Monday, August 29, 2011

Earthquakes and Hurricanes, Oh My

It seems that Mother Nature was so excited I'm back in Virginia that she just couldn't contain herself.  This was the second earthquake I've felt.  The first actually, was about four months ago in Rwanda.  This one was much bigger.  Not big enough for me to think we were in any real danger, but big enough that I got Baylor up from her nap and went and stood in a doorway in case anything fell off the walls.  Definitely the biggest consequence of the event for me was dealing with a tired, grumpy baby for the rest of the day.  I was awakened two nights later by an aftershock, but by the time I really had a grip on my mental faculties, I figured it would be over before I could get Baylor and go downstairs so I just stayed where I was and went back to sleep. 

Hurricanes, though, are a more familiar natural disaster for us Virginians.  We never get the brunt of the storm, but often enough get the edges of the storms to know we'll be without power for a while and have to spend the next morning clearing limbs and debris from our yards.  I have a blister and some splinters from my efforts this year.  I remember one time in high school getting out for a hurricane and it ended up changing direction so we had the day off because of some light rain.  My mom told me of a time when I was seven or eight when we lost power because of the storm for several days.  It was really cold so my dad lit a fire in the fireplace and we all stayed down in that one room.  My mom put a roast, potatoes, and carrots in a pot in the fire and cooked dinner.

It's a lot more inconvenient to live in the States without electricity than in Africa.  It seems that it is either hot or cold without air conditioning or heat; there are too many cars on the road without working traffic lights so there are extra accidents; people usually have electic stoves and ovens so you can't cook; and of course, most people don't have back-up generators so you lose much of what's in the fridge and freezer.  But that is a nice excuse to eat all the ice cream.

Thus far my time in Richmond has been surprising, hopefully I won't be encountering any tornadoes or floods here in the near future.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Family and Friends

We've been traveling so much the last few weeks visiting with family and friends, running many an errand, and meeting with sponsering churches that I just haven't seemed to find the time to post.

After four days in the Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge area with both of our immediate families, we went to the Nashville/Murfreesboro area for a week.  We were able to stay with my sister's family for a few days and then with Daniel, Kasey, and AnnElise George.  It was so fun to see Baylor playing with her cousins and friends.  We got some car work done, saw the doctor, went to the bank, had a great meeting with the shepherds at Stones River (our main sponsering church) and in general were busy all the time.  We did find time to go hiking and rock climbing at Foster Falls.  Baylor loved it.  Brett tried to convince me to let him rock climb with her on his back but you just have to draw the line somewhere. 

From Tennessee we drove to Christiansburg, VA to see Casey and Susie Lowrance, and did our best to get Casey kicked out of med school for skipping class and not studying.  We got to hiking in the Blue Ridge mountains and it was beautiful.  I miss the trees and greenery of Virginia.  I like the Tanzanian landscape as well, but it's completely different.  Both times we went hiking we were able to borrow a backpack that you can carry small children in.  And both times Baylor loved it in the beginning, hated it in the middle, and fell asleep in the end.

I would have post more pictures but I'm really awful at remembering to take my camera so we have here just a few of our time with Casey and Susie.  I'll try to get some pictures of our time with other people and places at some point. 

Friday, August 12, 2011


It's funny how different things seem after leaving a place for so long and then returning to it.  America mostly seems the same, but certain things stand out a lot to us now.  Here are 10 random observations from a furloughing missionary's first week.

There is A LOT of sugar in everything.

Things are big, from buildings to people to serving sizes at restaurants.

We keep our country clean and quite well-manicured.

We have a lot of laws, especially about driving, which most people seem to completely disregard.

Baylor is not nearly so interesting to people here as there are a plethora of other young blonde children.

Everything looks new and often shiny, except for my three year old clothes.

There is too much security in airports.

People schedule everything and the whole day is filled, even weekends.

August is hot.

When you order a sandwich without mayo, it actually comes without mayo.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

And We're Here

After a many days journey we finally made it to the good ol US of A on Tuesday night.  We were supposed to get here Monday night but alas, it was not to be.  Last Saturday we flew to Dar Es Salaam and spent the day in our hotel room waiting to get up before dawn to catch our next flight to London.  Upon arriving at the airport at 6:30 in the morning, we were greeted with "Hello.  Your flight has been delayed for a minimum of 10 hours.  Please wait for more details."  Oh happy day.  Fortunately, British Airways put everyone up at the Holiday Inn (one of the nicest hotels in Tanzania) for the day while we waited.  And then they put us all up their for the night because the flight had been delayed until the next day due to the fact that the original plane had to make an emergency landing in Greece because of engine problems.  The pilot assured us that we were not in fact on that plane but that a new one had been flown in.  As a um, somewhat nervous flier, I was relieved to hear that.  The flight was pretty smooth and Baylor behaved wonderfully for the most part, and we landed in london just 2 hours after our flight to Atlanta departed.  So, we enjoyed another night in a hotel paid for by British Airways.  By enjoyed, I don't mean we were thrilled by staying yet another night in a hotel with Baylor, but just that it was free, which was nice.  And the breakfast buffet was amazing--strawberries, hashbrowns, fresh squeezed orange juice and milk that tasted like milk.  Delicious.  

Our last flight was not quite as pleasant as the previous two.  Since we missed our first flight we got stuck in the back (poor person next to us) instead of in the bulkhead where infants usually get put and Baylor was less than thrilled with being confined yet again for nine hours.  Plus she was exhausted and I imagine a little confused.  But after four hours of grumpiness she went to sleep for the rest of the flight while I endured scary turbulence for another four hours.  I hate turbulence.  But we landed safely and soon made our way to the customs line where Baylor promptly threw up all Brett and the floor.  And while that was not exactly pleasant, we were swiftly moved to the front of the line, so there was a silver lining.  After a ridiculous amount of security, we finally exited the airport where we were met by friend extraordinaire, RaDora, who took us to Chick Fil A and then to a soft comfy bed.  I love beds in America.