Sunday, December 09, 2007

Home.

First can I say, God is good. My flight from London to Chicago took off late, so we arrived 1/2 and hour late...so my 2 hour time squeeze to go through customs, retrieve my bags and check them in again and get to my gate (which of course was in another terminal) was cut to 1 1/2 hours. I was freaking out. I had traveled so far I couldn't imagine missing my last connection!

I ran off the plane. Ran to the customs line, played the perfect representation of the impatient American and ran to baggage claim. While waiting for my bags I asked the airline representative what time they would close the door and if in her opinion I had any chance. She responded, "yeah, a slight chance, if you hurry, but they won't wait for you." I wish I had more witty responses when I am tired....

I wait for my bags, finally grab them, run to the baggage check and re-check them, and then run to the tram, catch the tram and run, full out, to the gate, arriving at 3. My flight was supposed to take off at 3. Thankfully, God knew. The weather caused my plane to arrive late, so we took off late, which was such a blessing, cause had it been on time I would have never made it.

The other point worth mentioning, all of the flights the airline had today between Chicago and Indy were canceled due to weather, except mine.

A few things I have noticed in my few hours here...
  • I am feeing a little overstimulated...there are things to see, grab your attention, smell hear EVERYWHERE! It makes me a little dizzy.
  • I am used to having just a few choices when it comes to groceries...grandma and I stopped at walmart to get shampoo and conditioner and I literally got overwhelmed with having to choose. When did choosing become so difficult?
  • Food is rich here.
  • Its cold. Yep. really cold, but not as bad as I expected.
  • Internet is really fast.

Dizzy

Starbucks. Borders. Sushi. Bagel place. Wireless internet. All within 30 yards of where I am sititng.

I have entered the western world. It feels strange.

Don't get me wrong, as I shiver in my fleece sweatshirt (thanks dad) I am thoroughly enjoying my starbucks beverage. Its been nearly two years since a soy peppermint hot chocolate hit my palate, and it is as good as I remember.

But honestly, so many options, at one time, WHOA difficult. The woman in front of me ordered a drink that I was convinced needed translation... non-fat soy hot choc no whip luke warm....she's havin' it her way. Its been a long time since I could have things my way, and it took me a minute to order, and the guy gave me a funny look.

It went a little like this...

"um. its not on the options but can I get a peppermint hot chocolate?"
"yes mam, coming right up"
"Can I get it with soy milk?"
"sure thing...what size?"
"huh?"
"what size ma'am?"
"uh...uh...um...small?"
"you mean tall?"
"yeah...yeah...that's right...Tall."

Anyhow, the journey is going well. I have been traveling for about 26 hours, and must say it has been uneventful. And I must admit I am now a fan of British Airlines...wow. I slept almost the whole flight, which is nothing short of a miracle. I usually am wide awake the entire journey. Although this trip is longer because I wanted to save money, I would say it was worth it for those precious hours of sleep.

Its strange to think that in about 12 hours I will land in Indy. So very strange. Its been so incredibly long. I am realizing how much I have changed and how much the lives of those I love so dearly back home have changed. All for the better, but regardless, I am realizing I am about to encounter a lot of change.

Next stop. Chicago. I have two hours, to get off the plane, get my bags, take them through customs and catch my flight to Indy. Prayer is probably a good idea. Lines are longer in the Western world.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

She keeps a blog...

To learn more about Ron and Jane Ann...check out her blog!

Journey into Africa

Ron and Jane Ann

Sadly I have never mentioned them before, but I really should have! Ron and Jane Ann made a visit to Tanzania a few weeks before I arrived in 2006, and during that visit decided they were going to join our team! SWEET! We needed them...rather...we need them! They both bring a unique set of gifts and talents that will help our ministry here in Tanzania.

We have been excited as they had tickets to head here Dec. 10 to join our team. As always we applied for their Residence Permit a few months ago, and usually they come through without too much hassle. Today though, just 6 days before their departure, we were notified by immigration that they have been DENIED their Residence Permit! AGH! Apparently they don't want to give Ron a permit because Tanzania thinks a Tanzanian could do the job he is coming here to do just as well as Ron could. Hmmm...

Honestly, I can't imagine what is going through their minds at this point. I know that at a week out it must be crushing to get this news. We can appeal the denial, but it will take time.

Pray for Ron and Jane Ann. Pray for their hearts. Pray for a miracle and the provision of Permit!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Climate Change

Since my secret is out...I would like to point out the climate change.

