Saturday, May 18, 2013

2: infection!!!!!

You know that spill I took yesterday... Now an infection... Africa had one more illness for me... Thankfully I was paying attention to a line growing up my arm and had some awesome accountability and nurses and dr who took care of me at 11:30 :) thanks guys!!!!

All bags are packed, almost everything is back to rightful owners and tomorrow is the day... Yikes!!!

My party got cancelled since me and one of the nieces were the only people there for a good while, but it was actually a huge blessing!!! Instead I got time to process through worship... Cry, laugh, thank God, and snuggle with all 5 of my nieces. Hard day of closure... Saying bye to Lazares kids, realizing this is real... I'll be home in under 48 hours

Now to try and sleep despite the pain in my hand and anxiety about tomorrow.

Friday, May 17, 2013

3: Sleepless

I lay here in bed dreading sleeping... I know I need to to be sane tomorrow, but I don't want to. My body hurts from a wipe out I had while walking back from dinner out with a friend. Thankful no stitches were needed. I'm also sore from dancing my heart out during a goodbye event for dear friends who leave a week after me.

Sleep means tomorrow comes sooner. Tomorrow I have to say bye to my heart... My kids at lazares... I have to let them go and stop dreaming that one day I could take one home. I've known this all along but it didn't stop me from falling in love with my sweet Jean and wish I could take him home. I hope and pray these sweet ones would find their ways into loving homes. Truth is, many of my sweet kids will never have a home except Lazares since they are not adoptable... Mainly due to laws in the US and Guinea itself banning children with HIv from being adopted. They have done nothing wrong... Many we're born with it and many contracted it due to abuse... The deserve homes but they will never get them.

If anyone out there is reading this and remotely interested in adopting, please let me know!!! I know this place personally and each kid that lives there. Lazare has made an excellent home for them, but it would be amazing for those who can be adopted, like Jean, to be adopted. 

Tomorrow will come far too soon for me. Please, if you think to, pray for me and the day of goodbyes ahead.  Pray my babies wouldn't feel abandoned by me but blessed that we had 10 months together. My heart has NEVER been so connected and unified with a place as it is with Lazares and my sweet ones there. Seriously- if you have any interest, let me know!!!!!

I love you all. Thanks for your prayers. Goodnight and wish me luck!!!!

5: More Lasts

Today was PACKED with all kinds of activities, work and fun!!!

Most notably I had my last 2-3 grade class which was rather sad to me:(? We had a blast playing games:) Then one of my ship sisters took me out for ice cream and a pastry which was wayyyy fun. We shared fun stories and also talked about the changes coming. She has done the long term transition before so it's nice to get some perspective And a few warnings headed into it from my wise big sister:) 

When I got back I got to have dinner with one if my itherbshipsisters and her family(my sweet niece Hailey and my big brother:)) then I played with Hailey which made me late to my going away bible study party.... It was a surprise but a greAt time!!!

Now I go to bed with a Massive headache as I'm sure I drank way too much coffee and not enough water today... Oh dear.... Bed calls;)

6: party central

Leaving is tough but it sure is a fun excuse to have a party!!! Today I finished up with my 6-8 th graders and my 4-5 th graders. My 6-8 put on a show in order to show me how much they learned in our stage fighting workshop yesterday. Then we had snacks:) 

My 4-5 th  class was smart and chained their class reward party with their end of  the year party!  What they chose was to bring tons of snacks and watch Wreck It Ralph (GREAT movie) and stay after school to finish it. It took some pulling of strings to get it organize but all parents seemed happy for their kid to get a little extra fun out of me before I go.

This evening, 2 of my awesome friends organized a fondue party for me... Proper Swiss cheese and chocolate and all. It was a fun time of friends and fellowship for sure. Thanks Marty and Catherine!!!!!! You guys rock!!!

Then I got to go and celebrate my babies who had surgery on their cleft lips/ palates or will soon!!  Brings joy to my heart!!!!!! N

Thursday, May 16, 2013

4: It Sinks In

As I walk around the shop I am met by sad eyes. Sad eyes of crew I know so well, my kids, my coworkers and most sad of all those who have become my family. Tonight was my last community meeting and throughout it, my closest ship friend and amazing 'big sister' flashed sad eyes at me, and her sweet girls both said how much they'll miss me throughout the service. Dinner and visiting the wArd was much the same. Realizing this is my last puzzle with my puzzle buddy, one of the last meals we will share together.

It seems so unfair that I can't have all of those I love in 1 place. I'm excited to get home and be in Maryland again and have my family back, but that's not home anymore... This is. I'm going to feel like a foreigner in my own land when I get home. I knew this would be hard and I'm surprised it took his long, but wow... It hit me...:( 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

8: Sleepover mayhem

Last night I threw a sleepover for my 4 ship nieces. What a blast!!!!! We first went out for dinner, where we played an epic game of Egyptian ratscrew... It got loud;) then we came back, tended an injury of the smallest niece, made slushies and popcorn, played the HA game and sad solemn occasion, then we watched tangled:) afterwards my girls lost their minds and stayed up until crazyyy hours... You know;)

Here are some pictures.

