*Disclaimer: This post should have been entitiled “An Ode to Hannah” and it’s a bit mushy.*
I really love the movie Up. I actually saw it in theater 4 times including in the back of a pick up at a drive in. I love the scene where Carl is going through Ellie’s scrapbook and just when he is disappointed with himself for letting her down in his promise to take her to Paradise Falls, he finds the page where she’s written “Thanks for the adventure.” following photos of their life together. I always feel conflicted about this. On the one hand, I love the idea that everyday is an adventure and when you reflect on life this is such a wise perspective to have. Yet, I love the stories and memories that come with adventure as defined and the idea of going where few people have gone or dare to go. I’ve never been one to be content at home and be “responsible.”
That idea is complicated by the fact I live in Kenya. Someone once said everything I do is more exciting when I add on “in Kenya” to the end of it. Like I’m having coffee with friends… in Kenya. Or I’m watching a movie… in Kenya. And I suppose to a certain extent that’s true but as more time goes by that novelty of living here dissipates. That same someone also asked me whether on an average day am I happier here or at home? I spent a long time pondering this question and continue to consider that to this day. At first I said in Kenya but now I think I can’t answer that. Life here is different then life at home; in the same way everyday can be an adventure and truly extraordinary events can also be. They’re just different.
I also love that Carl and Ellie are so different. Adventureres aren’t always the most fit or the most well equipped or the most *insert adjective here*. Sometimes it’s a grumpy old man or an over eager little Asian boy scout. For me, this adventure has been made better by Hannah. We could not be any more different in background or eating habits or sleeping habits or even which colours we like on our extensive collection of scarves. She’s a small-ish town girl from Montana and I’m a city dweller from the coast. Like Carl and Ellie one of us is more prepared and louder (guess who?) and the other is quieter and takes her time. But somehow… just somehow it worked.
As I prepare for her to go back home, I’m reflecting on our time together and although it was not without it’s own bumps and bruises I really think God knew exactly the perfect amount of ease and challenge in a partner. My patience has grown as I listen to her talk about how much she loves ‘Merica and hopefully my self awareness of how much I talk will make me a better friend. She complements me well and I think without her the last 6 months would have been a lot harder and with a lot less laughter. Here is where I insert all of our inside jokes but I’ll spare you the gory details.
We’ve been through everything from 14 ft waterfalls to all 7 Harry Potter movies to marriage and baby proposals to muggings and homesickness and resentment. We’ve been stabbed by sea urchins and laughed when no one else was laughing, we’ve ate more beans then I ever have in my whole life and been more motion sick than I ever care to experience again. We’ve basked in the sun over the Indian Ocean and eaten SO MUCH CHOCOLATE. We’ve seen lions mating 10 feet away from us and been terrorised by a mouse and at the end of these 6 months I’m really glad there was a tall skinny brunette from Montana next to me. We don’t hug (literally we’ve hugged like 4 times) and we don’t cry together (we cry in our rooms then when we’re done we go tell each other we just cried). We might not be two peas in a pod but this experience has bonded us for life and provided something that no one else can be a part of.
I’m so glad that adventure IS out there and that I’ve been blessed with the ability and means to have it and to have it with Hannah. I’m glad that my everday life is in an office writing emails, creating schedules and working finance and logistics. I’m even more glad that I get to do that serving God and that this job leads me to more adventures, both in the everyday and the extraordinary. I’m so blessed to help other missionaries come out and experience, even if for a short while, the absolute beauty and warmth that is Kenya.
So be inspired, whether you’re loud and persistent and a wee bit crazy like Ellie or quite, mild-mannered and a wee bit timid like Carl and go out and find your own adventure!