Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Tuesday Morning

30 seconds 'til worship, ladies!

I stirred a little. Morning already?
The last regular morning dorm worship.

The low, soothing sound of singing wafted from the dorm chapel, mingling with the songs of birds.
In moments like these, I sing out a song... singing I love You, Lord...
A rogue soprano broke off from the melody and sang a part 1/3 above the rest.
Jesus loves me, this I know...

The next time I'll hear something so wonderful is in heaven.

Monday, May 30, 2011

A Drop in the Bucket

I'm preparing to move halfway around the world.

It's big (gargantuan, monstrous) changes like this that make me take one step back and look at life as it is. To look at more than the day to day, more than the petty worries of today, and shift my focus to the wide-eyed uncertainty of the future.

I don't like thinking about life. It scares me.
It's easier to remain blissfully ignorant, to be caught up in the present.

Now, though, I'm forced to consider myself in the grand scheme of things, in a circle much broader than the one I'm comfortable with, to think of myself in an eternal capacity. I cannot comprehend it, so it scares me. A lot.
I am a small grain of sand in a huge sand dune. As much as I like to think that I'm important (Water!), I'm quite insignificant (a drop in the bucket).


Hello, introspection.

El Ultimo Dia

It's the last night. The last night of school year 2010-2011, Maxwell Adventist Academy. Tomorrow, students will take their last battery of final exams, and a few will finish packing their things (you should see the dorm now; Olympic hurdlers struggle to get through the hallways) and leave campus for the last time as freshmen. Sophomores and juniors will dream of going home, but are stuck here for IGCSE testing throughout the month of June. Seniors will scream and dance in the hallways for the last time. There will be hugs and laughter and joyful singing. I, however, have got so many conflicting feelings popcorning in my skull that I could sell blamo-sized buckets and offer refills, and still have some left over.

I love these kids.

I've spent more time signing yearbooks this week than eating (THAT'S noteworthy, let me tell you). I told myself I wouldn't read any of the notes in my yearbook until after grad, but I cracked today and read one... then two... then all of them. I feel special. Very special. Many, upon a trip to the Dark Continent, say they've left a piece of their heart in Africa. I've left a piece of my heart with each student. From random hi-fives and hugs ("embrace me!") in the cafeteria to rolling their eyes at me after another random moment in the dorm lobby, these kids more than tolerate me; they make me feel welcome. They make me feel at home.
That's why it's so hard to leave.

A recurring note I've written in countless yearbooks? "I'll see you when we get There...".
I pray I will. Every one.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

I'm perturbed. I'm a bit angry, too. Arrrrrgh.
Cultural differences really do get my goat.

A simple misunderstanding left my SM friend upset, and she told me so.
That made me upset.

I'm ready to be around people who understand me...

but will I encounter more of the same miscommunications at home?
Am I glorifying home as a paradise it is not?
Am I hoping for Happily Ever After (Wisconsin ed.), when I know it can't be real, I know it's too good to be true?

Yeah. I am.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Organizing the Clutter

None of this has happened to me before. I don't know how to catalog all of these feelings and emotions and experiences and memories. I have to make new folders and labels; I have to reorganize, to go through everything again and re-sort.

I don't particularly enjoy reorganizing.

No one's left yet and I already miss them.


Checked Baggage

If only I could pack Kenya into a suitcase! Students, scenery, animals, weather, friends, memories; take them all with me. As it stands now, I don't want to leave. I know I'll miss it terribly. Today was a wonderful day, full of reminders of how special these students are to me, and how special they make me feel.

One quote from an expatriate-returned-home Japanese businessman: "My advice about going home? Don't."


That's how I'm feeling. A fellow returning SM said it too: "I'm not ready to return to the old routine."

It's going to be awkward. It's going to be weird.
It's going to be worth it?

