Saturday, May 19, 2012

A F R I C A in retrospect...

July 20, 2009

since you all just loved these notes so much and you miss reading them... i decided i would give you one more! well actually i had this one planned all along... mostly because i love the word retrospect and so i wanted to use it.... but i love surprising people, and so here you go :)

for those of you who don't know...we had a slight travel snag.
we woke up friday morning and finished up everything in namibia. handed over our keys and left little notes everywhere for kimpossible...oh and we stole the rest of her endearments. and then we waited outside for our shuttle.
this giant van picked us up... just us and took us to walvis bay. we were pretty early but we went ahead and checked in. we put our luggage onto the scale and the woman tells me that i am 20kg over.
i politely informed her that i did not know that conversion and she politely told me she did not know either. so i asked a guy in line who converted it on his phone and informed me that meant i was 40 pounds over.
because they weigh all of it together.
and then i realize that i can't move anything around...
because they weigh all of it together
and then she politely informs us that we are going to owe 615 namibian dollars
that we don't have.
but then neil, the guy who saved our luggage 3 weeks ago came to the rescue and politely informed her that because we are traveling from the states, we are excused from that silly rule.

but that was the least of our problems.
when we had already been sitting in the airport for about 2 hours and it was about time to start boarding... we heard it
the flight to joberg is delayed.
2 hours.
not good.
we were supposed to leave around 1 and due to technical difficulties did not take off until 4 15.
by the time we all got to joberg, every flight to the us was gone.
so they put us all up in hotels and gave us meal vouchers.

i was super duper excited... but i had this gut feeling that when i informed my family, they would not feel the same.
always go with your gut ha ha
so we were exhausted and really just wanted to get home... but that was not happening.
so the first thing we did was go into a shop and purchase a toblerone (chocolate) bar in order to get money to use the phone.
and just because we deserved chocolate.
we needed chocolate.
so we wandered into this calling place where this man at the front counter was literally laughing at us... that's how pathetic we looked.
so he got us a calling card and gave us the instructions.
i think he could tell we were slightly past following some detailed list of instructions and so he proceeded to do it for us.
so we let our families know that it was completely out of our control that we were going to be living it up for a night free of charge in joberg. and then we went on our way.
got to the hotel got checked in and then followed the zambian guys to dinner.
ate some fish and then crashed after watching some tv on the plasma.

to make a long story short we woke up and ate some lunch at a pretty cool pizzeria where i had the most amazing salad ever... and the most colorful. carrots, avacado, lettuce, spinach, feta, corn, cucumber, tomato, and this amazing dressing. (i'm not making this very short...)
did i mention it was free?
and they had this awesome quote on the salt shaker that made me laugh and so i wrote it down so that you too could enjoy it:
"ok. if you're reading this because you're date hasn't arrived yet and you've run out of people to text, here's something to keep you busy for another 1.2 seconds: salt was once such a valuable commodity it was used as money. ok now you're on your own."
so honest.
it was refreshing.
here becky and i used all of our brain cells and energy to add up all the rands we had spent and figure out how many i owed her. we were trying very hard when it hit me that she had used a 20 so if i just gave her a 10 us, it would cover the conversion... gosh i supposed we were just trying to adapt ha ha. but it was quite amusing.

then we went to the airport...about 6 hours early just to be safe... where we ran into everyone else from our flight being overcautious as well.
we did a lot of shopping with the intentions of making our feet hurt so bad that we could not wait to sit down on that plane... for 20 hours.
we finally got on the plane... survived the 9 hours to dakar... and then i knocked myself out with dramamine and when i woke up there were only 2 hours to go. granted they were the longest 2 hours of my entire life... but we had a fun row and so we made it. stepped onto us soil again in dc and a few hours later were reunited with our families in Pittsburgh. a day late... but alive, and that's all that really counts.

so apparently traveling makes me think a lot... or perhaps in all of those extra hours i just had a few spare minutes on my hands... not really sure, but i have got some insights for you that i gathered in the midst of the journey home. and just some fun things that you should know.

it's times like these when you have got to see the glass at least 1/2 full if not 3/4.
not everyone wants to hurt you or kill you, and not every glitch in the plan has to be catastrophic. in fact the way i see it, people are for the most part good-or at least if you whip out that common language you can drag the good out of them. and when something throws you off or back a couple of steps, you have got to make the best of it! i think its those people who are always determined to find fault and to be miserable and to find the terrible, that so often stumble upon it. and well then who could blame them for always finding it?
but i think it works both ways. if you keep looking-no matter how hard you have to look-for the good and the beauty, you'll pretty much always find it. and you can call me crazy or childish or unrealistic, but it's who i am and it's how i choose to live my life. and it's worked well for me so far, so i intend to keep it up.
and if someday it catches up with me that will be ok because i'll have so many good and beautiful moments to look back on. and it will probably be a good and beautiful moment that is the end of me too.. at least that's how i'll see it :)

so timezones are whacked out. i'm just saying. they are crazy all the time but especially when you are flying over the ocean. this whole black abyss below you where pretty much everything is lost-including and especially time. they can tell you what time it is where you are going and you can figure out what time it is where you left from but as long as you are hovering over those dark waters, time simply doesn't exist.
sometimes i wish i could find that place more often.

i have this terrible habit of hurting myself in the same exact spot multiple times. my left thumb has the potential for 3 dora band aids right worries i just picked the one that hurt the most.

