Friday, December 26, 2008

Merry Christmas!

I can't begin to say how great it is to be back in Idaho! I had a great Christmas with Rebecca and Stephen and Sam and Lucy. Very low key and so great. We all stayed in our pj's all day and watched the snow fall. Just perfect!

I made it home from South America on the 23 and I must say it was the worst traveling experience of my life. It consisted of many tears and even more vomit. :) Alex and I left Lima about 7am after spending the night in the airport with no sleep. We were to catch our connecting flight in Panama. When we got to Panama we were at the ticket counter trying to figure out my tickets because they had gotten messed up in Lima and they refused to help us. While at the ticket counter we found out that our plane out of Panama was going to be four hours late. I started crying. Not a single tear, but many, many tears. I was certain I would be spending Christmas alone in an airport somewhere. The woman helping us was great and gave us a free meal, I am sure because of my crying. Note to self: crying gets you a free meal at the airport... I knew that by our plane being so late that we would miss all our connections and make it impossible to get home. So we finally make it onto our plane in Panama. About an hour before hand I was starting to not feel so hot. As soon as they closed the doors on the plane I jumped up and pushed people out of my way to run back to the bathroom where I puked more than I have puked before. This lead to a not so pleasant plane ride home. We made it to Huston where we were put up in a hotel for the night. In the morning our shuttle was late picking us up so we had an hour to check our bags, go through security and make it to our gate. A bit of sprinting was involved but we made it to San Fransciso finally. There I talked with a woman who kept looking at me saying she just didn't know what she could do for me. Not what I wanted to hear. The airport was a zoo with so many flights delayed due to the weather and so many people flying standby for every flight out of there I was certain of my fate... This woman put me on the standby list to Seattle and from there to Spokane. I didn't make it on that flight. I finally got to talk with someone who made me feel like I was the only one with this issue which was what I needed at that time. She put me on another list which wasn't standby, but was one step up from standby and I was the second to the last person who made it on the flight to Seattle with tons of people not making it on. I did have a sense of guilt being one of the ones on the plane. I was able to make it too from Seattle to Spokane that night by the grace of God. When I sat on the plane from Seattle to Spokane I told the man sitting next to me how I wanted to cry when I got my boarding pass for that flight. He looked at me as though I was a bit psycho but if he only knew...

So here I sit now, in Idaho with more snow outside than I have seen in years and with two babies that have grown up so much in the month that I was gone.

I feel like I am home.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Too Amazing!

The Inca Trail has been conquered! It was four days of intense hiking, sweating, swearing, gasping for air, stomach problems, amazing ruins, and just an incredible time. It was hard but worth every minute of it. My calves are still really hurting when I walk up stairs but it´s getting easier every day.

Our guide, Willy, was great. So knowledgeable about everything we encountered. The weather was great. It rained at night and one other day for a bit but it was ok for the most part. We had porters who carried the majority of our stuff and they were amazing. They carried 25kg of gear and would run past us in their sandals. They cooked us incredible food. All the ruins were amazing. The morning we reached Machu Picchu blew my mind. It is an amazing place. How in the world did the Incas build it??? I loved just walking around the ruins and was even chased by a llama up some stairs. I am way too tired to share stories right now but just wanted to say I made it and loved every grueling second of it.

We arrived in Puno today. Tomorrow we are taking a day tour on Lake Titicaka of islands that are made of reeds. Should be another great day. Saturday we are flying back to Lima to head home. I won´t get home until the 23rd after spending the night in two airports but that´s ok. I look forward to being back in Idaho for Christmas. So much snow there already!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Adjusting to altitude

We arrived in Cousco yesterday after a long, nauseating 21 hour bus ride. It was aweful. I wanted to puke for 21 hours. I think I will fly back to Lima after our hike instead of sitting through another 21 hours on a bus. To make it worse they had movies in Spanish with English sub titles and before you realize it you are reading on a really rocky bus after you already want to puke. Doesn´t make for a good combo. Watched Meet the Parents and then later Meet the Fockers. Now that is a good time.

It´s amazing how I can feel the change in altitude just sitting here. Today we will go on a short hike to try and get a little more acclimated to the altitude but I know the trail will still be tough as far as that goes. Last night we had our briefing from Willy, our guide for the trip. He seems like great guide. Turns out it will just be the four of us in our group with six porters, people to carry our gear...tents and food and who know what else. We will be taking off at 6:30 tomorrow morning.

