Sunday, March 14, 2010

a sad day in freetown

after FIVE years with WMF in freetown, faye is shipping out tonight. i've known about this day for a long time now, but it really seems to have come too quickly. i'm excited for the adventures that await my friend, but i am heartbroken all the same. faye unexpectedly became a very pivotal friend in my life. her loyalty is unmatched, and i will miss her dearly.

the photo is of us on halloween (obviously), she is a flapper and i am carmen miranda (obviously). a lot of fun memories with this pretty lady.

so, as faye departs, i am faced with a new responsibility to communicate. my aunt jamie sent an e-mail to faye requesting that she urge me to start writing on my blog more often. without faye writing about it, how will my family ever know what is happening in my life?! and maybe faye has a few friends who would still like to know what is happening over here... i guess i owe it to you all to speak up every now and then.

so that is what i hope to do. i think i can spare an hour a week to make it happen.

be thinking of faye as she makes her transition. it will be a big one!

Monday, November 16, 2009

a song for... someone who needs somewhere... to long for.

things are going pretty well around here. see faye's blog (link in column at right) for some exciting info about a property we are going to rent. it is so great! we're all pretty pumped about that.

i was just looking at some photos taken by my friend courtney (link also to the right), and her creativity is contagious. so i felt inspired to write something down. not really anything too significant or insightful. just something. so here i am.

i guess that one thing i am realizing lately is the degree to which freetown has become my home. it honestly makes me a little uncomfortable. i mean, i still long for my own culture, and don't feel totally at ease in this one. but this is my life now. and as much as i want to go back to that other world a lot of the time, i'm no longer sure that it will feel completely right either. i have planted a piece of my heart here and i know that when i leave, whenever that time comes, i will feel a profound sense of loss. my home will always be across the ocean, no matter where i am.

that sounds so depressing, but that isn't really how i mean it. i think i am one of the lucky ones... to have so many people and places that do feel like home. i mean, maybe different parts of me have different homes. and so wherever i am, a part of me is in the right place... goodness how i ramble. i'm sure there will be a lot of INFPs commenting on this post. everyone else will just have to shrug it off.

moral of the story: being homesick means you have someplace to miss, something to long for. and that means that you have lived and loved well. can't be sad about that.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

say my name.

my top ten favorite ways to hear my name pronounced in freetown:

10) "stee-fa-nee"
9) "stef-nee"
8) "stef-een"
7) "stef-inn"
6) "stef-ann"
5) "stef-ayne"
4) "stef-ling"
3) "steev-een"
2) "wayt gyal"
1) "faye"

have i mentioned that everyone thinks i'm faye? she hasn't lived in my house for almost 2 years, and people on my road still call me faye. tonight one of the girls who i buy fruit from (nearly every single day) called me faye while i was walking home. as usual, i didn't have the energy to explain that i'm not faye, but yes i know faye, no she's not my sister, no i'm not chinese, yes i will see faye tomorrow, yes i will greet her, etc... so anyway, i just said hi and kept walking. then i heard a boy voice say to the girl "that's not faye, that's steph." the girl disagreed. a loud debate ensued. back and forth. faye. steph. faye. steph. i'll clear it up tomorrow.

i told faye she needs to come visit so people will see her and think "oh. THAT ONE is faye." but i don't really think it will help. once i was planning to meet faye at her house and when i got out of my taxi, i could see her walking up her street just about 20 yards ahead of me. one man watched her walk by, and then when he saw me he looked back in faye's direction, and back to me, and then to faye... puzzled.

in other news, i got a desk today! somehow i think this will help me be more organized, but that is probably not true. it will at least keep me from doing work while sitting on my bed. that was getting old and wearing out my matress since it was being used as a bed and a desk... and i admit that i often sit on my bed for meals too. so now i have TWO pieces of furniture to use! livin' large.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

2009 in photos - july

in july i took a road-trip to savannah, GA to see my friends rachel and bobby get married! i rode down with melissa and jason and we had a grand time listening to 80's music and some favorite disney tunes, and talking/crying/hoping about relationships and life as grown-ups. melissa is a marriage and family therapist, jason is a clinical counselor, and i am thinking about being an LCSW someday, so we all thoroughly enjoyed the freedom to be honest and the freedom to analyze each other. :)

but seriously, the ride down to GA was only the beginning of one of the most fun weeks i've had in a long time. we all stayed together in one huge house, and while savannah is a really cool and interesting city, i mostly enjoyed the time spent at the house entertaining each other with corn-hole, flip-cup, and evenings on the dock watching the boys try to catch some sort of seafood. my camera stopped working right before the wedding, so i have no photos of the actual event, but this one is a good summary of the week... beautiful friends, many reasons to celebrate (the wedding being highlight!), freedom to be ourselves, and a bag full of food.

i love my friends. i have the best friends all over the place. if you are my friend and you are reading this, no matter where you are and how i know you: i love you and i thank you. :)