i now have an afrikaans bible-but you probably shouldn't ask me how i got it because it's pretty much the most rebellious thing i have ever done.

something cool about africa but completely frustrating to any american... there are no clocks anywhere! even in our hotel room we got a wake up call and then had to call the front desk to find out what time it was. they just really don't pay all that much attention to time here which i love, i'm just not wired for that.

i also realized just how much i love airports. just watching people. wondering why they are there and where they are going. are they moving or vacationing? are they coming or going? are they glad to be on that plane or wishing they could run away from whatever it is they might face upon landing? so many people and cultures and languages and stories. it's beautiful really.
and while there is no way they could all communicate, there is this one common language.
it starts with a smile and a smile can open up whole new worlds. it's that universal symbol that says we may be from very different worlds and lead very different lives and speak very different languages, but i'm going to try my best to understand. and that is powerful.

so while flying.. i developed a list of travel tips for all those of you who plan to make a flight like this one in your lifetime.

1. prior to a very long flight... make yourself so very exhausted, and your feet so very tired and aching that you simply cannot wait to get on that plane and sit down-you will certainly be doing A LOT of that.

2. buy food-plane food is never good no matter how good they are at describing it.

3. layer t-shirts, long sleeve t's, hoodies, socks, and some sort of light pant to prepare for every sort of temperature on the plane.

4. bring a book... no matter how much you hate reading- you can run out of positions to sleep, things to think, and provided movies in that amount of time.

5. charge your ipod!

6. clear the air with the people around you as soon as you sit down. you may have never seen them before and you may never see them again but 18 hours with someone on a plane can make you bond rather quickly.

7. always look out for other people even if they drop or forget something silly. speak that language (kindness) because if you are anything like me, you'll need it in return at some point.

8. set mental goals for yourself. portions of book to finish in some amount of time, songs to listen to, etc. challenge yourself to not look at the flight map until you have accomplished so much. you will still be disappointed but a little less perhaps.

9. bring dramamine.. lots of it.

10. don't eat or drink too much.. the bathrooms aren't worth it.

11. do devotions. after all you'll never get closer to God- on a normal day anyways

12. don't recline your seat-at least all the way. believe me.. you would hate it if someone was all up in your grill for 15 hours.
i'm not bitter or anything.

13. don't get nervous when they refuel the plane and they ask you not to use anything that would start a fire. (just pray that out of 400 people on your plane from all over the world, no one is dumb enough to do so.)

14. pack a toothbrush and face wash and plenty of extra under garments. these crazy long flights are unpredictable and you might get there while your luggage chills half way across the world. or they put you in a hotel.. lugageless of course and you have to survive with what you've got.

15. choose what you will wear on the plane very very wisely. you may be spending more time in them than planned...

16. never panic ever. and don't be afraid to ask questions (and smile when you do :))

17. oh and especially don't panic when you land after an 8 hour flight and realize you still have 10 hours to go.

hope those help :)

so basically, i can't believe that 2 days ago i was 8000 miles away in africa
i was in africa.

and just like that i was walking the neighborhood next to te in my bare feet looking up at different stars again.
and now when i see the little giraffes and elephants that z plays with i just have this whole new view.
it was a beautiful experience in every way.
but the pictures just say it so much better than i ever could.

do you ever feel like some moments in life are just straight out of the movies?
i had a lot of those moments on this trip.
the night that we drove to the tug in a taxi all dressed up for a fancy dinner our last night in swakop (or so we thought), the music from slumdog came on.
and then as we drove out of namibia to the airport a sad song played in the background as we rode in silence just waiting to pass the sand and ocean and beautiful sky we have come to love
ha ha
or in the shuttle on the way to the airport there was african flute music playing in the back as we drove through downtown joberg.

you know you have them.
or those moments when you are doing something and you wonder what kind of music would be playing in the background if you were indeed on the big screen?
and then there are also those mometns when it looks as though you are in that movie. like they pulled the scene- set and all. but then you look around and there is this one element out of place but somehow it doesn't ruin it, it just makes it perfect for you.
like at the tug restaurant... candle lit fancy and nice and five star dining and pretty sunset outside over the cvean crashing up against the shore and that sparkling african sky-probably would have made a great romantic movie moment. but instead it was two very out of place american girls living it up and enjoying their last evening (or so they thought) abroad.

we watched the lion king tonight and i just couldn't believe that a few days ago i was driving through the very land that inspired that movie! and i was really really missing my super nintendo aladin and lion king and donkey kong...gosh i wish i could find that thing. if anyone has it please bring it along to cbc with you! oh and i have this theory about how simba got his name
there is this line of snacks and chips in africa called simba. and i did my research... they have been around for a long time. so my guess is that one day they were all sitting around in africa trying to get inspiration for the movie and naming characters and on guy looked down at his snackage and was like... simba... and the rest is history. it's not that crazy you know...

so this is really it now.
the end of the notes.
and my randomness.
i mean i could do this all the time, but somehow i don't feel like you would be as motivated to read just normal randomness... i think the africa part was really what grabbed you.
so until the next adventure :) or when jesus just gives me something really good that i must share...
i am home in ohio and now it's time to get really really excited about cbc in the fall and doing my part to make it amazing!
love you all and praying for you!
thanks for sharing this journey with me :)

No comments:

Post a Comment