Friday, December 31, 2010

Goodbye 2010, Hello 2011

In five and a half hours not only will I be heading to Egypt, but I will be heading into a new year. You see all these quizzes and questions like: What are your best memories? What do you reget? Most craziest thing you've done? Did you fall in love? Did you lose someone you close to you?
Honestly, it's hard for me to look back and remember this past year. I want to say that I did/went through a lot. And yet another part of me can't remember it. I guess with a thought like that I can say that this year has been...interesting. I know I came back to Andrews with more of an open mind about it realizing that this was where I was suppose to be. That I chose to go there, no one made me. I have great memories of working late nights at the dairy, and going on awesome road trips down to Southern. Haha never thought I would drive ten hours two weekends in a row. And yet even though I was feeling better about Andrews going to Southern opened some doors that well, will never be answered. I made new friends, wrecked my car, and  started getting over someone all in one weekend. (crazy weekend) I made the decision that a year off was definetly needed. And that's probably one of the best decisions that I'll ever make in my life. I can't even imagine what things would be like if I was back in the states. Then again there probably wouldn't be much difference. I remember thinking how glad I was that '09 was over with. And yes I was, but are years really different from each other? I mean yes we choose how our years /life are going to be (for the most part) but some things just never change. Family problems are always around, friends always make stupid choices, and sometimes when we fall down we aren't always able to get back up as quick as we thought we could. Hearts are still cut. I guess in the long run, I still don't feel like I know where my life is headed. I have such amazing, smart, talented people, who can do ANYTHING. And then I think...what can I do? I'm not a genius, I can't save lives, I can't compose music, I'm not good at everything like some people.  I mean what's the point?
I pray that during this year I can gain some wisdom and insight. That my heart will soften, so that I wont lose the family that I have. To be able to breathe and be happy with where I'm at. To trust that God wont abandon me like I feel so many have. To not have my heart broken; by family, friends, or anyone else. Maybe this is childish to wish (yep, pretty sure it is) but I don't know what else to do. I wish that things could go back to how they use to, with my family, with you and me. But some wishes never come true. So goodbye 2010, you've given me great memories and heartaches. 2011...bring it.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Great start to Christmas break

Christmas break began beautifully! The last of the girls left early Thursday morning which officially announced the start of break. Friday morning started out great, not only because I was able to wear a tank top with out getting in trouble (for the most part) but there was a brunch for all the workers here at Maxwell. It was a lot of fun being in the kitchen cutting, and butchering, fruit, making hashbrowns and eating doghnut holes. Jess, Violetta, Tyson and I served throughout the morning. I really liked it cause even though I see some of the other workers I don't get to see many of them. It was also fun to have there families there as well. And man was that food gone! They didn't leave anything behind. After serving brunch it was time for everyone to load up and head to Splash. Splash is a small water park here in Nairobi with two slides, a kiddie pool, a larger pool and some volleyball courts. Oh man, did it feel good to lay out in some sun. The great thing about Christmas time here is that it's during the summer, which meant 80 degree weather. Granted I was nice and red but by now I can say I do have a touch of a tan. (Thank goodness) Later than night Jess, Violetta and I were invited to the Butlers home for dinner. Just a small Christmas get together. I can say that right then and there was the first time I realized I wouldn't be in the states for Christmas. But then being with the Butlers and realizing where I am going to spend Christmas came to mind, which is really cool.
On Sabbath the Crutchers, Jess, Violetta, the Butlers, and I headed up to the Ngongs to watch the sun rise. So windy!! I think I could have flown up there. It was really fun though. We just goofed around and took pictures and enjoyed the wind making coke bottles sing haha.

That afternoon we had a fantastic potluck. Which by the way, have I mentioned how much I love potlucks? They are amazing! Great good and great people :D We had a lot of laughs and just a really good time. After the Crutchers, Derek, Caleb, and I went to the Giraffe Center because I have never been and they like going. So yes, I did kiss a giraffe. Haha definetly an experience. We had fun hiking on the trails and finding Pumba tunnels. Which note: do not go into a Pumba tunnel, you will get fleas. Just ask Derek and Caleb haha. The night ended with the movie Grown Ups, and a nice walk. Fact: water towers are fun/ scary :)
On Sunday we were up and running again because Joy Butler had invited us to go to the race track with her. For free! Oh man, I wish I could go to the races more often, it was so much fun!!! But it was crazy some of the jockeys were so big! And the horses were so little haha go figure.
Oh and in the last three days I have had Indian, Ehtiopian, and Chinese. Great!  But yes, later that night we ended up watching Cheetah which is an old Disney movie. It was neat cause it's based here in Kenya and I actually knew some of the places :-) On Monday Tysons parents got here which led to a fun night of Habesha's and Java house. We were out so late. But it was a lot of fun. So yes, I would say that the break is off to a good start and I hope Egypt comes together. We are being told different things about getting a visa so who knows how that will work, but it will :)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

