Sunday, August 9, 2009

We Both Go Down Together...

I am writing to you with an extremely sore, bruised and cut up body, which is result of my adventures, and quite possibly the best day I've had here. I thought my African prime had come to an end, but yesterday proved that that statement was not true.

Friday night I set up a movie night for me and 6 of my beautiful teen/preteen girls, where we watched Prince Caspian and ate way to much junk, and just had a blast. At the end of that, one of the moms called saying they had room for 2 more to go to Bab's dock the next morning. I had wanted to go back, but never really got the opportunity, and there it was.

Bab's dock is one of the most beautiful places I've ever been. It's an hour away from the ship on the bumpiest road ever, but once you get there you go to a dock and get on a boat. It's a motorized canoe that you ride on to get to the actual Dock. You ride through these beautiful trees that have formed a tunnel, and pass tons of palms and it's quite the site. Eventually, you reach this huge lake and it has a floating dock- our destination. They set up mattresses(pool kind) on the ground with umbrellas, there's hammocks, and the cost is just lunch and the boat ride. They make this incredible Hibiscus juice called Bisop, which I was extremely happy to have again.

Now let me take you back about a month to my first trip at Bab's Dock. We went with the Academy, and I came upstairs, pumped for a great day, and see grey sky staring at me. My heart sank, but the leaders said we'd still go anyway because the locals said it'd pass. We got going- I was in the car with 2 moms(one whom I have become friends with since) and a few kids and another leader. I got slip from my group, but that was okay for a day. We got rolling, and it started to drizzle. I thought, well.. that's not too bad.. it could be worse...

We arrived at the little dock, and loaded kids up and there was a tad of sun, and we began to feel some hope for the day. 2 boats went, 3 boats went, and then, with 9 adults left at the little dock, and all of the kids over there, we waited.. and waited... and waited... Eventually Olly, one of the dad's, phone rang. His wife was on the big dock already and was wondering where we were. She told us that she found out the engine on the canoe died. We were all thankful at that point that all of the kids were on the other side- especially since we had preschoolers with us that day as well.

We waited for over 30 minutes to 45 minutes, and one of the moms said 'why don't we pray- we're all Christians here...' So we did, and about 10 minutes later, this dugout canoe pulls in with a man on the end using a large stick to drive it along. We all looked at each other, and one grandmother said 'oh, that's not for us...' and another says, 'Oh, I think it is...' Haha! Alas, it was ours.

We got 5 of us in there, and we started to sink. I almost had a panic attack because my mom's camera and my book were in my bag, and I really just didn't wanna go down like that. Normally, the water levels are pretty low, making the dunk not so bad, but they'd gotten more rain in the past few days before we came than they had in 10 years, so as you can imagine.. it was deep. So, they took the 2 men out of the boat, we stabilized, and then we went. But, but this point, it started raining much harder.

It was me, one of the girls who lead the little kids, and Anne, the mom I was talking about earlier. We were just trying to stay balanced, but at the same time had some quite funny conversations. My most memorable one was when the topic of makeup came up. It went something like this....I said 'Man, it's really starting to come down', and Anne said, "I know, my mascara is beginning to run, of all days, I pick today to wear mascara, what was I thinking?"(add a British accent to that:) ) I was not expecting that at all haha:) It was so funny. I later learned that she was much funnier and light hearted than my first impressions led me to.

That takes me to another point- FIRST IMPRESSIONS HERE HAVE BEEN WRONG EVERY TIME!! The end.

Hah.. now back to my story.. We finally hit the lake after me turning around multiple times and getting yelled at by Bethany because I almost tipped us, and by this point.. you would not believe how hard it was raining. It was so hard I felt like it was going to pierce my skin and I was wondering if it was hailing.. it was awful. I just couldn't stop laughing, I found it extremely funny that we were in this situation, and frankly thought God had a pretty good sense of humor:) When we got to the dock, I looked and 1/2 of my body was soaked and 1/2 was basically dry. When we pulled in, I quickly yelled for Holly to get my bag- my number one worry, and then we all safely(barely) got out of the canoe. I felt bad because some people came over in their dry clothes and were going to change, but I just wore my bathing suit over there hah:)

After we got there, and ate something quickly, I just went for the water. I was amazed at how much my adventure level skyrocketed this day. I kayaked and played with the kids and swam. It was a great day.. no matter how miserable it seemed. But, the car ride home and getting back on the ship was not very fun. We were all freezing and it poured harder than I've ever seen. I walked from the car to the ship slightly damp already and was soaked from head to toe- dripping. I got inside not even thinking, and froooze because the AC killed me.

But, I went back yesterday. The sun was out, the company couldn't have gotten any better, and it was just picturesque. I played and played with my kids and it was just nice to know that we had one last day together just having a blast. I may bet to babysit them again, but the're starting school tomorrow, so chances are we won't have a chance to just be crazy together much longer.

Today I was wiped out. I went out to breakfast with some friends, which was beautiful, and came back for ward service, which was the best one yet, and near the end, I kinda crashed. I came back and napped for an hour, ate something slept for another 45 minutes, then for another 1/2 hour... I had a headache and ever since I've been sick I developed this cough.. no good. Hopefully I can push on and be dandy and get home without any more sickness.

5 days and I"m on a plane. Please just keep us in your prayers. The idea is growing on me, but the reality that certain people will not be around and my friends are going through some of their biggest life moments when I'm not there is hurting me, but I know that it's happening for a reason. I also know that we'll have a ton to share later. My friends here, however are in ABSOLUTE denial that I'm leaving. I'm glad to know I'll be missed, but I don't want them to be depressed and think its over.. I'm having everyone write in a book, so hopefully that'll help with closure a bit.