Cousco is beautiful. The people are beautiful and the city is beautiful. Cobblestone streets and lots of old buildings. I look forward to exploring more today.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

20 hours in a bus? Who wouldn't be excited???

Just a quick post to let you all know that Madonna is in Chile and as much as we wanted to get tickets, we couldn't. Really, how great would that have been???

In about 15 minutes we are headed to the airport to fly back to Peru. We'll meet up with our other friend Brian at the airport then head to the train station where we'll sit for 20 hours to get to Cousco and start hiking the Inca Trail on the 12...Friday maybe...all my days run together now.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The hardest climb of my life!

Two days ago we arrived here in Pucon. It was about a six hour bus ride from Talca. The first day here we went white water rafting. Class four and five rapids and we had to portage around a class six. That was one crazy looking rapid. It was pretty much a crazy waterfall. Great time. We got to float in the water through some of it and I loved that the most. I realized I didn´t spend much time on a river last summer and I missed that.

Yesterday was pretty amazing. One of the reasons people come here to Pucon is to climb its active volcano. We decided that since we were here we might as well do it too. We left at 0700 and met with our guides. They gave us gators, boots, snow gear, crampons and an ice axe. We got to the trail head at about eight and we were told it would take five hours to get up and two to get down. That´s exactly what it took. We were in a group of ten. It was hard. Really hard. A bunch of us really struggled but it still took the five hours like they said. Pretty steep in parts and tons of switchbacks up the volcano. I reached the top at about one. One of the guides gave me trekking poles which I think saved me. That reall made a huge difference. The view from the top was incredible. We spent about an hour up there and the longer we were there the more the clouds burned off so we could see the lake and surrounding area. The crater was huge. The sulfur made us cough a lot but it was amazing to be standing on top of a volcano. Coming down was an exciting time. We slid the whole way down on our butts. For a good part of it, it was like being in a louge. It was carved out from so many people. It was awesome to slide down it!!! The sunburn I have right now is probably worse than the pain in my muscles. I wore tons of sunscreen but the sun was crazy yesterday. I have to say it was a pretty amazing experience.

After the volcano we went to some hot springs to relax. Great way to end a painful, painful, exciting day!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Two posts in one day!!!

So here I am at the internet cafe...again...

I have to share this story. It just may be the highlight of my trip so far. After we left the internet cafe before, we set out in search of another vineyard. Along the way we found this place that looked like one so we went in. It was dark in there but there were lots of the large wooden vats to hold wine so we figured we were in the right place. This man comes up to us and starts speaking really fast in Spanish. No comprende, at all. Somehow he figured out we wanted to look around so he starts walking really fast and leads us up this crazy old staircase. He has us walk out onto the top of one of the vats. I was hoping that you could swim in wine because I was expecting the top to fall in with all of us up there. He pulled the cork out of the top and had us all stick our finger in to taste it. Kind of gross but that is wine in the process. The whole time he is with us he is talking comprende. We just smile and nod. Then he leads me out onto this crazy old board that is from one vat to another, pretty far up off the ground, so I could have a photo op. From this point on it was all about the photo op and he made sure we got it. We all took our turn on the crazy board that could have broken from the weight of a piece of baby corn and then finally down the crazy staircase. He then took a ladder, put it up against a vat and showed us how to pose for the best picture. This guy was so random it was great. We went back to the front desk and he gave us all a small bottle of red wine for free. He did not want any money for anything. He let us taste the white wine and it was pretty good. I bought a really large bottle of it for 1000 pesos, or about $1.50. Later we noticed a bug floating in it... protein. This guy made our day. It was such a random 20 minutes of our day. He did not understand a word of what we were saying and we had no clue what he was saying but it was great. I just had to share this. I hope you are all well and having lots of snow wherever you are. I have a pretty good sunburn going on...


Hola! Como esta? Gracias. So I think Alex may be getting a tad bit annoyed that I know how to say gracias. I say it a lot. When I don´t know what to say, I say gracias. At least people are thanked for their services. :)

We are back in Chile. In a little town called Talca. Today we are going on wine tours and wine tasting. I like wine. I like wine tastings. Had a wonderful late harvest wine this morning that was super sweet. Tonight we are taking a night bus to Pucon. We are all really looking forward to this. We´ll be there three nights. Pucon is on a lake with a perfect cone shaped volcano. We hope to climb the volcano, go white water rafting and visit the hot springs. Should be three full days of adventure.

