Saturday, November 15, 2008

the sweeter moments of life...

it's 5 am...i ve been up since 3...well really all night...but i am wide awake and i dare not sleep without writing this!
i have just spent the past 2 hours Skyping with all my classmates from RTS.  Really the word "classmates" doesnt do this group of friends justice.  Let me just tell you how much fun it was!! They had all gathered together for a surprise 'going away' party for our classmate (and dearest friend, Bev) as she is about to make the venture back across the pond. It is hard to believe she will not be in Jackson when I come home for Christmas.  I told others that I haven't known my adult life in Jackson without Bev being there!!  So sweet Mike set up his camera so that I could 'attend' the party.  oh my special!!  I had warned them that i might get a bit teary as it s hard to really put into words how much i have missed these 12 people (and their spouses, families, etc). well before i took my cat hour nap leading up to our 3 am planned skyping appt (keep in mind it s 7 pm their time), i thought "no..i m fine."  well let s just say to go from spending the past two years living every step of life short of sleeping on the classroom floor with these people, to moving 4000 miles away and not seeing or talking to them for 3 months to seeing all of them in ONE room at ONE time saying "HEY!!!" is slightly moving.  They were dear enough to let me get through all the tears enough to talk for TWO HOURS to EVERYONE! 
It was wonderful.  i m still beaming.  
the sun has officially risen now.  honestly, it was cool to be up all night.  we had our biggest rain yet all night tonight.  Rain pitter pattering on the tin roof followed by the gradual sun rise is pretty amazing here in Africa.'s to 4 weeks til I am blessed to spend more time with these precious friends...

Sunday, November 2, 2008

sunshine and rainbows...

I havent mentioned the heat yet for several reasons...probably b/c in some small way I subconsciously think that if I dont talk about it, it will just miraculously go away.  Denial has worked least for a short while.  However, seeming as it s November and I am officially tanner than I was in the 'heat' of the summer in MS, I figure it s time to pay homage to the current temperature in Malawi.  
It's hot.  And I grew up in the south.  It's a different heat here.  The sun is powerful, which makes for some interesting situations for this fair skinned brunette.  It's so hot you begin to wonder if taking a shower really accomplishes anything, you sweat more than you sleep, you wear more clothing in one day than you thought possible, and there is no such thing as getting two 'wears' out of a shirt here.  Everything is washed after one 'wearing.'
My good friend, Mike, said the other day "Harper, last time we chatted, i learned to be thankful for non-bleached fruit.  What can i be thankful for today?"  I said "The power in Lilongwe goes out every Tuesday night at 6 pm."  To which he replied, "Ah, no AC all night long.  Not to mention lights...Ok, I can be thankful for that."  I chuckled to myself and said "Oh no Mike..there is no AC in Malawi.  But yes, you can be thankful for lights."
But alas...after much talk (and complaining) about the heat...there is a respite on the way.  Rain season.  Yesterday, we got a brief preview of just how wonderful it is.  A discussion today at lunch made me realize something that I had noticed but not actually 'put together' in my mind yet.  The love for rain here is different than anywhere else I ve ever been.  (Probably b/c i grew up in the south where it rains all the time...thus not promoting much of a 'thankful' spirit for the weather).  However here...the rain brings greenery, grass, cooler temperature, crops, flowers, softer ground (to play Ultimate), serenity, great napping atmosphere, and most prominently as exemplified yesterday...rainbows.  Wow....the most 'neon', if i can describe a rainbow like that...colorful--complete ROYGBIV, rainbow i ve ever seen.  It was a double, with the second being faintly present behind the main.  It was gorgeous.  The sound of the raindrops on our tin roof were heavenly.  I was already asleep and awoke to the sight, smell, sound, and almost taste of rain.  It was grand.  
I kind of feel like my friend Carrie who said "what are we 69? We re talking about the weather??" s just that when you live in Africa it's hard not to talk about it!
Here's to more sunshine and rainbows...


you realize you have been in Africa for a significant amount of time when...
--you have a distinct Chaco tan
--you dont blink an eye when the power goes out
--being dirty is just a normal part of the day
--conversations like "can we get chicken at Food Zone?"  "Sure...chicken is chicken.  it's fresh here.  There are a bazillion of them walking around everywhere."...are a regular everyday occurrence (esp between Rachel and me)
--you are on round 2 of the gallon size shampoo bottle
--your sister says to you "wow, i m really gonna miss these power adaptors."
--you can officially say "I will be home next month for Christmas!!"
--you begin to wonder if you will actually be able to drive on the 'correct' side of the road when you return home
--converting Kwatcha to dollars in your head is actually getting easier

...just to name a few