Saturday, March 20, 2010

Within the Last Seven Days...

... I had a bunch of clothes stolen from the back of the Kennell's truck.
... I finished Alias season 4.
... I read The Lost Symbol, by Dan Brown.
... My computer's external speakers stopped working.
... I made amazing wheat bread.
... We got a new A/C put into our room.
... I slept with long pants and a hoodie on.
... I made part of a grocery list in French.
... I had a dream about Tory kidnapping me and taking me to a Princess camp.
... We've gone multiple days without running water.
... I woke up to fog... that turned out to be massive amounts of dust.
... I have made some solid plans for my Stateside adventure.
... I have gotten one week closer to seeing my parents.
... I have almost popped in my Spring Sing video at least four times.
... Our candles wilted. Literally wilted. They looked like how I felt. Pictures to come.
... I have talked to some of my dearest friends on Facebook and Skype.
... I have taught a dance class in which Caleb (cute 3 year old on the team) joined in for a while.
... I have (hopefully) done a more permanent job fixing our bedroom door handle.
... I have experienced post-lizard attack stress syndrome, that implements itself in the form of extreme skittishness in the presence of lizards... which is mildly interesting and highly entertaining in Kara.
... I have a renewed passion for owning a dog soon.
... I watched Fireproof and while I still shudder at some of the acting, I totally see the merit of the movie, and recommend it to everyone.
... I got to talk to Ryan!
... I chipped a tooth and talked to my dentist from Africa. Yeah, I'm cool.
... I have started actively looking forward to driving my car again.
... I have seriously considered living in Alabama, Texas, Minnesota, and Missouri.
... And I have counted my blessings that I have so many people who love me.

I love you.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Week

Just so you know, I’m eating Gobstoppers sent in a package by my lovely mother, and it’s kind of fantastic. It’s the little things :)

Last week was Spring Break for Kara Christian Academy. Sarah, Bethany, Andrea, Becky, April, Grace, Nicole, and I climbed in the car and set out for Accra, Ghana. Approx. 11 hours later, we got to the Baptist Guesthouse (Baptism Guesthouse, if you ask some of my coworkers) and checked in. Then... we went to the mall. Yes, the mall! With stores and a food court and even a movie theater! It also has a (fake) Apple store, but even though it was fake, it was marvelous. We got some groceries, then at at an amazing restaurant called Rhapsodies. I had some wonderful pasta with chicken and a cream based sauce. Goodness, it was amazing. We went back to the guesthouse and slept like babies.

The next day, we at breakfast at the guesthouse, then headed back to the mall. After some more time there, Andrea took April, Bethany, Sarah, and I to a store called Wild Gecko where we shopped and looked at super cool amazing African souvenirs. We finished up there, then picked up the other three from the mall and went back to the guesthouse to clean up (it’s very easy to get stinky here. It’s warm, and humid in Accra). Our evening consisted of dinner at “the chicken place” in the mall’s food court, then Did You Hear about the Morgans?, a super cute movie about a couple put into the witness protection program. Can I just say that it was an interesting feeling being in a movie theater in Africa? It was a good movie, though, and I really enjoyed our time in Accra. However, Accra wasn’t the highlight of our trip.

The next morning, after a breakfast run with Andrea, and some extra time in town getting various things (like gelato!), we left for Coconut Grove. We had a fairly uneventful drive there, then drove into a beautiful resort. We got our stuff in our rooms, and went into the conference room where our retreat group was already singing worship songs. The table with my small group was, of course, at the front of the room, so I walked up there and sat down, in time to listen to the speaker for the night, Becky. We broke for dinner, which was very yummy, and went back into the room for our first night’s fun activity. It was a great ice breaker and one of my favorite ones of my life so far!

I was rooming with Sarah and we loved the A/C that cooled room 21 off more than you can imagine. It was nice to come back to it every break. For the rest of the retreat, we swam in the ocean, we swam in the pool, we made wonderful friends, we sang songs, we prayed, we were pampered, we were counseled, and we were loved. I don’t want to write about the details, for a couple of reasons, but I would love to talk to anyone about it individually. Just know that it was lovely and wonderful and perfect for all of us. I made some new friends who are in a very similar place as I am in life, teaching in Africa as young single women, and it was a beautiful thing.

Some personal interesting facts from the retreat: I got to play in the ocean which was great, although I got a big bruise on my back from a particularly strong wave followed by another one that caught me off guard. I got to meet with someone and talk about grief and how to deal with it in a healthy way. I went to a great seminar on grief and transition and loss. I had my toenails painted orange. I worked out for three mornings in a row by the pool overlooking the beach. I watched some Olympic figure skating with my roommates and Dana, a new friend who lives and teaches in Ghana. And I chopped my hair off. See picture of myself and my new amazing hair, along with my hair stylist friend, Stephanie, and my pedicurist, Blair!

It’s nice to be back, but this retreat was very important at this point in my life. It was so wonderful to meet the amazing ladies who were there, and I loved making new friends.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Too Much

I see myself as a smiler. Joy, that runs deep in my heart, brings a smile to my face ALL THE TIME. This morning a nice man at the guesthouse I'm currently at in Accra, Ghana responded to my "Good morning!" with, "Good morning, Smiley!" We are on our way to Coconut Grove, which is also in Ghana, for a ladies' retreat, which I am incredibly excited about.

Fun paragraph:
Last night, we went to the mall. It's a mall. With ATMs, a food court, and stores. And A/C. We ate really good food. Today, we went back to the mall and I had ice cream and went to a grocery/miscellaneous store and I ate in the food court. Then, we went to this super cool African store. And tonight, after a shower, we went to dinner and a movie. Yes, all in Ghana! It was great.

Serious paragraph, so you can know what I need prayers/love/more prayers for:
I'm desperately lonely. I'm surrounded by lovely ladies who I love, and I know I'm blessed. I know my parents love me, and I could start a list of friends who love me, but it would be really long. But you know those times when you just don't feel it? Today/most of this month has been like that. It's really not fun. I'm not sure what's going on, other than I'm in an interesting position in life without any real stability and as a planner, it's eating me alive.

Today, when I was writing this blog in my head at the mall, I was humming. I kept humming and humming and humming this same song, a song my beautiful and wonderful French teacher, Essowe, taught Bethany and I to remember the days of the week. I have absolutely no idea why I was singing it, because Ghana is a former British colony, so I haven't even had to use French the past two days. The main part of the song repeats, "Jesus is my friend" over and over, and then it goes into, "My friend on Monday, My friend on Tuesday, etc." I said I didn't know why it was stuck in my head, but I guess that's not entirely true- I do know why I was singing it: God was trying to remind me that even when I feel friendless (which once again, I realize very much that I am absolutely not friendless by any stretch of the imagination), I'm not. He's always there.

We are loved.