Yesterday we got into Talca and had no clue where we were going. We went into a gas station and asked directions. There was a man there who offered to take us to where we needed to go. He seemed nice enough. He really was great. Jill and I sat in the back of his van, her on her pack and me on a rickety old lawn chair. We wondered if this guy was taking us for a ride, but he was really wonderful. He took us to our hostel and didn´t want any money. He spoke no English and he knew we didn´t speak much Spanish but he, like most people, when they find out we don´t know Spanish seem to speak faster and more. I like how they don´t give up but they speak expecting us to know what they are saying. They don´t speak to us like we are dumb, they just repeat it, or not, until we get it. Gracias. I say this a lot.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Abseling down a waterfall...what a way to spend a day!

Grettings all from Argentina! We arrived here yesterday and tonight we are taking a night bus back to Chile. The trip kind of got off to a rocky start but things are getting pulled together more now. When we first arrived in Peru, my pack was dropped in the ocean on the way here. I swear it must have been. Both Alex and I had soaking bags when we picked them up. All our clothes were soaked and now they have a sort of stench. Oh well...what are you going to do... Then my ATM stopped working. For about three days I couldn´t get money out. In all my traveling this never happened. Yesterday I finally heard that beautiful noise of money being dispensed from an ATM machine! I felt such joy in that moment! :) Yesterday we took the bus from Chile to here, Mendoza, Argentina. I sat next to this old man who was traveling with his cousin and a friend. They were hilarious. The spoke pretty good English which is great because my Spanish is awful. They just made me laugh the whole time. At one point they busted out in song--from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang to Dean Martin to who knows what else they were singing. It was great. The bus ride over the Andies was amazing! SO stinkin´ beautiful! Tonight when we leave we are taking the night bus so we can sleep and not spend one of our days traveling but I am so thankful we got to see it yesterday. Today was great. We went trekking with a guide then rapelling down a waterfall. Such a great time! It was extra great just being able to get out and be active. We have been trying to get as much exercise as we can in preparation for the end of our trip. I wish I could put pictures on here but the computers here are different and I am afraid of erasing all my pics so you will all just have to be patient. I am off to work on my Spanish since Jill and Alex are off on another hike. I am on my own now. I´m sure I will say something to offend someone...not on purpose but it is bound to happen!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Chile or bust

Just wanted to let you all know I made it to Peru safely. Five airports later I made it. Spent the night in the San Fransciso airport. That makes for a long night but cheaper than a hotel for five hours. Alex and I met up in San Fran where Sam and David, some friends from camp, picked us up and took us out to dinner. So great to see them! It was really great to actually fly with someone else. I do not remember the last time I traveled with someone else on a plane! It was fun to have someone to laugh with and talk to for 24 hours. So I have learned that two years of high school spanish 11 years ago is not enough to help you speak fluent Spanish. Gracias. That is not enough to get by but Jill and Alex seem to know a bit so that makes it easier. Some things are coming back for sure but very slowly. Tomorrow we fly down to Chile for ten days. Should be a good trip. I will try to keep this updated as I can.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Under my feet, the grass is growing

Whenever I pack to leave a place I listen to Tom Petty and the song Time to Move On... I am listening to that song now. 

I am packed and ready to go. I have moved all my stuff out of Rebecca and Stephen's house. My pack is ready to go and my plane leaves in five hours. I am leaving for South America this afternoon and although I am excited to be going, I am just as excited to come home already. The last thirteen weeks here have been great. I feel like I have had a life and friends and have met some great people. I am trying to get the same job back that I just left yesterday when I come back. I'll get an apartment in Spokane though. I look forward to some sort of stability in my life. 

So I will be in Peru on Sunday. Fly to Chile on Tuesday. Visit Argentina for a few days. Explore Chile. Fly back to Peru and hike Machu Picchu. I look forward to crossing another thing off my life list. I'll be home two days before Christmas and take some time before returning to work. Just wanted to update you all on my life. Please pray for safety during my travels. I will be with three other friends so no solo trip this time. I look forward to being able to play with friends! I will try to keep this updated as much as possible during my travels. I know I am bad at this but under my feet the grass is growing and not much time to sit still these days. 

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Rain, hopefully snow and preparations!

