I’m going to share my favourite memories from the last year of my life. Some of them are specific days or stories and some of them are themed or a cluster of days. As I was brainstorming what I was going to choose, I realized what an amazing experience I’ve had. I could easily go and pick 10 more.
1) By far one of my best memories was my beach vacays in Mombasa. If you’ve been following blog I was lucky enough to go twice this year. Once in March with Hannah and a big group and once in July with two other short termers. I love Mombasa and would love to be able to maybe even live there one day. I especially enjoyed wandering through the actual city: Fort Jesus, the Old Town, spice market and riding a tuk tuk. Wish I had more time to adventure and explore while I was there! Oh well, means I’ll have to go back (and check whether a coconut we buried grew into a tree).
2) Even though I was at the training school for only three months and struggled at times with the pace, I definitely look back fondly on my days there. I enjoyed joining them in all their classes (we made skirts with the dressmaking class and being guinea pigs for the hair dressing and beauty therapy) but my favourite activity there was definitely cooking with the catering class on their practical days. Learning to make chapatis, samosas, stews, ugali and all sorts of local and foreign foods just provided a great setting where the students were more relaxed and we could have great fun.
3) Hannah and I went to Uganda in April and choosing between rafting the Nile or our boda tour of Kampala was hard. Since I spent the day on the Nile feverish and pseudo-malarial I’m picking the boda tour. What a fantastic way of seeing the city and just experiencing it the way that many nationals do. Zipping around the city I could hear the perfect background music in my head if my life were a movie. Bonus: I only thought I was going to die twice.
4) Kids. I met a lot of great kids both Kenyan and otherwise while here. Missionary kids are awesome because so many of them are a little… crazy because the setting you live in or that there aren’t other kids around so you make your own fun. I got especially close to PJ and Emily’s kids, Sarah and Aiden and after spending a year with their family I really feel like I’m part of it. I’m so thankful that they were around and welcomed me with open arms. I could literally write a whole blog post about all the outrageous and hilarious stuff they’ve said to me. Aiden: When I grow up I’m going to invent not going bad spray? Me: What’s that for? Aiden: So when I go to the States I can buy McDonald’s and bring it back for you. OR Me: Sarah, do you know who my favourite Disney princess is? Sarah: No. Me: Mulan. Sarah: Of course it is. Me: Why do you say that? Sarah: Because she’s from where you’re from. PJ: Canada?
5) Co-piloting to Kenya North prayer days and other PJ sanctioned adventures. Being in the office really gave me opportunities to see so much more than the average short termer usually gets. I got to co pilot a plane multiple times to the northern Kenyan desert. I got to visit the Great Rift Valley several times as well as the coast. I got to traipse all around this country and meet so many people and have so many experiences.
6) Definitely the last 2 weeks are memorable with our AIM Spiritual Life Conference and our own Short Term Retreat happening. A great time to gather people and just enjoy each others company with both serious conversation and silly laughter the order of the day. Just a fantastic end to the year gathering with so many of the people I’d come to know as family. It gave me a chance to say goodbye to a lot of folks I otherwise wouldn’t have been able to see before I left.
7) Jumping in a waterfall in Tanzania. This is one of those favourite specific memories. When my friend Kristalee came and I gave her a whirlwind tour of East Africa I opted to jump into a freezing waterfall in the foothills of Mt. Kilimanjaro, Africa’s tallest peak. Froze to death but it was fun and it’s a good story.
8) One liners with Hannah. Every now and then one of us would give a one liner that would reduce us to laughing fits. I.E. Once, we had the opportunity to relax at a pool of a fancy hotel, but Sunday was our only option so we decided to skip church. When we started to walk, the clouds came and Hannah looked up and said, “Is this God punishing us for skipping church?” Or the time after a game drive with gals pictured left when we were discussing our favourite animals and she said, “I really love the ostrich.” Seeing our blank expressions shes continued, “What? No one else? Just me. Okay.” Or the time we laughed ourselves to sleep at a story about PJ falling asleep during prayer. There is no one I’d rather have lived with for 6 months!
9) Animals. I was so lucky to go on several game drives while here. Lions, giraffes, rhinos, cheetahs, elephants, zebras, hyenas, wildebeest, 15 different kinds of antelope-y gazelles that I’ll never remember their names, hippos, crocs and like 50,000,000 kinds of birds. Really a safari should be on everyone’s bucket list. Seeing ostriches and lions mating, wildebeest river crossings among other natural phenomenons has definitely been one of the best layers of icing on the cake. I’m not a huge pet person, I enjoy animals as they say, “as God intended it.” The only thing I wish I’d seen was the mauling of an animal by a big ferocious predator. Oh well, you can’t win them all!
10) Laughing with everyone I’ve met along the way. I’ve met some hilarious people and shared some real laughs. Between all the short termer adventures or funny things kids say I really have laughed a lot. Even our office (not like an office can’t be fun) has provided a lot of real knee slappers. I like to think I’ve become like everyone’s little sister and/or the office trouble maker and so the subsequent teasing of either my Chinese-ness (or lack thereof) and my Canadian-ness have been a hoot. PJ’s dad jokes deserve their own special mention.
11) Okay… I couldn’t pick just 10. Sports Day at the school was another great day that stands out in my memory. The competitiveness, the cheering, the dancing, the bored girls and everything in between was just a blast.
What a fantastic year I’ve had!