- Snacking on cactus fruit at a bus stop in Northern Ethiopia (which is really what dragonfruit is - but these taste waaaay different)
- Tasting custard apples for the first time in Addis - yummy!! (look them up - these things look funky!)
- Watching the beautiful landscape disappear under two separate layers of puffy clouds, as our 13-seater plane ascends over Tanzania
- Seeing cattle, goats, & sheep hurried across the road in advance of our careening bus, by a little Ethiopian shepherd boy who can't be more than 6 or 7 years old
- Watching a breathtaking sunset behind the silhouette of a man leading his 3 camels home at dusk, bearing their burdens
- Squeezing onto a bus that is already packed with 3x the amount of human souls it was designed to carry (because a taxi costs 100-300x the bus fare)
- Scoffing at the outrageous price tags and walking away from familiar fruits, vegetables, & foods -- and filling our basket instead with local food items which are more reasonably affordable (and would be considered exotic at home). It seems strange to yearn for just one good ol' apple, when you can have your fill of cheap & delicious mangoes & pineapples
- Making it halfway through the day before I realize that I haven't shaved my legs in several days, and that I'm still wearing a loose-fitting skirt which I had thrown over my long pajama shorts this morning in order to be culturally-appropriately-decent when I went into the kitchen to make coffee this morning, in the event the house-helper or guard might see me walk by
- Unspoken rule #837 of African life - your clothes do not necessarily have to "match"
- Spending more hours sitting in bus seats in the last month than I have in airplane seats in the last 6 months
- Not even blinking when the lights go out (again), or the shower is cold (again)
- Finding myself analyzing, comparing, and ranking water pressure, internet speed, and yogurt quality everywhere I go
- Realizing I'm probably a bit travel-weary, if nothing else, for the simple fact that I've slept in 14 different cities in the last 25 nights
- The shocking realization that I am materialistic... a spiritual slap in the face. How do I know this? I take an extra suitcase with me places, or leave room in the one I have, to bring more stuff back home with me. Sure, I can explain it away with all sorts of reasons, but the bare bones truth is... materialism has its clutches on me, too.
03 December 2013
After I've been overseas for awhile or to a number of places, I tend to forget to write down the more "unusual" or "extraordinary" things I see, taste, touch, take in... because they become such a normal part of life. Here are some of those things from the last couple weeks.
24 September 2013
"You, Westerners, you know how to minister from strength, but you don't know how to minister from weakness. So it makes those of us who are weak... it makes it very difficult for us to partner with you."
"I stood a mendicant [beggar] of God, before His royal throne;
And begged Him for a priceless gift that I could call my own.
He gave the gift, but as I would depart,
I cried, "But, Lord, this is a thorn, and it has pierced my heart!
This is a strange and hurtful gift, that Thou has given me."
And He looked at me and said, "Oh, My child, I give good gifts, and gave My best to Thee."
So I took it home and though, at first, the cruel thorn hurt sore.
As long years passed, I learned at last, to love it more and more.
I found He never gives a thorn, without this added grace
He takes the thorn, to pull away the veil which hides His face."
(Martha Snell Nicholson)