Thursday, May 26, 2011


I feel as though I'm poised at the edge of yet another precipice - perhaps even the same one. This time, however, I' not at the top, looking over the edge toward the unknown - I'm standing at the bottom, looking at the summit that seems beyond grasp. This time, instead of facing my fears and trusting the Rope for my rappel, instead of leaping over the cliff, I'm facing a climb. I've seen this cliff face before, but not from this angle. This time, I'm going up. Less unknown (fewer fears?), but more effort. It's going to be a climb. I'm going to sweat. I might get a little bruised. But the view from the top will be worth it.

Journal Entry

I still long to belong.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Journal Entry

When I joined Improv, one of the very first things Bryan told us was that we have to be willing to let go of a story. Once it's told, it's history. Forgotten. Over. The end. Move on. You can't live in a story in the past; you have to live in the present, create new stories.

Music is like that.

The performance is over. It doesn't matter how much practice you put in, or how often you replay the episode in your mind; the performance was what it was, and it's over. Move on.

It's strange how hard it is for me to pull all the music out of my folder. Hours of work, weeks of practice, all for one hour of performance.

Am I putting in the practice now for the Big Performance just around the corner?

Journal Entry

I'm addicted to being liked.
I'm addicted to success, to doing everything I can to achieve it.
I'm addicted to recognition of the work I put in in the name of success.

I'm driven to succeed, perhaps to a fault. When I fall short of my expectations (often much higher than anyone else's), I'm devastated. Crushed. I can't move on. The mistakes and flaws haunte me, replaying over and over in my mind like an unwanted 8-track.

I still struggle with failure.
Being an SM doesn't change that.
But it made me a little more aware of the struggle I have with it.

Monday, May 23, 2011


I never really got to do anything in/for National Honor Society. Just a title and a medal. That's why I was so excited when the principal asked me to help with pinning at the NHS induction tonight. She gave the boys' pins to Erik, and handed me the cards/pins for two of my favorite juniors.

I'm so so so proud.

(Good job Inah, Dorinda, Valentine, Bliss, Dale, and Ricky)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Spring Concert 2011

Spring Concert. May 21, 2011.
Boy oh boy was there a lot of practice leading up to it. Shew.

We'd used our super-secret super-spy methods the week leading up to the concert to get a huge card and a bouquet of flowers to surprise the music director after the final song. I'd talked to Brianna and Ricky and asked them to present the gifts. Wha-bam! Surprise! I was feeling pretty sly.

In the hour before the concert, I went to the music building to do some final practicing for the accompaniments I had for the evening. However, this is practicing for a spring concert in KENYA; it can't be normal.

Saturday, May 21, 2011


It's been a
very eventful,
VERY good

And it's not over.

Thank you, Jesus. :)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Life in Books #2

I wish to see home friends, and I tell myself I will, but it seems distant and unreal. Hmm. It's almost as if I've left the former life behind and traded it for a new one. Somehow, I think I have. That makes me scared. I'll never return to "normal" again.


We receive email copies of the Ad Committee minutes each Monday evening. I just read today's copy...
Lonnie has been approved as an academic tutor.
Ashley has been approved as a girls' dean.
Lauren has been approved as an academic tutor.
Drew has been approved as a computer lab assistant.

I remember when I learned I was approved. Such joy. Such relief. Such a huge pile of questions.

It's hard to swallow the thought that I'm being replaced. Nothing else has made me feel more like a title, rather than an individual. I'm replaceable, like something worn out or well-used.

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Goat and the Goose

Ms. Jessica: Tell us a story, Brian.
Inah: Ooh, yes.
Brian: A true story?
J: Sure. Either or.
B: About what?
J: Um, a goat. Yes. A goat. A goat and its friend.
B: Ahem. Once upon a time, there was a goat.
J: Oooh! Wonderful.
B: The goat had a friend... a goose.
J: What happened next?
B: Well, the goose wasn't very nice. The goose always stole the goat's pen.
I: Brian! YOU steal MY pen!
B: This story is about a goat and a goose, not you! Anyway, so the goose also wrote her name on the desks in the History classroom...
I: That's not true! YOU write MY name!
B: Goose and goat! Not Brian and Inah. Back to the goat...
I: Fine! The goat was really mean and always accused the goose of doing things she never did. The end.