Saturday, August 29, 2009

2009 in photos - june

this unflattering photo (thanks for the warning, mom) was taken in saint pete beach, FL during the weekend of my cousin brad's wedding. 9 of us flew down together which was a bit like a national lampoons short film (thank you tyler and best-supporting actress, grandma dottie), but we did all manage to make it there and back so we can laugh about all of the drama now.

one of the highlights of the summer was getting to spend so much time with my brothers. it is kinda awkward to get to know each other as adults since i've not really lived at home in so long... sometimes frustrating, but mostly fun. tyler and i are suprisingly alike (except i have a better sense of style), and one of the things we enjoy doing is forcing the myers-briggs test onto others - infp's can't help ourselves. actually, i don't really do it so much anymore, but tyler has recently fixated so i join in to support him and help him hone his skills. :) we had a really fun time trying to figure out nate, who refuses to be figured out... he's not a big fan of being boxed-in and labeled (typical isfp). except in his unflinching love of all things larry david - which is especially funny since he's kinda like kramer. i think that i could write a sit-com based on members of my family. i'll save that for another blog. someone remind me if i forget...

2009 in photos - may

did you know i make the rockin' world go round? at least that's what freddie mercury told me...

this picture was taken in montreux, switzerland which is on lake geneva. faye and i visited there one afternoon with some of our new friends from l'abri. i took a lot of amazing pictures that day with gorgeous mountain views behind bright spring flowers... but THIS is what we call random, so it made the blog.
apparently mr. mercury made montreux into his second home, and who can blame him!?! switzerland is easily the most picturesque place i have ever visited. i wouldn't say it is the most beautiful in the greater sense of the word -but it is impossible to take a picture that does not look like it belongs on a postcard. and montreux is like a wonderland - a wonderland that my wallet could only afford to spend one afternoon in. all the same, i would visit switzerland again in a heartbeat. highly recommended.

2009 in photos - april

in april i visited the WMF field in romania. all of the WMF sierra leone staff were supposed to go, but there was a visa issue for our sierra leoneans, and so they couldn't be with us. those of us who were able to go tried to represent the gang as best we could. it was a big dissapointment for everyone that things didn't work out as planned, but we did enjoy our time in romania. i laughed a lot while i was there.

this person helped! this is my new friend john koon. a fellow ohioan (from bexley, as you may have guessed from this classy display), he works with WMF in galati and hopes to move to moldova soon. i'm about to use a lot of names that you don't know, but try to follow me... the story behind this picture is that rachel borrowed this highlighting cap from anna. when rachel returned it, anna ended up carrying it around in her purse for a few days until she discovered it while we were all at dinner. naturally, she put it on her head. and naturally, we all laughed. next, anna's husband paul decided to wear the cap, and we laughed even harder. then, it got passed on to john, who really stole the show. i laughed until i cried. of course, the cap was passed on down the line to me, where the game died. i just couldn't follow that act.

2009 in photos - march (but not really)

apparently i didn't take any pictures in march... so here is a picture of my beautiful friend allison when she visited in december. we went to the beach by boat with some of my friends on christmas day, and we came back to the city as the sun was setting. very nice memory. having one of my best friends here for the holiday was the best gift ever! i will never forget it.

allison got married on august 1, and i couldn't be there, but i thought of her all day. funny enough, i was at dinner with some friends on her wedding day, and they asked about her and how she was doing. i looked at my the time on my phone and said "she's a married woman now. let the dream die." :) congrats allison. love you lots!

2009 in photos - february

quite a while back, chris started inviting the lighthouse peeps to the beach every saturday morning to play ultimate frisbee. it used to be football (soccer to the americans) but i think they were ruining the balls every other week, so that got kinda expensive after a while... anyway, at first the kids weren't so sure about the whole frisbee thing. but once they got the hang of it, they were addicted. so now they go every saturday unless it is pouring rain.

i don't play sports with the boys because they think of me like a sister, but our mom isn't around to tell them not to hurt me... get the point? they are what we might call "competitive" and also what we might call "much stronger than this wimpy white girl." anyway, i never used to go, but in february i started to. i just watch and enjoy being by the water and hanging out with the kids who aren't playing. this picture was taken one saturday, and i will not name the kid, but i will tell you that he is one of my favorite kids on the planet earth. with that said, many of you will know who this is. isn't he a heart-breaker!?!

2009 in photos - january

we had visitors from WMF romania in january, and they helped me celebrate my birthday! this photo was taken in a poda-poda on my last day as a 27-year-old. we were on our way to the best beach in the world (river number 2!!!) where we enjoyed pepper chicken a-la-florence and chocolate cake. :)

pictured left to right: poda-poda apprentice, cami's neck, chris, aunty sally, george, noah, david, faye's forehead, me. unpictured: erin, keyara, florence, lenuta, magda, fanel, and poda-poda driver.