Wednesday, October 26, 2005

the heat, my goodness the heat...

hello over there. just wanted to get a quick word out to all you circlevillians and tell you that i hope you all had fun and ate some good food for me. i can't believe that the Pumpkin Show really happened without me... i'm just glad that i didn't miss the big 100th show. that would have been awful. my friend sarah has been really great about listening to me explain the pumpkin show over the last week and she's from a small town, so she understands to an extent. when i got home on wednesday she had made a bunch of pumpkins out of construction paper and a sign that said "circleville - it's nearer than you think." and she somehow found canned pumpkin here and my roomies made a really yummy pumpkiny treat. i don't know how they did it, but i was THRILLED! i thought it was really sweet of them.

faye (that's our team leader) had malaria last week. and then we found out that cami (the other woman we live with) has malaria too. she was sick for almost 3 weeks but wasn't showing the normal symptoms, so they didn't know what it was... but now we know it was malaria, but the hospital couldn't figure out what else... so she hopped a plane back to the US on monday to see if someone can tell her what's wrong and make her better. seems like everyone else is sick too... the servant team has had to assume some extra responsibility because of all the crazy illness, but i've actually been impressed with us. we've only been here 2 months and don't speak a whole lot of Krio, but between the 5 of us, we've done good.

for some reason (which i'm told is Ramadan) the power company has been SUPER generous this last week. for the first 2 months that i was here, we probably had electricity 10 times... but it's been on everyday this week. not all day, but for most of it. this is great for obvious reasons, but my favorite part is that we've had fans during the day which makes it bearable to sit in one place and read for hours on end! so i've been reading a lot lately. i'm lovin' C.S. Lewis right now, so i've read the first 4 chronicles of narnia (according to the list i'm using) and i finished "till we have faces" a couple of nights ago. i haven't completely processed through the whole thing yet, but i'm gonna go ahead and recommend it to everyone. i loved it! it was beautifully written and i really can't stop thinking about it. i want to write about it, but i don't want to ruin it for anyone, so read it and then we can talk. i might try to read it again before i go home.

the last week has been a tough one for me on several levels, but there has been no shortage of lessons to come out of it all. i know that God is using this time to refine my own character as well as my perception of His character. i keep finding that i don't know much about either! but i guess that puts me in a good position to learn, right? i'm realizing that i believe a lot of lies about myself - some are self-serving, others are really self-defeating... on one hand, i've learned that i'm not all that tough, patient, compassionate, bold, and many other things that i wish i was... but on the other hand, i've realized that i can be super hard on myself in some areas... to the extent that i hold myself back from doing things that i can/should do just because i assume myself to be incapable. it's craziness really. but i can think of no better time or place to begin to work through all of this stuff, so i guess that's good. hard and not all that fun sometimes, but good.

out of time for now, more later i hope...

Friday, October 14, 2005

sorry, it's been a while...

the last couple of weeks have been loaded. as many of you have heard, my grandpa did leave us on Wednesday the 28th, right around the time that i posted that blog about him. my mom says that the funeral was beautiful and a true celebration. it has been harder on me than i expected. i anticipated the sorrow of loosing someone close to me, but i never imagined what it would be like to go through it without my family. and for some self-focused reason i initially considered that i would be losing my grandpa while failing to consider that my mom would be losing her daddy and my grandma would be losing her husband of 50+ years... those realizations have made it hard to feel so far away right now, but i'm trusting that i'm in freetown for a REAL good reason. another lesson in BEING where i find myself... but i admit that have been counting the days and longing to be somewhere else.

it's not all bad though! i read that paragraph and realized that i sound like a total downer... whoa. i'm still learning and laughing and making friends and getting my butt kicked here in freetown. this whole longing to go home thing has had several lessons in it. first of all, i've been convicted of the fact that i am an educated American with constant access to an "escape plan." if i really really wanted to, i could be out of here within a couple of days. and even if i don't want to leave freetown, i can still find a resturant with sattelite TV or an internet cafe with air-conditioning and at least let my mind escape for an hour or so... it's hard to accept that i am one of the "white people."

today is the exact half-way point of my stay in freetown. 8 weeks down, and 8 to go. because i'm feeling kinda stuck and not all that positive right now, i've been trying to think of all the things that i like about freetown. all of the things that tickle my throat or make me smile. here's a short list...

i love the smell of diesel in the morning. (i realize this sounds weird, but i'm serious)
i love it that you can see the water from almost any point in freetown.
i love when kids grab my hand and call me "auntie."
i love when bus drivers slam on their brakes to let little kids and old ladies cross the street.
i love how the view of the water from our veranda never looks the same twice.
i love fula bread and laughing cow cheese. everyday. every single day.
i love seeing kids wash their school uniforms in the afternoon.
i love the bright colors and head scarves that all of the women wear.
i love the poda-poda that says "neatness" across the front.
i love cayan pepper.
i love that people sing and dance so freely here.
i love feeling like i've made a new friend in spite of the language barrier.
i love granat cake - peanut brittle has got nothing on this stuff!

and the list could go on, but i'll stop for now. hope you're enjoying the changing seasons over there. it's still hot during the days and rainy during the nights, but i like it that way. got to spend the day at the beach thursday so i'm not complaining!

later - steph