Sunday, January 30, 2011

Spaghetti Dance

A few weekends ago, someone gave me about 5 gallons of leftover spaghetti. This was partially my fault, as I had failed to communicate accurate numbers for the spaghetti dinner they were providing, and so it was right that I pay the penalty and dutifully eat spaghetti roughly every 3rd lunch or dinner for the foreseeable future.

The most exciting moment in all this happened last week, when I was standing in my tile kitchen in my splendid new off-campus apartment, and I dropped my bowl of spaghetti right next to my bare feet. The bowl shattered, and when I looked down, I tried to control my panic: the bowl had apparently inflicted dozens of cuts on my feet, all were bleeding, and it looked pretty bad. I worked hard not to hyperventilate. My mind spun through who I would call, whether I need to go to the hospital, whether stitches would help, whether I could drive myself, and again, how I could keep breathing in a regular manner.

Then I realized it didn't hurt that much. I carefully stepped into the bathroom, rinsed off my feet, and realized it was all spaghetti sauce.

I heaved a big sigh of relief, allowed a gentle head shake at my self-inflicted panic, and made a mental note to improve my blood identification skills.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Computer Issues

Urg. My computer's dead, or at least mortally wounded.

After a month of trying one thing and another and another and another, then being told that it will take another month to get it fixed here, I put my laptop on the plane with a friend in hopes of getting it repaired in the States.

In better news, I have CFS pictures to share once it returns (assuming the data's still intact, which it should be), and perhaps I'll be struck with the sudden urge to blog more once I have a home computer again. And hopefully I'll have spiffy new pictures and stories to tell from my upcoming Habitat for Humanity trip with sophomores somewhere near Mt. Kenya.

So here's hoping the Mac comes back from Memphis miraculously healed...

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Marvelous Middle Schoolers

Every once in a while, I have kids write me a note- what's going on in their lives, how things are with family and friends, if there's anything they'd like me pray for. I do this in part because it's a way to help them feel heard; I also do it because they're sweet and insightful and sometimes hilarious.

Here are some good'uns from the last round...
- "Last weekend was awesome: I went repelting and spulunking." (I _love_ repelting! And so do the small animals).
- "Please pray for Naivasha to regrow their lake." (Kids feel the water crisis and the national mismanagement of resources too).
- "Please pray that God would help me to follow Him; it's hard to be a teenager." (She turned 13 two days ago).
- "Things with friends are good, but I think I am not talking to girls but only boys." (Hmmm).

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Slackin' in September

If I don't post TONIGHT, that little blog archive at the bottom of the page will only have one entry for this month. Oops.

And really, it's been a phenomenally full September, but nothing's been truly bloggable. It's all been too shallow or too deep- either "went out to dinner again!" or "my soul has been healed in ways you can't possibly understand unless you've known me for at least a decade."

On the other hand, maybe it's that I was sick- finally got an African passenger, probably an amoeba or worm who stole my calories and my sphincter's resolve. But I eventually broke down and took medicine (after using up all my Gatorade and my mom threatening to DHL me some more), and I am doing fine again.

Or maybe it's that I'm too busy- life was getting back to the point it was in the States, where I had something going on every night, something happening each evening, no serious down time. Maybe I'm getting older and my energy's dropping; maybe I've just developed more sense: I don't want to live that way. So, for the first time ever, I quit something, and my schedule and overall health seem to be progressing upward.

Perhaps it's that I've settled in here- things rarely strike me as noteworthy. True, as I was driving yesterday, I had the opportunity to buy a wide variety of goods from folks between the lanes: skirts, paintings, TV antennae, flowers, a puppy, bandannas, pinwheels, peanuts, drugs, a rabbit, some sunglasses. Kind of the usual. So I thought about blogging about it, but it wasn't pressing enough to stay in my mind past the traffic and the police checkpoints and the fact that my ATM card wouldn't work... Life feels normal, though it looks very little like it did in New Mexico.

However, I guess the big news is that I'm staying- Rosslyn offered me another 2 year contract, and I accepted. That puts me here into 2012 at least, with a 2 month furlough in the States this summer. It wasn't a surprising decision; I feel like God brought me here really clearly, and until He leads me somewhere else equally clearly, I'll stay here. But it is still peace-producing to say so publicly.

Life might slow down a little in a few weeks, after CFS and after my quarter-long class ends. Maybe I'll rejoin the thing I quit, or develop a burning desire to blog more. But for tonight I'm off to read Richard Rohr and grade some math tests and pray for rain. Pretty normal.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


So much good news lately- things I've been praying for long term are happening!

A few highlights...
  • Brenton, my former colleague here at Rosslyn, got the job he's been working towards for over a year! He and his wife will be able to stay in Kenya long term, use their hospitality gifts, and serve in a really unique environment.
  • Alan the Red-Haired Guy (ding) has a defense date for the the doctoral thesis he's been working on for the entire 8 years I've known him! And after many closed doors, God has provided a TERRIFIC post-doc that will give him a chance to see if Asia is really where he belongs.
  • Clara Knutson was born today! I delight in the turn that this journey of years has taken.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Count Me (in?)

Kenya's grand tradition of Sudden Public Holidays continues. You might remember Obama Day... Kenya erupted in joy at the election of their own semi-kenyan US President and declared a national day off for everyone.

But this time's reason might not appear to be holiday-worthy at first glance: The Census. Now, I _am_ a math teacher, and I get pretty excited about statistics, but a national holiday? Hm. I'd have picked Pi Day. But no, President Kibaki announced on Sunday that Tuesday would be a public holiday. Wow. A whole day's notice.

See, they want to get an accurate count of absolutely everyone, so they're putting all sort of incentives in place. They wanted the wandering Masaai herdsmen to show up, so they provided free grain and water at a particular border. And they wanted to be able to find all the crazy-living Nairobians, so they closed all the businesses and ordered the police to shut down "all bars and places of entertainment- let's take a break from drinking," said the Census Master.

Speaking of census officials, they gave special shirts to all the people coming around to count and ask questions. See, it's a door-to-door activity, and you wouldn't let just anyone into your house. So they have bright red polo shirts that say ENUMERATOR across the back. I cannot even express how badly I want one of those. =)

And it's a good thing I was home from work today. About 11 AM, Julie the Census Girl came by (sporting a cool red shirt, of course), and asked me questions like "How many people slept here last night?" "Do you have access to the internet?" "How many live children have you given birth to?" "How many still births?" "Do you own a TV?" "Do you own a fridge?" She tried to hide her shock that one, I live alone (Kenyans rarely do), and that two, I own a fridge but not a TV. How bizarre.

When the five-minute questionnaire was complete, she gathered her books, put her shoes back on, and marked my door with the serial number of my census form. I've been counted.

I made good use of the rest of my day off, as you can see from the photo below.

Now I'll take them to my small group meeting and enjoy the conclusion of this unexpected work-free day! Just remember- we might not get Snow Days here, but you probably don't get Census Days.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

New (School) Year's Resolutions

I love the seasonality of teacher-life. And living in a mini-village of educators sure accentuates that rhythm. So while normal human beings make resolutions at New Year's, I've sensed a distinct atmosphere of self-improvement around campus these weeks. Everyone's waking up early to run, lift, pray, grade. Well, hopefully not grade yet- the kids haven't arrived. New students get oriented tomorrow, we run a half-day of assemblies on Tuesday, and classes start in earnest on Wednesday. Classrooms are clean, hopes are high, and friendships are fresh.

My starting prayer:
May this school year be a good apple- crisp, nourishing, and flavorful.