Winter is here. The leaves have fallen and the cold air is moving in. There was snow on the hills of Spokane the other morning when I was driving home from work. The rain is here and we are just waiting for the snow to start...
Aunt Claudia came to visit for a bit. It was great having here here. Thanks for all your help!!! Super cute pictures of her with the babies!
So the countdown has begun. I am headed to South America the day after Thanksgiving. Crazy. I will be a hurtin'. I am going with three other friends to travel around Peru and Chile. We are going to do a four day hike into Machu Picchu. I can't wait but I am not in shape enough for this. Oh, well. I climbed Mt Whitney last year so I figure I can do this, hopefully. I wonder though, do you think hiking to Homestead a few days a week will get me in shape enough for this? We shall see...

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Monitors and sleepless nights...

I bet you have all figured everyone is home now from the hospital. A week today. It seems so much longer! For the most part everyone is doing ok. Lucy and Sam have lost a bit of weight and Rebecca keeps getting rashes from meds she is put on, but overall everyone is doing great. The other night I had a tough night at work and when I got home in the morning I went in to see them. They were both sleeping in their bunny meadow theme crib and Lucy turned her head until her nose touched Sam's head. When Sam felt Lucy he smiled the biggest smile ever in his sleep. It was the cutest! Mom and dad came for a week and helped out. When they all came home last Sunday I was on monitor duty because Stephen had to do school in the morning. All I have to say it that it was a long night... Mom took over that duty as a grandma when she was here for the week. Aunt Meg and Mattie Rose came by too for a short visit. So great to see them! Meg is coming by again next week. If you are reading this you should stay over night... take the monitor... Anyone else who wants to take the monitor for the night, just let me know! Stephen's mom and sister and her family are here now for a couple days. More grandmas to love on the kids. I leave Coeur d' Alene in a little over a month. I am already going to miss them!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The twins have arrived!!!

The day finally came yesterday when Lucy Awesome Smith and Samuel Awesome Smith made their entrance into the world! Rebecca, Stephen and I checked in Monday night to start induction and the babies decided to hold off for 38 hours before they both made their way out. Lucy came out as most babies would at 8:55 and was seven pounds! When she came out she closed the door behind her, leaving her brother to not have a way out, or a very small way out at best. Because his heart rate was dropping with all the contractions, he needed a c-section to get out. Rebecca was a trooper and did a great job with everything. Sam came out at 10:45 weighing 6 pounds 3 ounces. I must say they are beautiful children! Stephen did a great job helping Rebecca through everything and is doing a wonderful job as a dad! Keep reading...I will be on here more now that there is more excitement in our lives!

Monday, September 1, 2008


I had a fabulous time Saturday! Lauren Frerichs and I headed to Greenbluff to see what fruit was in season that we could pick. Greenbluff is an area in Spokane that is full of family owned farms and you can go pick whatever fruit is in season. Twenty pounds of peaches later, some rhubarb, a zucchini, and blueberries, blackberries and raspberries we decided that was enough for one day. My new job in Spokane doesn't start for another week so I have been feeling the domestic bug. Baked a peach crisp yesterday followed by a peach cobbler with Lauren. I think I might take up canning. It sounds like such a big step but I think I would like to learn. If anyone has any tips I am all ears! I learned how to blanch peaches the other day though. 30 seconds in boiling water and the peels just fall off! Who knew?! Today I am taking on zucchini bread since that is the only way I like zucchini. Tomorrow is rhubarb pie... homemade pie crust, here I come! We also had a baby shower for Rebecca last week with friends from camp. Stephen is working on the baby room today so soon the house will be ready for the doubling of their family! Oh, Lauren and I named the zucchini I am holding Awesome and Laserhawk. For those who don't know, that is what the twins are called until they make their appearance. Who knows? Maybe the names will stick...

Monday, August 25, 2008

Yes, I made it home...

For those of you still wondering if I am still in London, no, I have made it home. Been home from South Africa now for a few weeks. At the moment I am living in Coeur d'Alene with Rebecca. Just got my bed set up the other day and I am still unpacking. It's so good to be out there. Rebecca looks great and the babies are still cooking and getting ready to make their appearance in the next seven or so weeks. I got a traveling nursing job at a hospital in Spokane and will be starting there on the 9th of September. I just wanted to post a few pics of highlights from my trip on here so you may all see some of my adventures! The one of me holding the bucket is me drinking the tribal beer. The next is at the wedding with Mampho and Henry. The picture that I made too big because I am not good on computers is me at Cape Point, the southern most point of Africa. Can you guess which on is of me with the Rastafarians? And of me walking the elephant? And of a lion...well there are a few pics to get you all started. I'll put more on as I can. I can't download or upload at camp so I have to come to coffee shops to do it. It gets me out though...

