some lists and a final thank you

The little things I missed about America:
somewhere to call home, having my own room, baking, eating cookie dough, Grandma’s fudge cake, cold nonfat milk, hanging out with my brother, working on projects/organizing things with my mom, conversations with my dad, having a laptop, my church, church friends, church potluck every week, driving around and running errands, having a cell phone, organizing parties with Gelli, catch-up sessions with Holli, God conversations with Deanna and/or Brigina, late night Skype typing conversations with Ayumi, Shayna and I knowing pretty much everything about each others’ lives, the Russian princess, one-on-ones, having a group to lead and mentor (like Alpha), worship leading with Abel, eating for free at the Caf, choosing my own food and portions, Souplantation on special occasions, being with my family, less people around all the time, no clique drama, toasters and microwaves, Honey Bunches of Oats with Strawberries, not spending so much money, David being like my younger brother, free (or cheaper) laundry, more clothes options, fresh-baked cookies, brownies, consistently warm showers, being awake at the same time as the rest of California, grilled cheese sandwiches, wind not being freezing, being included and loved, not worrying about fitting in, more consistent God time and personal time, family puzzle time, living with or near my friends, telling Kohei way more than I probably should, the whole entire H8/E79 family, staying up late, watching TV movies with my mom, speaking Japanese or Tagalog or Russian or whatever combination of them that I want to in everyday conversation, listening to my own music, church get-togethers, a regular diet, being able to understand cashiers that talk at an audible volume, Costco samples and choices, having time to organize all my pictures and videos, having my own books to read instead of borrowing them from other people and not being able to finish them before I have to give them back, soft carpet

Specific things I’m looking forward to (besides the above):
seeing people at SEP staff training, getting substitute teaching jobs, getting a summer job (?), starting a church youth group sort of thing, hanging out with Renna and Morgan and the other local people in the summer, writing, making video montages with Gelli, SEP band practice (?), my 21st birthday, SEP in the new location with the new tracks idea, my dorm of senior camp girls, leading the Bahamas mission trip, having a Harry Potter party, being a Team Transfer leader, my new roommates, starting my credential program

The little things I’ll miss about South(ern) Africa:
Steers ice cream for less than 50 cents, chasing monkeys out of rooms (“be the bigger monkey”), accents, waving to strangers, the beautiful AE campus, the game reserve, seeing zebras and monkeys almost every day, the beautiful hills of Lesotho, the Drakensberg Mountains,  field trips, the Safari 1 group (“I love us!”), eating ice cream almost every day, seeing beauty everywhere, Reagen and Leizel, visiting different churches, long trips in 22-seater buses, waking up early, going to bed early, getting 8 hours of sleep, being with people I may not normally hang out with, easier classes, straight As, enjoying learning history, my homestay family, my homestay little siblings singing Justin Beiber and High School Musical and making music videos, watching Hannah Montana with them, walking around Kalk Bay, non-crispy bacon, rooming with Allie in Cape Town, staying at the B&B with wonderful friends, exploring new places, the V&A Waterfront, long walks by myself, learning to rely on God alone, taking the initiative to talk with those I care about, being okay with spending money, rooming with Renna during the last week, finding out how much I have in common with Morgan and Renna, getting loads of passport stamps, ostrich steak, tea time, blogging and having stories to tell, worship team, crazy lightening storms, watching movies every other night, Lord of the Rings marathon, random hoe-downs, learning more about myself, my two D-Groups, tea time chocolate cookies and muffins, worship nights, being vulnerable, getting tan, interviewing Muslim women in the mall, knowing everyone in my classes, monkey attacks, cracking up during Zulu class, mastering the 7 times tables to do Rand conversions easier, using South African lingo, McFlurry runs, wearing clothes multiple times before washing them (or Febreezing them), Reagen buying us ice cream after church, Zulu games (“Po-leesh your shoes, I love my teddy bear”), using Afrikaans (“Ek praat nie Afrikaans nie”), AE’s yummy chicken and potato meal, Zulu dancing, marriage proposals with cow offers, driving on the left, granola, warm milk, the cool breeze in Cape Town, my first toga party, photo opps on Battlefields Tour, different flavors of Cadbury slabs, Candida and family, rooibus tea with milk and 2 1/2 teaspoons of sugar, “Shame” and “Is it?”, the slip ‘n slide days, traveling, “Simon say do like this!”, secretly filming monkey families interacting, throwing mud on walls to build a house, glass Coke bottles, old Zimbabwe money, giving the cashier one currency and getting another back in change, always trying and seeing new things, rainbows, pushy street vendors, ol’ Peter and the Zambezi Express, terrible experiences that make great stories, bargaining prices way down, genuinely nice strangers, walking to Coffeeberry, running to the mall, learning what I’m good and not good at, bakeries, kurio shops, markets, the nauseating smell of Green Bar, no choices at grocery stores, late nights in the AE lounge doing homework, green plants everywhere, being in AFRICA

The adventures that I hope to never forget:
Riding the slowest horse in existence through rain and hail for 4 hours in the highlands of Lesotho, doing the highest bungee jump in the world, getting soaked by the largest waterfall in the world (and “tasting the waters of Africa”), riding an elephant, swinging 233 feet down and over a river gorge, being stuck in a stationary train for six hours until 1:45am, jumping over the line that splits Zimbabwe and Zambia, feeding a friendly wallaby, crawling through tiny passages in a cave, milking a cow in a Zulu homestead, going to a rugby game with painted faces and more spirit than the locals, hiking for miles and climbing up waterfalls barefoot and getting more than 60 cuts on my body to try and find the 4th waterfall, feeling the wind in my face in a safari car and seeing giraffes and elephants in the middle of the road, running in the game reserve past zebras during the 5:30am sunrise

full group picture on our last day at African Enterprise

Wow.  It’s been one big adventure.  I missed a lot about home and am glad to be back, but I’ll also miss many things about Africa and I’m so glad I had the opportunity to go.

As this will be my last blog (at least until my next big adventure), I think it’s appropriate to give a big THANK YOU to all of you – for reading these incredibly long posts, for commenting on them to encourage me, and for praying for me while I was gone.  I appreciate each of you SO much!

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Otto
    May 24, 2011 @ 19:33:57

    Another small trip in the big adventure of life. It is great when you can feel you enjoyed your travels and learned from them at the same time. To miss those experiences you had but still enjoy coming home to have new experiences.

    I hope all the things you learned do not get forgotten and that all your plans for the summer and coming year will work out not the way you planned them, but as part of God’s Plan for you.

    Take care, I enjoyed the reading (that is saying something, since I do not read much), and see you this weekend.

    Reply

  2. Heather urban
    May 31, 2011 @ 10:34:40

    Reading your blogs was like reading a good book. I always looked forward to the next “chapter”, and the way you write us the way you speak, so it was like hearing it from your own lips in person. I’m so happy that you got the opportunity to go on this trip, and I hope someday I can do something similar (and update you every 5 steps of the way :). Really, it’s like I got to experience it with you. So thank YOU for posting. Often times I only see/hear from people from SEP AT SEP, so it was nice to “get to know you” outside of that realm a little more. I hope your trip was the best and wish you many more adventures to come!

    Reply

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