Tuesday, May 6, 2014
It says, "In the country of happiness."
France, for me, is like coming home. It's like seeing an old friend you haven't seen in a long time but didn't know you were missing. And a million other analogies like...your favorite shoes, or your old favorite song, or like when you smell something that takes you back to childhood...like honeysuckles in spring.
Walking around France is also like walking through my memories real time. Kind of terminator style. (the boys on my group just informed me that that reference doesn't make sense.) Basically, if you imagine a pair of glasses where one lens looks back and one lens looks forward and you're looking at both at the same time. I love that I'm making new memories in parallel with my old memories...sort of like re-memories.
One of my favorite re-memories are the pastries. Oh la! The pastries. I've had to exert some level of self control...only two a day.
It's also just a great city to explore on foot and get your fit bit steps in! I finally passed my friend Marshall on the Fit-Bit...so now I feel really good about things! That's straight up 7.5 miles in one day! Just walking around!
And when you're done eating and walking around, France is just the kind of place where you sit in a park and drink hot chocolate in a tiny glass and reflect on the meaning of life. After all it is the country of happiness.
Here's a fun video of the team exploring the city!
Loves to you all,
Friday, August 27, 2010
Monday, August 16, 2010
wow. That's really all i can say. Wow. It's over. I did it. And now i'm coming home. I can't decide what i'm feeling really. I know i definately don't feel like working on my last day...i'm totally distracted, totally checked out from this whole school policy writing business...
This weekend was frustrating and confusing and overwhelming. It gave me realization that yessh i'm so done with the african schedule.can't people just show up when they say the will? I mean seriously!
And then there was connection and some of the strongest most powerful love i've ever felt in my life and i thought yessh how have i been living without this my whole life? How can i ever leave these people.
I bought an african dress. With a head wrap and everything. I felt so silly - like a total poser. But strangers stopped me on the street and told me how smart i look. (thats african for beautiful) And the complements were flowing like orange fanta. It was a nonstop onslaught of "wows! and incredibles!" and my favorite - "you make a beautiful African woman." and even though it's crazy - why not believe them? Why not accept that I look smart?
i'm sure my 36 hour return trip will give me time to process all the lessons and changes that africa has given me. I haven't put them all together yet.
But this weekend i took a bus by myself. Negotiated my own taxi fares. Met with a man who wants to open a school here and told him what he needs to do, like i'm some sort of expert. Handled the Genocide memorial with out a shoulder to cry on - i handled and processed all that emotion and pain and then released it into the past of Rwanda. I went to the market by myself, bought my own dinner, and did my own bargaining. I spoke in church, lead the music, taught an unexpected sunday school lesson. I gave open and complete love to the frustrations of family and cultural differences. I committed to the universe to jump into the unknown and the scary. I totally navigated the city and the waves of the weekend.
and on my taxi ride home last night, i thought to myself - wow. i've done it. I've totally done it. I've helped to open a school for women in a developing nation. I've fallen in love. I have a new son, a new future. The past 18 years of planning and dreaming have happened.
I make a beautiful African woman.
Godfrey's eyes are closed but we're still cute huh?
See you wednesday America.
lurking under my bed
ready to overtake me at my weakest moment
the need is aching like the missing of a memory
stuck inside my subconscious
ready to appear
ready to attack
ready to overtake me at my weakest moment
the want is consuming me like the obsession of an adict
breaking through my will to work
ready to appear
ready to attack
Friday, August 13, 2010
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
First the bus ride. We loaded at 5:00pm after a brief run in with a money changer. (they tried to rip me off like $20 bucks!) But we caught them! And then we were on our way. 10 hours of bumpy twisty turny dirt road yuckyness. But we made it around 4am uganda time. And i'm almost certain I contracted a parasite somewhere along the way. Maybe it was the peeholes or the lack of sanitary food...who knows. But for the majority of the trip it felt like rabid squirrels were trying to claw their way out of my intenstinal track. Rabid quirrels and windy dirt ugandan roads at 2 am was not my favorite combination. But the anticipation of the experience was a legitimate distraction.
After a brief stop at the boarder between Uganda and Rwanda, and a deliciously cold Mountain Dew,
we made our way to our hotel, Hotel Barbados. and you could sit on the toilet and wash your hair in the shower! The hotel was 80,000 Uganda Shillings per night which equals about $37 a night. And I had a big four poster bed with a mosquito net that had lace around the edges. and even thought the matress was like a big foam rock, I had a pillow and a hot shower and scrambled eggs every morning so I was a happy happy camper!
After very little sleep, we headed out for a town called Jinja, like ninja but with a J. A total tourist trap for idiots like me who treasure natural wonders. Jinja happens to be the source of the River Nile, the body of water that has privided life for millions of people for millions of years. The price into the park was in Ugandan and Non-Ugandan price. Ugandan - 3,000 UGX ($1.40). Non-Ugandan - 10,000 UGX ($4.55). Talk about a rip off. And the determiniation of Ugandan v Nonugandan was not scientific in anyway. I could have totally been Ugandan. Stop judging me based on skin people!!!
So we walked through the gauntlet of tourist temption in the form of little huts that lined the staircase down to the River. Yessh so many lovely things. Drumbs and earings and sculptures that were made out of banana leaves. How can i resist such temptation? But alas, the River was calling me. We walked out onto some beams that jutted out into the river. And all you can do is stand there and soak in the power moving under you. And then i got sucked into a boat ride to the real source of the river nile. How could i go oall the way to Ninja Jinja and not see the real source? So of course it was worth the Non-Ugandan price to jump in the yellow and green boat called "god is good" that went about 10 feet up the river and the stoped with awh and wonder. At first i was thinking, man these people got me again. This is just 10 feet up the river.
And then I saw it. The way the water was bubbling and moving in one spot. 40,000 liters per second. Just bubbling up from inside the earths belly supplying half of history with it's entire story. And i just sat there. What else can you do? Well except take a picture and make a face?
Until the tour guide told me that on the other side of the river were two prisons. One for adults over 18 and the other for 17 down to age 6. You put 6 year olds in prision I asked? What for? Well you know for 6 year old crimes he answered in total seriousness. Hmm...nothing could destroy the Nile River like a prison for 6 year olds. What is this world?
Friday, August 6, 2010
I guess it could be both at the same time. Often our horrible mistakes turn into grand adventures that are just what we need.
This weekend is the Presidential Elections in Rwanda, a Ugandan adventure, the source of the river Nile, makets, buro buros, pork, hot showers, and NO WORK!!!
I'm pretty sure it will be my best weekend in Africa yet.
Please pray the borders are open, the pork is clean, and that I don't get kidnapped and sold as a sex slave. All very desirable things to ask of the universe.
and when I get back, I will only have 7 days left. 7 days!!! I can't belive it!
I've promised my boss at the YMCA that i will submit to full YMCA ownership for my first and second weekend back. But after that...
it's party time!