Monday, May 13, 2013

7: the lasts begin

And so it begins... The lasts... Last crepe, last Monday community meeting, last time playing worship for the crew with my dear friend and sister, last staff meeting, last toastmasters meeting... It's staring to hit me that I will be home this time next week and while some things are replaceable, some are not... My kids, my ship family... My patients....:(

Friday, May 10, 2013

9: day off

Today was a ship holiday!! For so long, I either had to work on a ship holiday or I was sick... So I have has very few I got to enjoy. This one was great.

I slept in , which was actually hard to do but I made myself. Then I got up and went to the Riviera to treat myself. I never get days off let alone days off to be alone; so I took advantage of my solitude. Normally on weekends I am doing so many things I don't get time to myself, so today was much needed.

I sunbathed, had pizza, journaled, listened to Gods word, rested and prayed. Awesome. After a while I was tired so I came home, showered and took a nap. Then I had dinner, watched Nims island... So fun!!! Then I had game night with one of my ship sisters and brother and some other great friends:) 

I also got to talk to my grandma who sounds wayyyy better than I thought she would and the doctor said she doesn't need surgery for now, but they will monitor her closely. I also told my mom the surprise I was trying to keep a surprise .. I'm coming home ON her birthday, not the day after. I've missed so many I thought it would be nice:) yayy!!! Sad I couldn't keep the surprise, but its better age knows:)

Here are some great pics from the day.

10: Slam dunk!!!

Who knew today would be so great??? We did a camping kick off with our kids where we had s'mores, told stories, sang songs around a 'camp fire' and read in the tents ( I read to one of my sweet ship nieces;)) awesome!!!!!! It felt like we really went camping!!! And we never left the ship. No real fire was used, don't worry captain!!! I had the joy of leading the songs. Makes me think of my sweet friend Carrie who taught me All of those awesome camp songs. I truly hope she is looking down from heaven and smiling, or leading the same songs up there... No way she would just watch;) Miss you but blessed to carry on your legacy, friend.

Then I had my LAST drill!!!!! At least I hope that was the last of it... ;) a looking one it's over!!! I calculated I had over 60 drills over my years, 1/2 in reception, 1/4 in the galley and 1/4 in sales/ academy;)

Then I had dinner with some awesome ship family members. During dinner I noticed a sweet storm rolling in rapidly, so after sendingvthemboff to their weekend adventure, I ran to deck 8 where I ran, slid, and jumped in the rain after taking in the stunning view.

Then I want to deck 7 where I ran into one of my ship sisters and her sweet girl Hailey, who is hands down one of the cutest and most beautiful babies I have ever met. We had a nice chat and silly time, where Hailey mimicked me by saying 'yo yo  yo'... So funny!!!! We ended just in time for the service. 

I can honestly say there are very few times in my life I have been SO excited over rain... It was like it was snowing!! I haven't seen or felt rain in over 6 months!!!!!! Beautiful joyful present today!!!!! Not to mention the amazing view we got out of it!!!

Worship was awesome tonight and just what I needed to refresh my skim.

I fond out today that my grandma is ill and not well, which was a downer... Prayers are appreciated. I know God has her.

Then was ice cream, hung out with the kids a while, then had an AWESOME phone convo with one of my ship sisters who left 5 months ago for the  first time on the phone!!!! A blessing for sure to talk about everything going on and hearing from her!!!!! 

Going to bed blessed and with a huge smile on my face.

Now for pictures!!!!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

11: help!!!

Calling any ex long term crew or long term missionaries... I need some insight. What was the hardest thing for you about going home? What surprised you? What is the best advice you would give to someone leaving and trying to re- enter a first world country from a third world country?

I covet your prayers, dear ones... For smooth transitions, great memories this next week and support through it all.

12:The visit

Sorry for the absence but I was a few days ahead of myself;)

This weekend we had the delight of having 8 of the older boys from lazares visit the ship. It was a pure delight to see the joy on their faces as we toured the ship- taking them to play up on deck 8 with special permission, where there's a climbing frame. Funny part is that the boys were terRIFIED of heights and would not go up. If they did we had to go get them down when they freaked out:)

We then got to go on the bridge, go to the engine room, then dinner, which was hilarious. You certainly learn about what cultures eat what when you put salad and spaghetti in front of these kiddos;) They never have fresh veggies so they are afraid of them and they don't really do pasta... Only rice.

When we said bye, there was a cloud of sadness surrounding us. We could sense that they are growing aware of the ships departure. Little do they know I leave 2 weeks before that. This is going to be tough.

Here are some pics of the day!!;)