Friday, February 24, 2012

Catching Up Part 1: Getting back to Bots

It's high time I get back to this blog. My opportunity to have gone back to Africa for a month last year was a huge blessing, and something that I don't want to take lightly. I was able to reconnect with old friends, kids I had fallen head over heels for, ministry partners, etc. I became a coffee drinker on this trip! I was able to walk with lions, ride elephants, and pet cheetahs. I went back to Victoria Falls. I  helped out in Children's Church. I spent time helping at the school...I mean, there was so much! I was just in Heaven all over again.

On my way to Botswana, I had an overnight stay in Johannesburg again- at the guest home of my cute little old Greek friend, Mr. Eland. I remember stepping outside of the airport that evening and breathing in the African air for the first time and just feeling a sense of peace in my heart. There is something about it that just makes me feel like I'm home. That night, Mr Eland dropped me off so I could eat at a restaurant (Mugg and very good). I had a couple of hours to kill, so I just appreciated sitting outside, taking in the sights and sounds around me. Interacting with the locals, people-watching, window shopping..amazing. This was a great way to ease myself back into the African, slowed-down culture, since it took about an hour to get my food and I ended up waiting for quite a while for Mr Eland to pick me up after that. I spent time looking through my journal from the last time I was in Bots, and I couldn't help but crack up. Apparently we had asked our Setswana teacher to teach us how to say "I'm tired and sick" ("ke lapile gape ke alwala", in case you were curious). Sounds about right! 

Here are some notes I made from my first night, then the next day at the airport and on the flight to Botswana:
"I'm so happy to be seeing Standard Bank and FNB" - really? I was excited about the banks?
"My sweet waiter Tendai- that huge smile!" Since Mr Eland is Greek, that was my first interaction with an African on this trip. My heart was happy.
"How Great Thou Art is playing at Mugg and Bean!"- you aren't likely to hear that in restaurants in the states!
"I stayed up until 11pm; woke up 10 minutes later, thinking it was already morning. Woke up again at midnight, 1am and finally 3:40am. At that point, I was too excited to go back to sleep, so I ended up being productive and took care of some Bible Study homework...that is, until I was too giddy and had to start working out at 6am just to contain my excitement"- I seriously did pushups until I saw a massive spider. Then I flung a water bottle at it and realized that I had not fully readjusted to Africa yet.
"The sounds of birds chirping :)"
"These South Africans make me feel really pale" - This will always be a true statement
"I forgot how people from here don't look away if you accidentally make eye contact. Awkward..."
"Sitting under a giraffe in the airport while working on Perspectives homework and listening to the Lion King soundtrack is pretty much the best"
"Couldn't even make it through 5 minutes of homework because I was just too excited to concentrate" - To be fair, that's how things in life seem to go for me in general.
"I just teared up listening to 'Everywhere I Go' by the Campus Crusade cd" - Also to be fair, I am completely used to crying in public, so this didn't really bother me
"Ouch. Hit my forehead too hard after realizing I forgot both a flashlight and my water bottle. After my Bible and close-toed shoes (scorpions), these are some of the most important things to have in Botswana"
"There are seriously no clocks in this airport. What???" - Just follow the crowd, Ash. Don't worry about what time it is (also, this totally speaks to the culture in Africa)
"This plane started moving and people still aren't in their seats" When it's time to go, it's time to go, I guess
"My carry on bag is too big for the overhead compartments and for under the seats, so it's just hanging int he aisle" Sorry, everyone else on this flight...
"Whoa. Flashback to Nov '09 and how beastly hot it was- and then having people tell us that December was going to be so much worse; I almost cried because it just didn't seem possible. Turns out it wasn't. October/November were easily the hottest months" - I think I was getting a little concerned about the temperatures I was about to be facing
"Yes! Lion King Soundtrack just randomly came up on my playlist!" I love it. Don't judge, because I bet you love it too.

And then...I arrived. Botswanaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

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