Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Journal Entry

I've decided that everyone is inherently decent, and i'm going to be bold enough to test that theory.

I finally allowed myself (or maybe myself allowed I) to get excited when I boarded the flight to Chicago. I guess I was trying to play it safe? :)

I hear people in the line speaking of their African exploints, and see their shirts: "Stop F.G.M." and "Don't trade girls for cows; give them an education", then see them try to cut in front in line... I cringe and find myself quietly accusing them of doing a "feel-good" mission trip: "I'll go save Africa..."
How wrong of me! What have I done that makes me any different? Am I becoming haughty simply because I had opportunity to live away from home longer? Have the differences we've made (or not made) really been measurably different?
Stop your judging, Jessica Mae.

Even seeing the on/off ramps and gree highway signs make me a bit giddy.
The lake! the lake!
Look! Driver in the left side of the vehicle!'s like gawking at a foreign country. :)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Journal Entry

Good Grief.

We're pulling away from the gate. I'm experiencing the buckled-into-the-ride, no-turning-back, do-not-pass-GO feeling. I've spent the whole day feeling my chest get tigher and tighter. No emotions, no organized thoughts; just anxiety. It's as if I've gone through the "grieving" process already, and I've finally come to terms with the fact that life's moving on, no matter what I do about it.
I worry, though, that I haven't quite realized that I've said goodbye. I won't be seeing the Raymonds, or Charmaine, or Yuot, or Inah, or Joy, or Bob, or ... anything. It seems as though this is a short sojourn away from Kenya, yet I don't feel as though I'm returning, either. Perhaps I've gone through the worst of the missing stage; perhaps the next (first) 2 weeks will be the hardest. Maybe it's like drowning; near-drowning feels just as bad as actual drowing. The 2 weeks I've spent away from the rAymonds, etc. before is as bad as it gets. Perhaps.

The plane's wheels left the ground... my first thought? "And that's how it ended."
No. It can't be over. No way. As if it never happened; back to life-before.
When I land, it will be: "And that is how it resumed." I'm in limbo. Over the ocean, in no man's land. I suppose that's how I feel overall; in limbo. I'm just not sure how long this flight is, or its final destination, or even how long the layover is. Hmm.

Update #35: The Great Migration

1.8 million.

That's the estimated number of wildebeest that pack up their homely selves each year and trek hundreds of miles from Ngorongoro Crater of Tanzania, over the plains of the Serengeti, and to the plentiful waves of grass of the Masai Mara, Kenya.
Sometime in May-June, these nearly innumerable implausibilities - yes, that really is the name for a group of gnus/wildebeest - simply turn tail south and start plodding north toward the equator. The way I figure it, there must be a wildebeest angel out there that gets to give each member of my favorite African species a little nudge and the migratory go-ahead nod.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Check the Microwave

Have you looked in your microwave? You should look in your microwave.

I woke up early to bid adieu to a few departing juniors. Note to readers: the junior class is in my top four favorite classes. Really really. However, in this group of a few departing juniors was an apartment raiding, chalkboard graffiti-ing, water bottle "thieving" girl who taught me Tagalog. I went to bed last night, dreading the goodbye this morning, but this morning was simply a sleepy hug and a few final words:

You should look in your microwave.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The final Sabbath. The sun's finally decided to come out, and with it, my white shorts and even whiter legs. Dale's guitar is joining the birds' songs on a warm afternoon.

I've toted my camera about all day, just ready for... well, I don't know. It's the last Sabbath! There's got to be something to capture. The last something. The last story. The last song. The last giggle. The last random outburst.
I'm bidding adieu to so many. Goodbyes are supposed to be an event; something final. Something that makes putting an ocean between us bearable. A quick and painless extraction from the web of relationships.

I've got my camera and journal ready, but I know I'm going to miss something.

I'm going to miss nearly everything, in fact.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Journal Entry

I'm still having an identity crisis. But I've learned something.

Why am I here?
Meeting people.
Helping people.
Serving people.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Journal Entry

What gives me the right to traipse into someone else's home with pomp and Land Rover circumstance, dump off goods that were bought with surplus, then drive off, feeling good about myself? What good am I doing, except for my level of feel-good? I feel guilty as we load up multiple tables in the dining hall with more clothing, toys, craft supplies, and medicines than I could shake a rungu at. How is this not selfish?


Graduation. Oi.
Talk about Jessica as an emotional wreck.
Combine the arrival of three family members (whom I have not seen for 294 days); the departure of a couple dozen freshmen (whom I will likely not see again this side of heaven); some of the most difficult piano pieces I've ever attempted to learn (as I am a pianist for the weekend's programs); and the thought that the entire senior class will march into the church, grab faux black leather bound folders, and march out of my life forever... yep. Jessica Stotz = emotional basket case.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Journal Entry

I know who I am by the way I act.
I act the way I act according to the people around me.
The people around me just graduated and left.
I'm feeling a bit lost.
I'm feeling a bit less "myself".
I'm feeling quite uncertain about my future.

Will I be smiling?

Why is the grass always greener on the other side of the ocean???

Journal Entry

And so it was over.
I'm no longer a teacher.
They've graduated.
The campus is nearly empty (there's still one class here).

I'll walk into breakfast tomorrow and I won't see the faces I normall see. I may never see their faces on Earth again.

Goodbyes never seem to do their job.
They never make parting okay.
It's never enough.

Things will never be the same.
Even if I see these students again, the relationship dynamic will have changed.

I hate change.

Thursday, June 02, 2011


I just ate 4 pieces of Cadbury chocolate and a handful of Skittles. Why? I'm nervous.

My parent and sister have arrived!!! Hooray hoorah yippee.

This signifies the end of "normal". It's irrevocable, un-doable, unrewindable. The transition stage has begun. Now everything that is the usual, the familiar, the routine, will begin to fall away in pieces. My job has changed, my interaction with students and faculty has changed, and so I must change.

I hate change.

I've just begun reading The Art of Coming Home by Craig Storti. All of my fears and apprehensions regarding coming home are corroborated in this book. I suppose I'm glad to know them ahead of time.