There once was a teacher who made friends with a goat and a goose.

Update #33: 3 weeks, Thric3 updated

Me oh my has it been a while! I'm struggling to sort out all the things that have happened in the past epoch.

...A lot.

The end.

Have a nice summer.

Thursday, May 12, 2011


I miss the ones who know what I want/need them to say before I know I need to hear it. The ones who envelop me in a bear hug. The ones give me a shoulder to lay my head on. The ones who not only laugh at me, but leave me ROFLing. The ones who make me burstingly happy.
I need to pour my heart out to someone who knows when to shut me up... but one-hour chats once weekly aren't the time for that. I need to knock on your door and sit on your bed and, well, just sit. Just be near you. Just be.

That said, I'm doing fine. I'd just go from fine to super-duper if you were here to share life with me.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Termite Tantrum

The light! The light!
Fly toward the light!
Apparently, rainfall in East Africa gives termites the impetus to sprout four wings and fly.
No joke.

And a long, steady thunderstorm - such as the one we experienced yesterday afternoon/evening/night - increases the strength of this stimulus.

In short, it's a miracle I'm alive and sitting at my desk, rather than carried off to the termite lair and sacrificed to their mound-making whims.

I approximated the number of the winged creatures
to one bajillion, eight thousand ninety six.

I look about as maniacal as the flying beasts above me.
(And you can see up my nostrils. Disturbing.)

Sunday, May 01, 2011

May 1, 2011

My best friends
My classmates
My peers

graduated today.

I wasn't there.

I feel a little like a lame friend
I feel a lot lonesome

But I'll get over it.
Look! Another story about seeds! This relates to a post from November...

Sunflower sproutage!
Early this year, my friend Anna gave me a tiny terra cotta pot with sunflower seeds to plant. I brought it to Africa to remind myself that I had to die to self as a seed in order to grow. I had the bean from Pastor Dwight, but wanted to test my little pot before putting the big seed in; don't want to be rushing into anything, you know. Got to make sure risks are safe before taking them, right? By the by, my little sunflower seeds sprouted. Safe to go.
I planted the bean. Fail. Epic fail. Well, I guess this object lesson is a fake. Oh well.

"Hey Jess, you should check out your plant."
"That sprout you planted a couple months ago."
"The little sunflower seedling?"
"Sure. I dunno."

I'd figured I shouldn't throw the sunflower sprouts away, so I just plopped them outside our apartment door. Lo and behold, a plant! I hadn't even noticed it; I'm surprised the gardener didn't pull it up! I just planted it and let nature do its work...

I planned on being a bean sprout. I planned to grow green and tall, offering people the food they need; a hardworking plant. Flowers don't go out and feed people. They just look pretty.
I planned on being an evangelist. I planned to preach and teach and offer the food Kenyans need. But they already have enough beans.

I'm not sought out for food. My job is to be attractive. Unless someone has realized they're hungry, they're probably not looking for beans anyway. I get to be the one who catches the attention of passersby...ooh, pretty! Upon closer inspection, some scrumdillyicious seeds are ready for eating. But it's not my job to pass out those seeds.

Journal Entry

I keep wanting to say, "I was supposed to graduate with them!"

But obviously I wasn't "supposed" to.
I wanted to.

I'm suffering from an identity crisis. I crave stability. I miss my box.

Journal Entry

I worry about going home. I fear that I'll experience the same "honeymoon stage" I've had here.... "Cheerios! WalMart! Dryers!" Then it will be mundane. It will be boring. It will be hard. I will be lonesome. I will have to go through all of this again. Life will never again be "normal". I'll simply have gained mmore friends to miss, more places to miss, more things to miss.

I fear that this is my "life in Africa", and that is my "normal life", and the two are totally separate and sitinct; neither affects the other. In a way, it seems as though this year will disappear when I get home. I almost fear going home, just for that reason. I love my students. The thought of being an ocean aawy from them makes me unbearably sad. I will always miss the others side of the ocean.
I fear I will lose who I am once again.

Until You come, Lord.
Come quickly. Please.