Anyway, I'm going to go do some stuff for my Vocal teacher, and then go have dinner, get my dress that was made for me(my other one came last night and is beautiful), and do more stuff for Lynn.

I love you all! Write me a note! I wanna hear from you!

Monday, August 3, 2009

It's been a while....

Hello out there!! I was planning on writing today despite current circumstances that have me in bed, but alas, I'm updating. I'll prolly update on a few big things a post, so there might be a few posts coming to you today/ in the next week:)

My most recent adventure, and one I hope to never revisit, began at around 1 am last night. I layed down after watching movies all evening with my good friend Kathleen since it was our last weekend that she isn't working, and I felt a bit strange. I thought maybe I just ate too much junk, and it would pass. I fell asleep, but was woken up by this pain. Slowly but surely, I came down with GI virus. It was no good. I was out of my bed at least once an hour, which was not pleasant for either me or my roomates as they could hear me just gagging away. After about 7:30, my body decided to let it rest, though I was, and still am battling a fever. I went to the nurse, and she told me about the virus, and how it's been around the ship, and I shouldn't eat today, but drink a lot. She seemed concerned, which made me concerned about my condition, but she said as long as I don't get worse, I should be fine. I'm feeling much better now, and my boss let me off for the remainder of the day, Thank goodness. I thoguht I could handle it, but I think that would've been bad. I don't think I'll be eating Mexican again for a good while after that fiasco.

Things around here have grown on me over the past few weeks. I remember talking to people back home before I came about how it could happen where I'd come for more than just a few months- more like a year or two, but how I just couldn't see how it'd work out. Well, as time has passed, I've gotten to really know a few people, and I've come completely attatched with a few kids and families I've met here. Now, I honestly can't imagine what it's going to be like to leave this place. Leaving my kids behind is going to be impossible, and leaving all of the people I've met and experiences we've had together will be really painful. But, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Some of the families I've met are expecting to stay for at least another couple of years. One was scheduled for 2 years and I think they're now on their fourth year. Another has been here for a couple years and I don't see them going anywhere soon.

So, for those of you(which is a lot of you) who I havent been able to talk to lately and have heard- I'm considering coming for either a year or two years. I'm really praying that God will bring me here with my family, at least for a year of it. Like, if I come for 2 years, and my family was here for the second year, it'd be completely worth it. It's all still very up in the air, but I feel like I'm supposed to come back. I'd teach drama, and do another job. Teaching drama, and music, etc. is considered a 'minor' job, so I'd need a major job as well, and sales(the cafe) has already told me they'd be happy to have me. Human Resources are on my mom trying to get her to come. My dad likes the idea, and so does my mom, but we just don't know how it'd all work out- with the house and all of our lives back home, family, etc. But if you could just pray for us, I'd deeply appreciate it. Please pray that God would show us clearly what he wants for us, and if possible quickly so that we can begin making fund-raising plans if we all come together, or if I"m alone, or make it known if I"m not even supposed to come back, and help me meet these people again.

Two of my girls are just extremely wonderful and it's so funny because they've asked me maybe 3 times this week if I'd come visit them in England when they go home(which may be a while). I told them we'd see, but they should definetly come visit me in DC. Their little brother, who is 6, also wants me to stick around. They are just so convincing:) They have told me that I must come back and teach them and babysit them:) I would LOVE to hah, but we'll see where God leads me.

On our final day of summer program(which was friday), I made a video of my kids. I had them say their name, age, grade, country, and anything else they'd like to say. Most/all of the girls said that I have to come back, I can't leave, and I need to teach them next year. While filming, I seriously almost cried. I also had them sign a paper for me to hang in my dorm room, and some of those children are the most encouraging people i've ever met. One of my 11 year olds wrote to me about how God will be with me on my journey, and a few of them, again, wrote about how they want/need me to come back.

One of my girls, my 13 year old norwegian from the most beautiful family I've ever seen(all blondies with blue eyes- picturesque), is quite the little actress. When we first got here, there was a film festival, and she and her friends made these amazing little movies. One was polly pockets, one was a news cast, and I forget the last, but they were completely brilliant and incredible! She's just got an extremly inventive and creative mind. She has these great plans for a play, but the teacher is off ship because she's having a baby, but it's not going as planned, so she's coming back maybe after the baby is born. My girl, Linde, was telling me the full plan, and how she needed her teacher back and I said -you realize.. if I come back, I have a lot of experience- then I listed what kinds of classes I took, and she absolutely lit up. SHe was like 'you have to come back so we can do a play, Miss Michelle!!' We sat there for probably 45 minutes just going on about her plans and just talking about everything . She is also addicted to twilight, and got the song book, and asked me to learn a song. I gave up on the one she asked me to learn, but learned one I liked better, and she was so floored with excitement when I showed it to her:) If I do come back, I need to bring her more music. Living here, you only get mail so often, and it's extremly expensive and takes a lot of time, so hopefully I can help introduce some new music to her. SHe's taught me a lot about music and persistence with learning it. Neither of us are good at reading it, but once we get the hang of it, we run with it.

Anyway, feel free to comment if you wanna say a word:) My goal by letting you all know about my hopes to come back, is that you'll help me remember that I do want to come back, and I have a passion for these kids, and not let me forget my dream, or let go too easily. I think that if I got the chance to come back, yeah, it'd be hard to get into the groove again when I come home, but I"m going to be fresh out of college, with no ties quite yet, and it's the perfect time to decide if I'd like to persue teaching, or something medical, and gives me time to explore those options in a place where people want to help you figure these things out.

The end.

<3 Michelle

ps.. sorry if that was semi- incohesive- i am still in fever land.