Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Kim's U.S. Summer Tour

It's official! I'm coming to the U.S. on June 4! I purchased a ticket today, have been planning with family and friends, and now have a tentative summer tour schedule...

June 4 - Arrive in Portland, Oregon at 9:30 pm

June 12ish - Fly to Alaska for three weeks

July 2 or 3 - Fly back to Oregon and drive to Idaho, spend a week or two in Idaho

July 14ish - Fly back to Oregon for my final days (annual fish fry included)

July 31 - Depart for Nairobi

In four months and eight days I will be hugging family and friends, sitting on a carpeted floor, and eating bagels and cream cheese. I can't wait to see you all! Mark it on your calendars - I'll be in your neck of the woods soon!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

I DO work.

I've been asked by previous co-workers and friends if I ever WORK in Kenya. Although it may not seem like it from my blog postings of hiking trips, rafting trips, and trips to the pool, I do go to work most days of the week. Currently, I spend my week days with 24 kids from ten different countries: Kenya, America, Canada, Norway, Korea, Ethiopia, Israel, Japan, Nigeria, and China. We're over half way through our school year, which is unbelievable, and each day I build stronger relationships with my students. I'm proud of them when they persevere and succeed. I cry at home when I don't know what else to do for a child, then I pray. And I laugh at some of the work they turn into me. One such writing assignment, which caused me to chuckle, was a composition on being an expert. This child chose to write about her expertise in shopping...

Fun with Shopping
Are you in need of something other than dingy shirts, or are you a stylish wonder? I am a wonderful expert at clothes. If you are smart, you should accompany me into the world of style! First, you have to wear a stylish outfit. Make sure you also wear comfortable shoes because you may shop for hours. You should make sure to bring a list of everything you want or need because you will see a lot of cute things. One thing you have to bear is a lot of money to shop. You might also need to bring a medium sized bag to hold some things you buy. A great thing to do is to bring a few fashion magazines, so that you can know what's stylish these days. One thing that could make your life simpler, is to bring someone to grasp all of your bags. Finally, a great tip is to not buy everything you see, like a million pairs of clothes. If you have followed my tips, you should be a stylish wonder. Remember, shopping is a way to a great, stylish life.

Is this child a girl after my own heart or what?! Now you see a little bit of what I get to enjoy each work day.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

No Holiday :(

Well, inauguration day has come and gone. Kenya didn't have another holiday to celebrate Obama's rise as the most powerful man in the free world. However, you can still buy a conga (sarong type wrap) in the Kenyan market with Obama's face printed on it. When you wear the conga, Obama's smiling face lies in a very strategic spot on your body. Maybe I'll bring one home for my Oregonian friends. Pete and Lins, if I bring you one, will you get a sense of patriotism and hang it from a flagpole outside your house? On a more serious note, whether you are an Obama supporter or not, there is no denying that the next four years will be interesting and exciting.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Another Kenyan Obama Day?

Will Kenya have another national holiday honoring the inauguration of American President Obama? So far there has been no word in favor of another Obama Day, but we are a day ahead of the U.S. here in Africa, so we're still hoping for a day off work. We don't get Martin Luther King Day off, so aren't we due a U.S. inspired holiday sometime in 2009?! I think we may have to wait for the next African American president to be elected whose father is from Kenya. I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Christa & Stanley's Wedding

On December 20 my roommate, Christa, got married to a wonderful Kenyan man. Their wedding was an interesting combination of Canadian and Kenyan culture. The ceremony was very similar to ceremonies we're familiar with in North America: walking down the aisle, vows, rings, unity candle, mini-sermon, and the kiss. Differences included applauding after every person spoke, the groomsmen dancing down the aisle (very funny and sweet), and the bride and groom not holding hands during the ceremony (public displays of affection are uncommon between couples in Kenya). Probably the biggest difference was that the wedding began an hour and a half late - common in Kenya, but something Christa was NOT happy about. Her new sisters-in-law kept reminding her it was a Kenyan wedding, and she kept saying, "No, it's a Canadian wedding with Kenyans at it!" She was like many brides - a little anxious. :)

The reception followed with a Kenyan buffet (lots of starchy foods and fruit) and dancing. The bride and groom entered the reception with all the ladies singing and ushering them in.
From there, we all joined in the dancing. Although we didn't dance to YMCA or the Macarena, we definitely had a good time in a conga-style line. As is usual at receptions, there were many speeches. We cried and laughed as the parents of the bride and groom spoke, then we enjoyed some entertainment (mostly singing from famous singers Stanley knows). After cutting the cake, toasting, and receiving gifts, the reception ended, but it wasn't the end of the wedding festivities...

