Wednesday, July 29, 2009

poster and cake

I forgot to say that the delicious looking and very creative cake in the photo blogged below was made by the infamous Mrs. Adams!! Being the greatest next door neighbor that she is, both at Christmas and when we arrived home in June she brought over a homemade decorated chocolate cake! She also made the sign when my parents arrived home from visiting us in Malawi. Anyway...i had to give credit where credit was due! Thank you Mrs. Adams!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

"Life is a Highway"...

Oh...i have no idea where to begin. I recently just read the blog of a friend who has just arrived home from Malawi as well. I told her that she has completely put me to shame as she actually blogged all throughout the closure and departure from Malawi, then into being home. I, however, just opted out. There seem to be just too many thoughts in my head. Sadness, nostalgia, high levels of anticipation, some anxiety, even feelings of questioning whether or not I completed my role/job in Malawi. 

I miss Malawi, the culture and people. I miss the warm-hearted nature they provided and with which they loved me. I miss the simplicity of life in Africa. It is so refreshing., do I ever miss Flood Church. Not really sure how to describe that. I miss the African or Malawian phrases--well the ones I knew. It catches me off guard when people look at me strangely when I am sure to greet them first in the grocery store instead of just bluntly asking them a question. I miss the African handshakes. I actually do miss driving on the left hand side of the road and right hand side of the car. It takes some serious focus when pulling out into traffic. I miss the simplicity of having no or one or two options in the stores. The sheer volume of variety here is entirely overwhelming and consuming. I had a mini-freak out when finding myself accompanying my mom (unexpectedly) to Sam's. I stuck to the book aisle which was enough. Wow...the surplus is just phenomenal.

So here I month into being back in the US of A. I am glad I am here as I know this is where the Lord has me, but it's a rollercoaster. I cant begin to describe the cultural experiences of readjusting to America. My sister and I have sent countless text messages back and forth all throughout the day of various things we see and hear people say. It's complete comic relief. My sister clearly more interesting and comical than myself.

We have both found the beach to be a great place to transition. Our parents have been very generous to let us literally 'move' in at the beach each weekend. Rachel has stayed here fairly permanently for this month and a half before the next change in zip code--California. So...yeah...our heads are spinning with thoughts and attempts to debrief from Africa while the move to California looms in our eye sight. It's crazy to think that in less than two months I m going to go from standing at the front of the classroom lecture to sitting in the chairs taking notes as hurriedly as my students were.

Here's to more transitioning. Learning that all of life is one big s just that some are more life-changing than others. Whew..

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

a painful reality

Goodbye's hurt. I knew that and have experienced that in several capacities before arriving in Malawi...but I think i am experiencing it in a whole new i dont think..i know this for a fact. It is strange, surreal, moving, emotional, exhausting and life-changing. My mind is very much 'all over the place.' It's a total rollercoaster....chatting online on tuesday night with one of your best friends in the states and discussing just how soon you will see them when you land in MS, then going the very next morning and saying about 30+ goodbyes, to continue the mind-boggling list of packing essentials. What?! Excitement to bittersweet-ness.
To put it into perspective...Last week I was discussing with a full-time missionary family, whether or not one of the (ridiculously talented) musical groups at the college actually recorded. He said no that the recording is just not good enough. He then said that it's not something you can record and then play again in the states. It wont sound the same to the ear and heart when back in the States. He said "you literally have to take it in your memory and heart." Pretty good explanation. Not to sound self-righteous or 'no one can understand'...just that it s hard to explain in words.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

what will you tell them...

With just over a week left in Malawi, my head and heart are full of emotions...ironically they are all contradictory emotions...Very ready to see friends and family...and ready to start school, yet not ready to say goodbye to friends and 'family' life here.  I have never had this kind of pull before.  As one missionary friend here said (seeing just how teary I was last Friday), "Caroline, you dont have to leave!"  
These last few days have been great...with less and less teaching.  I am ready for the year to be over in that sense.  It is strange thinking of packing and confirming the flight home, yet exciting in the same way.  Like I said...contradictory feelings.
I know I havent blogged in forever...i quickly realized it was getting harder and harder to not only keep up but to put into words all that was going on.  I cant wait to see many of you.  Hard to believe it s been about a year since Rachel and I first came.  As one friend recently said, "How will you ever begin to describe the experience you have had in Malawi?" Not sure that I ever will...

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


fun times with kindergardeners:
--you say the word 'celebrate' and they break out into a song 'celebrating jesus'...clapping and all.  so what do we do? of course we have an improve music lesson in the middle of computer.
--then i overhear one little one saying "Curtis, I really dont know what to do. I know i am 6 and older than you but I'm not a computer aspert." aspert...i mean hilarious.
--presenting a third Ms. Harper to the already twin resembling Harper teachers on campus.  Talk about throwing little kids for a loop.  They just stare.  Then out of amazement "She came all the way from America??!" pretty quick for 5 years old.
--the hugs on the way out the door are priceless.  they are so little so they basically wrap themselves around your waist and legs.  

