think my new job will be great too. I hope I don't start any sort of comparison games with myself. Comparison steals joy quicker than most anything else.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

European Vacation (Sans Chevy Chase)

I'd like to try and share some of my recent vacation here, but since I'm pretty sure you guys would fade out at neverending paragraphs about museums and cobblestone streets, I'll try to make it more reader friendly.

1. I went to four countries: Switzerland, Italy, Hungary and Austria. I don't normally like to split my time up between so many places, but I only spent about 24 hours in Italy and Austria.

2. I've realized in the last years that I take fewer and fewer risks. I know some of you might think that's on the side of bogus, but it's true. So, I spent a hefty roll of US presidents and went paragliding in Switzerland. I figured there wouldn't be many places prettier on earth to do it. The ride was spectacular, so beautiful, and way more relaxing than I thought it would be.

3. While walking down an empty street in Vienna, which happened to be cobblestone, I saw a car with a rose laying across the windshield. I didn't think much about it, but then the owner of the car walked out and was suprised to see said rose laying on the windshield. Surprised is wrong, perhaps clueless is more like it. So of course he looks at me and thinks that I'm the stalker that put it there! Hilarious!

4. Hungary makes these really yummy cream cheese chocolate cannoli type things. Amazing.

5. I spent time learning about Communism in Hungary. I've never wanted to lean right so much in my life after that. I normally don't discuss my political opinions in a venue such as this, and realize that a political ideology isn't the answer to any of life's ultimate questions. Nevertheless, learning about people who didn't have a say over when they heated their homes, or even with whom they lived, and walking through cells used to torture people who were turned in from anything from disagreing with 'the cause' to their neighbors simply wanting their food rations definitely left an impact on me.

6. Vienna might be my all time favorite city. I loved just sitting in the grass at the palace parks in Vienna. I can't believe that people get to chill in front of such architectual beauty. I couldn't afford much in Vienna. I ate a brothy soup for dinner because it was the cheapest thing on the menu. It's ok, the city was so beautiful it was worth it.

7. Switzerland makes the world's best chocolate. Ragusa is the best of the best.

8. I saw the movie Australia and the next day met an Australian! I never meet Australians! This Australian, however had not seen the movie.

9. I still feel like Europe is somehow under my skin. I would love to live there again someday. Scotland is still my favorite place in Europe.

10. I got on a train with no seat reservation (but had a ticket) and had to sit in the food car the whole time.

11. It took a few days for the beauty of Switzerland to sink in. I just couldn't wrap my mind around all those mountains. Finally, I went out by myself to look at the mountains, and asked God to help me to see what was in front of me. Only then did I truly start to see the beauty. It's like God was waiting for me to share it with Him. I'll never forget those moments alone with Him.

Friday, July 10, 2009


Can I get a blog post done in nine minutes? Weĺl see. I´ve been in Europe for a bit, spent some time in Switzerland, some of the most beautiful land in the world. I´ve been thinking about heaven a lot lately. Itś amazing to think that even in Switzerland all we see are shadows of what is to come. Thatś wild.

More to come....

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Bright Light

It's really bright here. It's like walking around looking at an overly-exposed picture. Squinting all the time, trying not to look into anything directly white--that's normal. The sky is blue, the buildings are brown, men's jalabia's are white and women's dresses are all colors. But none of it do I see with the sunlight I'm used to. I have this theory that you can recognize any region of the world just based on how the sun falls on it.

Weather affects us and our cultures so much. I don't think we realize how much it shapes our societies.

I can't believe I'm leaving so soon. I'm sad, excited and everything else. It's been a hard month and a half. I've been coaching the debate team and that has consumed my time. The girls are fantastic for sure, really hard workers who deserve their successes. But, I'm exhausted.

I confess that I'm terrible at staying in touch. I'm bad at maintaining relationships from far away, and so many of mine are.

Friday, June 12, 2009


You know those moments just after you wake up, especially just after you wake up from having been exhausted? Those moments when you aren't sure of where you are, what you are doing, what day it is? I love those moments.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


I'd like to give you a glimpse of how hot it is here, and particularly, how batcrazy hot my aparment is. The other day we had some friends over for dinner. We served cake for desert. The guests nicely commented on how the cake was still warm from the oven. The cake had been made the day before.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

In Memory of my Beloved Aunt Shirley

Friday I heard of my Aunt Shirley's passing. I still am processing the departure of this amazing woman of God. She wasn't even related to me by blood, she was my mother's best friend of about 40 years. I've known her my whole life. I didn't even know that we weren't related by blood until I was about 10. Aunt Shirley was one of the kindest, most generous, joyful, gentle, modest and accepting woman I've ever known. Maybe that's why she became a nurse. She was always that nurse who stayed late and worked extra hours. She truly cared about her patients. Even after she retired, she looked in on her housebound neighbor every day. We didn't know that the cancer had returned, and we are only now making the assumption that that was what happened. I guess she didn't want to bother people with the news. But, the disease bothers her no longer. She is rejoicing with our Lord. And, though we miss her very much, we know she is not only in a better place, but in THE better place, and I cannot wait to see her again.