Wednesday, December 31, 2008

drumroll please

My last set of Lily photos. Wow. You can let out your breath now. (see post below)

Sheila was practicing her America's Next Top Model poses. I was supposed to be Mr. Jay. Neither of us were very good.

(On a side note, that was my first time to try to post a photo on here since I got back to the States, and it just blew my mind how fast that happened. I think I'm going to post a video now, just for fun.)

Note: Children were wildly entertained in the making of this video.

Monday, December 29, 2008

i do believe it's true

that there are roads left in both of our shoes

Well, I'm back in America. I made it safely (and so did my bag) after what may have been the longest 3 days of my life. Christmas went well, Sheila's wedding went well, and now I think I can breathe a little.

I'm not sure what the future of this blog is going to be. I do have more pictures and videos that I'm going to post, hopefully sometime in the next couple of days, but now that I'm back to everyday life I don't know what I shall find to write about. There are definitely fewer wild animals in my life now, although a couple days after I got home I saw a bat and last night I killed a really large spider in my house, which is exactly the kind of thing I was trying to leave behind.

As you hold your breath in anticipation of my photos, I will share with you a mental list I've been making of Things I Appreciate About America:

1) Chickfila (duh)
2) Unlimited text messaging
3) Febreeze
4) Pumping my own gas, or, being able to get in and out of the gas station in less than 20 minutes
5) Water pressure
6) Swiffer Dusters (there's a new swiffer 360 that I got inappropriately and pathetically excited about)
7) A quick and reliable postal service (Christmas cards I sent out the Saturday after I got home got to people BY Christmas! What?!?)
8) A semi-accurate weather forecasting system
9) Sheila, Casper, and Flood
10) Cheese


The fact that it just turned 10 o'clock prompted me to add to this post Things That I Hate About America:

1) My parents' cuckoo clock

*End Edit*

Friday, December 12, 2008

all things go, all things go....

Including Katie, who left on Tuesday. She really wasn't ready to go, but finally I was able to make her understand that it was God's will. See photo below.

Carissa left last week, Aislinn left Friday, Jonny leaves Monday, and I'm heading out on Tuesday. It's really time. I can't believe after all the months of praying, and planning, and then finally being here it's time to wrap it up and move on to a new season. It's a strange feeling, being ready to see family and my friends but not really feeling ready to leave. Several of the kids have already left for the holidays to be with family or their sponsors and it's been a little surreal to have to start saying goodbye. I said bye last night to Sandile, who might possibly be the sweetest child on the face of the earth, and it just womped, to borrow a phrase from Katie.
This week I went on a couple of hospital trips and went to Grey's for the last time! One of the nurses there that I was terrified of the first month I was here was showing me pictures of her new granddaughter and gave me a big hug. We exchanged email addresses and I'm hoping to keep in touch with her when I'm gone. I can't believe that I've been there so much that the staff and I know each other's names and a little about each other's lives, but it's been cool to be able to connect with people like that.
One thing that I'm pretty sure I won't experience back at Vanderbilt: we were waiting outside for one of the kids to see the doctor at the TB clinic at the hospital in Durban, and all of a sudden we saw a monkey run by. And then another, and another... all in all we saw about 30 monkeys including a bunch of mothers with babies holding on to their stomachs! They were just running around the waiting area and on the roof of the clinic. The best part was the kid behind us that completely freaked out... he got so excited and was jumping around and shouting.
I leave South Africa on Tuesday, will debrief in Pearl River, NY for about a day and a half and I fly into Jackson at 11 pm Thursday night. I would really appreciate prayers for safe travel and just for me as I move back into life at home and leave behind things that I love.
See you stateside.....
love means going this far
even when the ending is only the start.....

Monday, December 1, 2008

winding down

My AIM coordinator Naomi came to debrief me this week, because in two weeks I'm going home.


We talked about a lot of things like strengths and weaknesses (for me: teaching children anything. Especially math. I mean, you carry the one. I don't know how else to explain it.) We also talked about the things that I've learned while I've been here and the one that stands out to me more than anything was that God is faithful. He put this in my heart, He provided the way to go, He led me to this place, and He was alongside me all the way even when my purpose here didn't always seem clear to me. I look back at my time here and the fact that there truly are real dangers living in South Africa, and He has had His hand over me. I think this was due in no small part for the people at home that were constantly praying for me, and I can't even explain how much it means to know that.

This has been the one of the toughest things I've done, and I wouldn't trade it for anything.

I leave you with this (one of the reasons why I wouldn't trade it):

I love that little nut.