Today it was blazin' hot in Arusha. Somewhere between 85-88 (depending on who you ask) degrees and the humidity had to be approaching 90 percent. To make it better the power was out all day so the fans couldn't keep the stale air moving.

Today in Indy the high is supposed to be 38 degrees. My teeth chatter at the thought of it. However I wouldn't complain over a little snow for Christmas.

Yesterday while the Midwest was recovering from a snow storm...I was getting a sunburn.

Which brings up a prayer point. Between Dec 8 and Jan 9 I will board 12 planes. It would be really nice if weather would cooperate.

I think I will be cold when I land in Indy, but I really don't care! Mom will give me a hug and she promises to bring my winter coat to the airport!

I have a secret...

And it is killing me to keep it inside. There is a girlie grin on my face this week, and well I told everyone at the market today my secret, cause really it is of no consequence for any of them, and well I just can't keep it in any longer! Since it is my secret and I am the one who imposed the "secrecy" I figured I can lose the secrecy and let it out.

Place Drum-roll here....

God gave me an early Christmas present. On December 8 I will begin a 40 hour journey home to celebrate Christmas with my family. I cannot tell you how excited I am, excited doesn't really cover it really, ecstatic maybe? Thrilled? Giddy? Nope. None of those words suffice. There isn't a word to describe the depths of joy and excitement and anticipation that fills my entire being at the thought of seeing my family. Its been nearly two years folks. Way too long. So much has happened in the two years that I know there will be story after story and well I can't wait to hug my big brother and talk about life after Iraq, and I look foward to teaching my niece Myla how to say "Pam." (She was 4 months old when I left.) I can't wait to sip tea on the couch with mom and walk on the beach with dad and watch made for TV movies with grandma and...and...and...! I must stop.

So why the secret? Because I am only home for a short time and although I would love to see everyone, I can't, in fact, I am making my fam priority for this trip. In four weeks time I will travel to IN, FL, CO, and TX to visit loved ones. I won't be in any place nearly long enough to see everyone. I will have to hold off and see the rest of you when I furlough in April. I appreciate the advanced forgiveness. :-)

5 more days until I start my journey. Only 5 more days! Yep. She's smiling big.

Little surprizes in my day.

Even after two years, I get shocked by some of the things I see...I wish I had a camera for a few of these...

Today Kendra and I were in town. We were commenting on traffic and vehicles, because really I am sure some of these vehicles were made before my parents were born...anyhow today, we saw a truck and it was decorated...not for Christmas. Rather, it had three baby dolls tied to the grill...kinda morbid if you ask me. I saw it again later, and asked a Tanzanian friend about the truck...and she said..."oh that's the trash truck, it picks up trash in town." Odd, I didn't know we had a trash pick-up, and honestly, with the massive amounts of trash everywhere on the roads and sidewalks you would assume we DIDN'T have one.

Another surprise was that for once something was finished early. I moved into the apartment the beginning of October, but have put off having curtains made (we can't by them already made like you folks who live around the corner from Walmart or Target.) Anyhow, I put it off, because it really is a big job, you have to search for fabric you can live with, and well, I just haven't been in the mood. I am not a home ec kinda girl. These things are work for me. A few weeks ago my friends reminded me that I still lived in a fish bowl and I was going to be out of town for a few weeks and that it takes time to get these things done, so we set out in search for fabric for the kitchen windows, living room windows and my bedroom. We found it all and I dropped it off. I told the man who sews (you really can't call him a seamstress...) that I was leaving town Dec 8 and I needed to have these curtains done before I left. That left him with 10 days to complete the task. He said he could do it, I looked at him warily and questioned again. He assured me he could complete all of the windows before I left. I doubted having been reassured many times before on other projects...well he must have heard my doubt, as he called me today to tell me they were finished. All of them. I no longer live in a fishbowl. I was surprised. He is the first Tanzanian I know to finish something ahead of schedule. And I was surprised that after they are all hung they were sewn correctly (this doesn't always happen) and I am pleasantly surprised with my bedroom and kitchen curtains in particular...I am rather fond of them really!

I was also surprised when my car was broken into while I was picking up my curtains. I was shocked to find the drivers door lock completely destroyed, and then to find that although I had groceries and even a DVD in the car that NOTHING was taken. I was then again surprised when an old man came up to me and told me he saw a kid trying to break in and intervened. I thanked him profusely. I was again surprised in that emotionally it didn't phase me, I have grown accustomed to the behavior. That's kinda sad really.

What surprised you today?