After the Kenyan ceremony and reception, Wendy and I were invited to attend a smaller reception for close family and friends - Canadian style. We ate a big dinner at the nicest hotel in Nairobi, heard and gave more speeches (yes, I gave a speech too), and danced a bit more (no conga-style this time). Overall, it was a beautiful day. Christa looked gorgeous. Stanley looked handsome. And everyone had a good time.

Although I miss having Christa around, I'm glad she's with Stanley. It will be neat to see how God uses them in the future.

(And yes girls, I did Christa's hair. It's tradition - even in Kenya! :)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Christmas in South Africa

My Christmas in South Africa was wonderful! My dear friends Marc and Rebecca live there with their new little baby, Abigail, and Molly, my roommate for many years in Oregon, is volunteering at a medical clinic there this year. Since everyone was in Africa at the same time, we decided a holiday together was in order.

They showed me a wonderful time, introduced me to new friends, and created fun memories. Some of these moments were...

Christmas with Marc's welcoming family.
The Le Roux family fed us a wonderful meal and provided many laughs. It felt like being home with family, and we were very blessed by their hospitality!

We watched Abigail open Christmas presents, slobber, laugh, cry...
Pretty much everything she did was cute!

Since it is summer in the Southern hemisphere, we enjoyed swimming during the day and watching the sunset at night.
We also went on holiday to the beach, shopped, saw lions, and more. Read the next few blog posts to learn more about my vacation in South Africa.

Dirty Dancing Resort

Marc, Rebecca, Abigail, Molly, Gwen (a new South African friend), and I spent a week at a beach resort. In so many ways it reminded us of the family resort on the movie Dirty Dancing. There were a variety of activities led by Uncle Neville, the activities director, whom we met at a pool-side get-together. At one point they even played the Dirty Dancing sound track while we laid by the pool. The only things missing were Patrick Swayze and dirty dancing moves. However, we enjoyed many of the resort activities, including...

Riding from place to place by golf cart.
Reading (I finished 5 books in three weeks).New Years Celebration.
Mini Golf.
Exploring caves on the beach.
Fighting off the wildlife.
And of course, SLEEPING!


The Eastern Cape of South Africa looks like the Oregon coast in some places and very different in other places. It was beautiful and warm, windy at times, but the Indian Ocean was too chilly to swim in (a little warmer than Oregon, but not much).

At the beach we enjoyed many activities...

Beach sculpting...

Hiking against the wind...

And Kung Fu fighting...

Lion Park

Although I still have not seen any of the cats of Africa on safari YET, we did go to a lion park where I saw all the big cats. Cheetahs, leopards, and lots of lions were there for our viewing enjoyment. We saw daddy lions, mama lions, and cute little baby lions. The first lion pictured here came walking right up to the car window like it was going to jump us. Molly, being the closest one to that window, ducked and closed her eyes, but the rest of us enjoyed the close encounter.

We got to go into the baby lion pen to play. Most of them were playful, biting our pants and clawing at our feet. Some of them were more docile and lazy in the afternoon heat.
Even baby Abigail got to play with the lions.
Aren't they so cute!

Spa Day!

I must admit that my best day in South Africa was spa day! For my birthday and Christmas gift Molly gave me a day at the spa (of course she joined in the fun as well, along with two other friends). Being that we could never in our lives afford to do this in the States, or any other country for that matter, we indulged in the "African spa of the year" (Don't ask me how to spell the name of the place). It was a day of every girl's dreams...

Treatment 1 - full body scrub
Treatment 2 - jacuzzi
Treatment 3 - hand massage
Treatment 4 - full body hot stone massage
Treatment 5 - foot massage
Treatment 6 - head and neck massage
Treatment 7 - facial

Each treatment was 45 minutes long! That's a lot of hours of oil and rubbing! We also enjoyed a gourmet breakfast and lunch, astounding desserts, amazing cheese and cracker spread for snack, open bar, and amaretto and chocolate to conclude the day. The whole day we all just kept saying to ourselves... THIS IS UNBELIEVABLE!Molly, thanks for the gift. It is definitely one of the best presents I've received!