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Waiting in London

Goodbye South Africa! I am now on my way home. Finished the first leg of my trip without any medical issues on board so that was a great start. I have a five hour layover here in London. Someday I'll have to make it out of this airport to see this city. I've been here to the airport enough times...

The last day in SA was great! The Macdonalds set up a wine tour for me which was amazing. The only other people on the tour were a family of four from Texas. Visited four vineyards and tasted some great wines. When you go wine tasting here they are more generous with their samples than in the states...Such beautiful country too. It was in Stellenbosch, for those who know Cape Town. I spent the night then in a Guesthouse, a Bed and Breakfast. BEAUTIFUL room. It was quite the way to end my time in South Africa, that's for sure.

I'll be home later this afternoon and spend a few days with Noah and Amy and Scout. My amazing nephew turns one next week but all the festivities are this weekend and then Sunday I'll head to Coeur d' Alene to Lutherhaven to see my ever growing family over there. Hoping to pick up a traveling job over there too for a few months. Thank you all for your prayers while I've been traveling. It was really a great trip and I'll show you all pics as I see you!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Amazing Safari!!!

I am back in Cape Town staying with the Simonne's family. Super great place to be. They are so welcoming and hospitable. Tomorrow I'll take a wine tour in Stellenbosh, stay at a B&B and then fly home on Tuesday! I won't get home until Wednesday though. 24 hours later...

So, about four days ago I flew to Nelsprit and took a two day, two night safari in Kruger. There really are not words to describe how incredible it was! Really. I felt so blessed to have had such a super group on my safari. Most were from Germany. It was a pretty small group which made it nice too. Being there for only two days I was a little nervous that I wouldn't see the Big 5, or much of anything because the park is so big and they can't promise that you will even see anything. Within five minutes of being in the park I saw two rhinos and I knew that was a good start. It just got better from there. The first day I think I saw it all, or about all that I had much luck of seeing. Tons of elephants. The first giraffe I saw was just incredible. It was right at the road eating. All day I felt like such a kid because when I would see something new I would gasp. Not on purpose. I couldn't help it! To see these animals in their natural environment was amazing! Hippos, crocodiles, LIONS, tons of crazy birds, hundreds of impalas, kudus, waterbucks, a monitor, monkeys, baboons, zebras, babies to many of many more that I can't write about right now...OH, and the best: a leopard!!! My guide only sees one or two a month and to be able to see a leopard and to tell people you saw a leopard is very rare. Such a beautiful animal! We got pretty close to it too.

One quick story I will share: we found two lions, a male and female, and we were sitting watching them and watching this group of impalas that were grazing close by. It was funny because the impalas knew the lions were there but a few of them stood watch while the others ate. We were watching all this when I looked behind our jeep and there was a herd of about 15 elephants crossing the road. We turned the jeep around to get a closer look at the elephants. They started making their way up to where the lions and impalas were so we went back up there. Because there were about ten cars watching all this, the elephants couldn't cross the road when they saw the lions and you could tell they were starting to feel threatened. The lions stood up and one of the biggest elephants threw back his ears and all at once all the elephants just charged the lions and chased them into the bush! It was really an incredible sight to see. Who's the king of the jungle now???

So many more great stories from this time. Such beautiful landscape and sunrises and sunsets. Great food and wine and just time to sit around and talk. It really was one of my highlights of being here. I loved every minute of it.

On our way back to Nelsprit we visited the Blyde River Canyon. Yet another super beautiful place to visit in South Africa when you all make it here. I can't wait so show pictures when I get home!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Start of My Day

So my morning started off like all others, except that I got up and took an elephant for a walk. Really. I SO played tourist this morning and went to this elephant sanctuary and took a 13 year old female elephant for a walk. I got to feed her sweet potatoes too. I really laughed the whole time because I couldn't believe how cheesy this was. I'm in Africa, paying to walk an elephant through the woods. I really did enjoy it though, cheese and all.

I am staying at THE most amazing backpackers ever. I'm in Nature's Valley staying at the Wild Tongue backpackers. This place is in the middle of nowhere. It's on a farm on top of this hill where you can see forever. Tons of hiking trails, which I got lost on one this afternoon and got a little freaked for a bit but found my way out. The kitchen seems like it's in a tree house. Under one of the stoves it is open to the ground and the barbecue, or braii, pit is in this cove surrounded by driftwood. Tons of artwork and great lights. There's even a fire inside so last night I got a bit of warmth. Why do South African's not have heat??? That has been my biggest question here! I keep thinking I am in Fraggle Rock at this place. It's its own little world. Met a great young German couple too that I've been able to hang with a bit.

