Monday, July 31, 2006

Well, here I wait at the PDX airport for the longest flight of my life. I will leave tonight, Sunday, at 10:35 PM and I will arrive on Tuesday at noon in J-burg. Thank God I have someone meeting me at the airport. I have so many different thoughts running through my head. I finally feel comfortable with all that I packed (most likely because I can’t do anything about it now. I am taking off for a year, which is frightening, but almost no different than studying abroad. At the same time, I will be faced with physical, emotional and mental challenges that I have never encountered before. I wish I could take a mold of who I am now so that one ear from now I could compare to the person I do become. I don’t mean to be cheesy at all, but this year will likely blow my mind. I have never really lived in an impoverished nation before. I have never spent so long from my family. As my nerves go haywire, I am also excited and hopeful. Bruce already has been a good confirmation of the faith I am placing in the people supporting me on that foreign continent.
Peace all,
Mike

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Departure date approaches

So I leave Sunday!?! Out of the US and on to South Africa for 3 weeks. I have to be honest, I hate packing. I wish I could just buy prepacked suitcases to take with me. I don’t care if the clothes clash… wouldn’t be too different from my current wardrobe.

It has been interesting trying to prepare for this journey. I’ve read about each of my countries, I have emailed my contacts and I have kept up to date on the various wars of the region that might hamper my plans. I have been seeing friends and trying to create the memories to sustain the relationships I have here at home. This includes an amazing trip to Crater lake with a hodgepodge group of friends and family. I have watched a lot of Star Trek the next Gen with my little brother in a bit of homemade bonding time. Am I ready? Well, not exactly. I am, however, thoroughly prepared to be flexible when all of the best-laid plans fall to pieces.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Well, here I return to my blog after almost a year of silence. I am about one month away from heading off to Africa. I prepare daily by way of research, Swahili classes and the regular moments of silence trying to contemplate my upcoming journey. Regardless, this trip remains in the world of fantasy for me. I cannot comprehend this trip that I will be going on. I question whether I am prepared. So many things are on my "to-do" list, so easy to just sit back and enjoy the summer as I have so far. I have decided the best means of continuing to prepare is to document. This coming journey will require a good set of eyes and ears, and a bold heart. I am not worried about the latter, but perhaps in documenting this coming month I will begin the discipline of the former.....


Today is the 4th of July. My family and I took my French cousin to down town Lake Oswego to watch the parade. As my father said, this way he could enjoy some authentic Americana. Despite initial skepticism (likely left over from my short years of teenage angst), the event was fun enough. People dressed their children and dogs in the red, white, and blue and they walked them down our main street for the entire city to see. As my father also noted, it is one of the few parades in which those in the parade outnumber those watching the parade. Tonight I head off to Ft. Vancouver to watch the firework display there. I have heard good things about it and I will have great company so it should be a good evening. I only wish I didn’t have to be at the bus station tomorrow morning at 7:20 AM for Swahili class. I love the class, but the hours are early. I guess I have no right to complain given the majority of my employed peers are doing the 9-5 bit. Hmm, not much to comment on, but it’s a beginning.
Kwaheri,
Mike