It's Almost Finished

I am sitting in the office with only four girls left in the dorm. The last few days have been quiet an more peaceful than usual. I can't believe that the sem in over with. Four months of my time in Africa are over with, and only roughly four more to go. Even though I'm being asked about when I am coming back home part of me can't really imagine me being at home. I can see school, but other than that I can't see what's up ahead. I can't see what the next chapter will be like. And I think I'm ok with that. Not only do I feel that I can take a step back and breathe from school, but that I can also take a step back and just breathe from everything. I feel re-leaved, and just happy. It's what what happened after I posted my last post. I got an e-mail from someone who I am truly blessed to have in my life. And yes, even though some people who we were once very close with walk out of our lives, there are those that were given to us as well; sometimes we just don't see it. 
In all honesty I think I'm finally letting go. I'm letting myself be happy with who I am and what I have. I am having the time of my life here in Kenya. I have people who love me at home and realize that it's time for me to grow up. And I have amazing friends who never fail to put smiles on my faces. Example: the other day I had a skype date with Ashley, Trevor, and Darren. Oh man, I miss hanging out with all of them so much. The jokes and random comments are just haha undesirable. Yesterday I got a random phone call from Cowboy (Andrew Marsh) and it just made my day to know that someone who I don't talk to very often took the time for a 5 minute phone call. And today was spent playing Gim Rummy, Risk, and Pit with Jess, Tyson, Rachel, and Caleb. (note to everyone, don't play games with me. I'm competitive and am not always the nicest loser, just ask Tyson grrr) But yea, I can tell this is gonna be a fun break. And I can't wait for Egypt! 
I'm realizing I can be happy on my own. That even though letting go is hard, sometimes it's the best thing to do. I'm happy with myself, and I'm happy with other people. I remember having this high, happy feeling when I went off to college and was able to leave my family issues behind. There was nothing I could do about anymore (not that there ever was) but I was able to say I don't want this to affect my life and I'm going to say how my life turns out. It's up too me. Another time was on a Sunday morning when I went walking on the Green Way at Southern. I felt like I was given answers and that I had direction as to where I was suppose to go. Ha, funny how that is quite opposite now, but hey God works in funny ways. That does terrify me cause He has such a crazy sense of humor that who knows what He'll bring my way next. I mean I'm in Africa for crying out loud haha. But a few more hours this dorm will be empty and there will be no students for almost seven weeks :) *sigh*

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Why am I here?

For the first time that I have been here I found myself seriously asking, "should I really be here?" Thoughts such as, "this is a mistake, God picked the wrong person, I shouldn't be here," and "Susan should have picked the other girl not me," came to mind a lot yesterday. Over the weekend there was a couple of incidents concerning M. One was dealing with her free labor and the other her dress being too short for church.The reason why these were problems was because of the disrespect that was shown, which isn't the first time. It ended up with the principle, vice principle, Susan, and I talking with M in the office. The aftermath of this even is what led me to those thoughts as well as tears. (Which is really annoying. I HATE crying and yet I've cried more than I hoped since I have been here. Grrr.) M. told Meds and Geershom that Susan and I are rude and that we do not respect the girls, "especially Miss Cassie.".......................huh?
I don't get it, I'm so blown away by this that I just sat there in the office stunned. I've had more talks and laughter lately with the girls then I ever have. Shoot! I even did one girls make up for banquet! Yes, Susan and I have tried to crack down in the dorm concerning noise and rowdiness but I don't understand. Meds was saying how she thought that it was more of a culture difference. Coming here I found out quickly that there isn't much of a sense of humor, and there has been times when I had to let the girls know that I was joking with them, which they then laughed about. M. also told them how I'm going into there rooms at 11:00, 1:00, and 3:00 in the morning searching there rooms. When Susan and I heard this we just looked at each other and laughed. But still, it irks me to hear that these "rumors" are going around in the dorm about the Deans. Granted, yes it's not surprising but really? I don't know....
I've felt that things were getting better between her and I and yet now I think she knows a weakness of mine. I feel that she's doing and saying what she can to get to me. And yes, I'm sure that sounds crazy but also with M it wouldn't surprise me. And even after the meeting I had girls joking around with me, and talking with me about things and I was just they really think that I disrespect them? And if I am that I am doing it on purpose? I've come here cause I've thought that this is where God wanted me. So that I can serve these girls. Sometimes I don't think the girls really think about what it means to take a year off and be here. Leaving school, friends, family. Coming to a new place, to a place where you have no idea about. For me, not knowing how things are going to be, how they'll work out, or even not knowing where my life is headed scares me to death. I hate not having a plan and knowing where I'm headed. But then again my "plan" went out the window Freshman year of college, and then some.
Am I being rude and disrespectful? Am I hurting the girls more than helping them? I sure I'm not. I wish I knew what to do.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

I don't know what to title this.