Someone just told me I need to talk more on here about myself, thanks Miklosh! I'm good. Been reading a lot which isn't like me at all. I've read the autobiography of Nelson Mandella, the abridged version, and Eat, Pray, Love-great book for anyone looking for something to read. Just started on The Shack this morning. Heard great things about it. It's been good having time to read and just be. I am looking forward to coming home and celebrating Scouts first birthday though! Then over to Idaho to take care of Rebecca and her ever expanding belly. South Africa isn't much of what I expected. It's been great and I really love it here, don't get me wrong, but maybe it's that I'm really learning, as I feel God has been trying to teach me the past couple years, that it's good to have people in your life. Travelling is great and I love everywhere that I have been and I really look forward to doing more, but hopefully with someone and with friends more (like South America in December!!!). Someday...

Well I'll work on more personal things, but for now the sun is going down which means I need to put on about four more layers of clothes! Until next time...

Friday, July 25, 2008

Rastas, Monkeys and Crocodile Salad

I am now in Knysna, about 40 minutes from Wilderness, my last stop. I'm staying at this backpackers that my not be the cleanest but they offer lots to do and it's not very crowded so I actually have a room to myself which is really nice. Yesterday I took a tour of the townships here and we visited a traditional healer and a Rastafarian community. The healer was interesting because she doesn't just focus on spells and chants and herbs, but if you come to her sick, she'll take a look at the conditions you live in and if you are living in a pit, she'll tell you that the reason you are sick is because of the conditions you live in and you'll get better when you stop living like a pig. That was really encouraging for me to see. The most interesting thing of the day though, was the Rastafarians. Wow. It really was like in the movies. Ire this, rasta that. Green red and gold everywhere, and the weed. Yes, the weed was abundant. There was a celebration going on so everyone was all geared up for that. For those of you wondering, no, I did not partake in smoking weed. It is still illegal here. They really are a great group though. Oh, and the dread locks were like none I have seen before. Everyone has them. "Let your locks flow free" is what they would say.
Today I went kayaking down a river here in Knysna. Such a relaxing morning! There was one area that had a bunch of monkeys playing on the shore and in the trees. Tons of birds and fish. I was hoping to see a baboon but no such luck. We could hear them but never saw them. So much of the river reminded me of the river up to Shoshone. Really beautiful! I was the only one on the tour so it was even more relaxing. Yesterday with the township tour there was a large group of students from New York who are also staying at the same backpackers who went on the tour. They are a nice bunch, but young. I had lunch today with one of their leaders. I went to a South African restaurant and she walked in. So nice to eat with someone else! I had a crocodile sald. Tough meat, but it was good. Tomorrow I'll head a little further up the coast. You should hear from me again there!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Flying solo

Just started the first leg of my solo part of my trip. I'm in Wilderness at Fairy Knowes backpackers. The baz bus works great for anyone traveling to South Africa. Cute backpackers. Back in the woods. Nice walk to town, I think. Haven't done it yet but it looks like that is going to be my excitement for the night.
Mampho and Henry got married!!! Beautiful wedding. Still can't get pictures on here yet but I'll keep trying. Mampho looked amazing. The reception was in Stellenbosch at a vineyard. Really beautiful. So Sarah, me, the only white person in the wedding party, can't dance. Enough said. After the wedding I left with Katherine and Lauren, Mercy Ships friends, and stayed with Katherine for the past few days. She did a great job showing me around Cape Town. We went out to Cape Point, the southern most tip of Africa where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet. Absolutely beautiful! The clouds parted and made for a really nice day. Oh, on the way home we stopped at this beach that was full of penguines! You could walk right up to them. They stunk, but they were great! Yesterday we tried going up Table Mountain but the cloud cover was too great and they closed the cable car. Bummer. Maybe when I get back to Cape Town. Visited the botanical gardens and the waterfront instead.
So, yes, I am still alive. Tomorrow I head to Knysna for a couple days. Hopefully I'll have better stories then...