Saturday, March 28, 2009


Our parents are IN malawi!! is hard to believe.  They arrived yesterday around 3 pm, which is a miracle in and of itself that they actually got here on the flight initially planned.  Basically the Lord carried them through each airport and connecting flight.  They had quite the experience though.  Hopefully one day I will write about it.  
But they are HERE! Like I said...hard to believe.  I emailed my dad's long time office manager asking which was harder to believe:  That mom and dad had 2 daughters living in Africa or that Mom and Dad were actually going to Africa to visit them!  Earlier this week I told several is just surreal because for so long the possibility of someone coming to see you is...well...not a possibility b/c you are on the other side of the world.  And then all of a sudden you are getting ready for them to come...and SEE them in the airport and it is pretty shocking.  Mom said she can understand now why/how we think (all the time), "How did we get here and What are we doing?!"
I m excited about a fun week of letting them see/experience our life here.  We are having a braii on tuesday night (that s a south african bbq), showing them the regular day at school, basketball practice, dinner with our favorite families here, etc.  It is just the normal routine but with our parents!  Dad has been asked to speak in chapel which i am very excited about.  i love hearing him speak.
I just wanted to give a quick update.  I will try to do so as much as possible throughout the week.  yay for family visitors!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

over stimulation

so at any given moment in the same moment when driving in malawi, you might car at a dead stand still in your lane while simultaneously having a car trying to pass from the oncoming traffic (on a double yellow mind you...if there is an actual double yellow line painted on the street), with various pedestrians on the side of the road as well as two or so casually crossing the street...yet everyone is still driving at about 50 kph passing within a hair thickness of the car next to them.  This happened today as I was driving to the grocery store.  I turned the corner and was able to look down this 4 lane road in Lilongwe...i saw all of this at the same time.  I chuckled to myself.  Shocking thing didnt phase me...i was one of those people continuing to travel at the same speed.  I clearly remember the days where i would have flipped from the slight stimulation overload! 

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

It's hard to explain

It's hard to explain.  Life in Malawi--it's hard to explain.  It's so complicated yet so much more simple.  It's hard yet a lot easier.  It's sad yet so inspiring.  There is such beauty yet desolation and clarity of the effects of sin.  It can be completely depleting yet simultaneously rejuvenating.  It can bring about severe dislike for various aspects of life, but a total love for country and people.  It brings about laughter quickly accompanied or paired with tears.  
Perhaps because of these various realities, emotions, feelings, and observations, I find it hard to blog more often.  I wish I could and I often find myself saying "i have got to write about this!" Yet when i sit down to actually type it out or put "pen to paper" I seem to go blank and my mind starts wandering as it fills with various moments of "i still cant believe i live here."
As routine begins to develop and the things I thought once to be so taxing (going to the grocery store) become second nature, I realize June will quickly approach and this simpler yet more complicated way of life will become the crazy highways of America.  
I love that the biggest road in Lilongwe is a 4 lane and it is seemingly huge!  
I actually enjoy (to some extent) being blinded by another's head lamp b/c we are eating dinner in the dark for the upteenth time this week and we subconsciously forget not to look straight at each other as we shine the light in their eyes.  
I love seeing improvement in the girls on the basketball team.  Who knows how or why they have decided to play since Christmas break...but they are improving a lot and it is really fun to see the surprise and excitement on their face when they make their shots.  (ok...just want to say that while i am typing this...the electricity just went out.  i have exactly 32 mins left on my computer battery.)  
I love having the college students come up after class to ask a question regarding counseling b/c they have thought through various relational aspects.  
I love how big of a deal it is to make chocolate chip cookies while in Malawi...and then how bigger of a deal it is to eat them.
I love how our house is directly behind the soccer field so periodically if not more often than less we will have a soccer ball fly onto our condi.
And I love how our house (affectionately named the Brown house or Larry's Angel's) is Grand Central Station.  I counted 5 knocks on the door in less than 30 mins yesterday. are just a few things...
I ve attached a pic that has really not much to do with any of this...but is an updated photo of sis and me.  We returned from Lujeri...the Tea Estates...a few weeks ago. of the most beautiful places I have ever seen.  I wish i could show all of the pics...but it d take til June to upload them all.
until next time.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A new look...

Happy New Year!
Im trying out this new background...for some reason, though, every time I look at it, I laugh.  Probably b/c it s really girly and here I am living in Africa?  Not that if you are girly you cant live in Africa...b/c clearly you can.  Case and point.  But still the background choice seems kind of ironic.  
It has been quite a while since I have written.  Rach and I are back in Malawi after a really great Christmas with family and friends.  There is much to write about the three weeks we had there (apart from the culture shock of experiencing the entire row devoted to chips alone at the new Kroger).  Rach and I hit the ground running in the States and didnt really stop until we left again on Jan 8th.  At one point my sweet friend Laura said "have you gone one day without having breakfast or lunch with someone?"  I simply said "no" then we walked into the restaurant.  
So all to was a great three weeks, busy and too short, but wonderful.  
I have a lot to write.  It s still swimming around in my head so hopefully I will get it all out on paper or the world wide web soon.  Many stories...the flight back to Malawi is a blog entry in and of itself.  Oh my word.  All of the grey hairs that Rachel and I found when we got home (b/c there is not necessarily primping worthy lighting in Africa) returned on that 2 day travel extravaganza.  More to come on that.
I didnt exactly handle the whole sleeping pattern-getting rid of jet lag thing as I should have so I am still reaping the consequences of that.  So I will hold off on any particular stories.  However...I hope to write soon about Christmas stories and adventures in the Joberg airport. Ciao.