So as of right now I have a lot of women in my life. Not only do I have my friends and family, but I also have 46 others that I interact with on a daily basis. For the women back at home (Mom and Grandma) I don't talk with them often. And yet even though I am so far away they still have an impact on my day and therefore my life. Some of these ladies have no respect and therefore disrespect authority on a daily basis. Some are so bad that they lead us to the feeling of pulling out our hair, among other things.
Now to be honest: I've been very content not having much connection with home. I'm not homesick nor have I ever been homesick. That includes missing my parents and other family members. I'm sure that this sounds horrible, but it's true. I was raised to be independent and that has happened. My mother knows this, though sometimes she regrets that she has raised me so; but still. Another reason why I don't really want to talk with my mom is because of an incident that happened days before I left for Kenya. When this happened the final string was broken and I felt that is was time to really move on with my life and to stop trying to always please the people around me. I have a life and I need to live it, I can't do that by staying at home and trying to fix problems that I never made to begin with. (I'm realizing I'm starting to rant and I hope that no one takes this personally this is just my blog with my thoughts.) I can't change the past! As much as I wish I could at times, all there is,  is the present which we have to deal with, and the future which we can have a say in how it turns out.
I found out today that my mom was in a car accident during the week. Even though I feel that my mom and I are on different terms, and even though sometimes she feels as if I am "divorcing" myself from her, the tears were very easy to come. I called my Grandma at 3 in the morning (bless her soul) and she was able to fill me in a little, which is better than none. I still haven't been able to get a hold of her, so I don't know how bad it is, or how bad it isn't. But I guess I'll hear from her in time.
My friends who were task force workers and past SM's have told me that while I'm far away things still are going to keep going, and that I'll find myself wondering how to get back in the swing of things once I get back. I'm realizing that even now some. There are events happening at home that I'm just now hearing about that happened a month ago! I know that I'm not going to know everything, and I don't want to! But I do want to know if a loved one is hurt, I want to know that my Grandparents are making it. I want to know that my brother isn't partying to much that it will end badly. I want to know how my Dad is doing with diabetes, and that he is taking breaks when he is over working himself. I want to know when a friend is suicidal and that I can be praying for them. I want to know when my mom raps her car around a telephone pole!.........I want, I want...*sigh*

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Thanksgiving, Bomas, and more

After a friendly reminder that I do have a blog and that people do read it (you know who you are), I figured it was time that I have a new post.
To begin with Thanksgiving was very very nice. No, we didn't all sit around one huge table on Thursday, but instead I sat at a table for four with Jess on Wednesday. The food was A-mazing! Especially the sweet potatoes, oh man I thought I was in heaven. It was just the usual Thanksgiving meal (minus the turkey of course), nothing big or fancy, considering that most of the students here don't even understand what Thanksgiving is about. This has now been my third Thanksgiving away from home. I wasn't sad or lonely, wishing I could spend it with other friends or family but I was grateful to be where I was for it. I mean come on! I'm in Kenya! :) The day was very nice and amazingly with all that food in the girls bellies most of them were asleep by second study hall :D

If you would like to have some humerus entertainment you can go to this link:
v Here you will laugh and enjoy my misery of being hauled up on stage at Bomas of Kenya ( a cultural place down the road from the school where you can see dances and all different kinds of huts from different tribes. 1. Did my friends help me not go on stage? Fail. 2. Was my face as red as a tomato the entire time I was there? Yes. 3. Did they give me anything for going up (this was Tyson's biggest concern)? Besides a blown kiss from Francis, no.

I was able to have a different change of pace this morning which was nice. Violetta needed a sub for her elementary classes this morning so she could take her driving test, which gave me the privileged  of subbing her 5th & 6th grade reading class, as well as her 7th & 8th grade English.  It was nothing earth shattering or anything, but it was nice to be in a different environment with different kids. Before I went I looked through all my papers from Intro to Elementary Ed class that I took at Southern which was a nice review. And then I started thinking, "oh no, what if I do this enough and I'll want to change my major back to elem. ed?" As of right now that is not happening. But it was still fun and I'd love to do it again for more than just two classes.

This past weekend was my long weekend off. We went to Samburu park and did some more safariing. I'll post pics and more details about that later.

* To my friend who kindly reminded me to update my blog: happy now? :)