Friday, July 18, 2008

Wedding Preperations

Yesterday Henry's mother, auntie and brother arrived from Nigeria. Mampho's family had their welcoming ceremony for them which started with the slaughtering of a sheep. It is custom for the Xhosa people to give a sheep to the family of the in-laws as a welcoming into their family. It was a really great ceremony and sign of true welcoming and acceptance into their family. After the sheep, the African beer, mqombothi, was consumed. It's the home made fermented beer. You pass the common cup and drink it down on one knee out of respect for the family and ancestors. From there, there was singing and dancing and laughing well into the night. After the sheep was cooked, they then cook the intestines and organs and everyone digs in. I tried a bit of the stomach, after a bit of pressure, and that was really all I could take. I'm glad everyone else loved it! I was just being a good guest and allowing others to enjoy!!! Right now Mampho is getting the first step of her hair done. I have to say, I have never realized how much trouble it is for my black friends and their hair! Mampho keeps telling me beauty takes pain, but wow! So tomorrow is the wedding and then I'll be spending a couple days with another good friend here in Cape Town before heading up the coast. Hopefully it will warm up a bit before I take off on my safari!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Feeling better in the Cape

Hello all. Back to the life of the living. Almost. Feeling better at least. Still can't hear much though. Saw a pharmacist today and he thinks that since I was so congested during the flights that my ears got wet inside and that is what is making me not hear. I got some pills that he thinks will help to dry them up so in seven days we'll see if he is right.
Mampho and Henry are great! It has been great spending time with them both before the wedding. We were all staying in Strand but Mampho and I are moving back to her mother's place in Langa tonight. Had a wonderful lunch with Lauren Bluck, Katherine Spindler and Mampho and Henry. A small Mercy Ships reunion. SO great to see old Mercy Ships friends! Katherine is graciously letting me stay with her for a bit after the wedding before I start my travels up the coast. I haven't been able to see much of South Africa yet because of all the wedding plans, but I know the time will come and I will try to put pictures on as soon as I take some and figure out how to do that.
I hope you are all well! Please continue to pray for my health!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

I've made it to Cape Town!

Hello all! So I made it safely here without too much hassle. My second flight was interesting to love those announcements about any medical personnel on flight. Long story short, woman had a DVT and probably a PE, for those medical friends out there, and so they moved me and her to first class so I could stay with her all night. Long night but we all made it safely here. So here I am, in Cape Town, South Africa, feeling awful. Completely have the camp crud that everyone got at Mt. Cross before I left. I really feel not so great. Please pray that this passes very quickly and my ears finally pop so I can actually hear my friends! Really, that is it. Trying to sleep it all off. I need to go back to bed, but I love you all!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

It's time to move on...

AYE! Here I go again. I got back to Vaughn two days ago, unpacked from six weeks at camp and now I am off to South Africa for four weeks. I can't believe I am packed. You would think that after four years of moving so much that I would learn how to pack light. Not so much. Oh well. At least I am prepared. Just wanted to post one more post before I left. I'm going to try to keep this updated throughout my trip so you all know I am alive and well. Please pray for my health as I still don't feel all that great and I'm going into 26 hours of traveling! When I left camp I brought the camp crud with me. To all of you from Mt. Cross, don't share water bottles, wash your hands, get plenty of rest and drink tons of water!!! Oh, I miss you all! That is all for now. I'll be checking my e-mail too while I am gone. Keep me posted on your lives!

Monday, June 23, 2008

It's about time...

Well I have finally done it! I have created a blog. I figure this is the easiest way to keep everyone posted on my life and travels. Right now I am sitting in the infirmary at Mt. Cross in Felton, CA. I have really loved being here. I absolutely love camp nursing! Last summer was my first summer in ten years I hadn't been involved in camp ministry in some sort. True, I wasn't even in the country, but I missed it still. It's good to be back, even if it's just for a few weeks. The staff is great. Been able to meet some pretty amazing people here. It's a pretty mellow week so I have time to work on this and get ready for my next crazy adventure to Cape Town, South Africa. I'm leaving in two weeks! Crazy. I'm super stoked to see Mampho and Henry again and to be back in Africa. If anyone wants to go, the invitation is open...Here is a picture of Amy, Scout and I the day before I left to come down here. We had a clam bake and Amy found the clams while I made sure Scout didn't eat rocks. Oh, I miss him! For those few that may not know, Rebecca is expecting twins soon after I get back from South Africa. I love being an aunt! Please keep me in your prayers as far as my trip planning goes. Really, if anyone is interested in going, let me know!