Friday, May 29, 2009

Keith and Laura Made It!

Keith and Laura, friends from Oregon, made it to Kenya this week! Although it's a bit of a crazy time for me - ending the school year, packing my house up to move this summer, and a trip back to the States for two months - we've found some time to play and have fun... Since they flew for 36 hours to get here, I didn't start them out with a hike the first day, like I did John and Erin. Instead, they got to sleep all day and then enjoy some Indian fast food at our favorite place, Diamond Plaza. The second day we enjoyed an "authentic" Kenyan day of dinner at a French cafe and seeing "Star Trek" at the cinema. Friday was Masai Market Day, so we shopped till we dropped, meeting all my Masai Market boyfriends who gave us good deals and a few free trinkets, as I said my good-byes for the next two months. Keith and Laura even dabbled a little in the bargaining game and got themselves a good deal after a few haggling lessons. They did great! After a long afternoon of shopping, we decided for dinner at home, followed by some Kim-made Kenyan chai. It is nice to have more friends from home who now know both my worlds. As old friends meet new friends, I'm blessed more and more.


The end has come. The year is done. The walls are bare. The shelves are empty. The kids are gone. And my years as a "young" teacher are over...

I just finished my ninth year of teaching. Next year I move to the double digits! How did I get here this fast? How can I be old enough to have taught for almost 10 years? Year nine was a good year. I taught in Kenya with 11 nations represented in my classroom, nine languages spoken, and plenty of fifth grade pre-adolescent attitudes. Despite some challenges with teaching in a foreign country and adjusting some pre-teen attitudes, it was a successful first year in Kenya. Like every teacher, I look forward to next year, when I'll do it better with a little more experience under my belt. Overall, I'd say year nine was challenging, full of adventure, a learning experience, and keeps me wanting to teach some more.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

My Kenyan Girls!

"Two pieces of brown bread with chicken in between." That's how my dear friend, Nancy, described us as we took this picture Friday night. I had the girls over from my small Bible study class for a weekend retreat and slumber party. We started the evening talking, talking, talking. At about 8pm we started making dinner in Kenyan fashion - late. I wanted the girls to experience a typical American meal, so I made Mexican food. The ladies loved it.

Susan had tacos for the first time.

Nancy loaded her taco up - a little bigger than bite-size.

We continued through the night with more talking, praying, and dessert - peanut butter cookies and ice cream. At midnight we decided we were all tired and headed off to bed. In the morning we prepared for a busy day together... I made french toast and sausages for breakfast, then we went to a Women's Ministry Launch Event at church. It started at 9 am, and we arrived at 10:20. (I'm turning into a true Kenyan!) The Women's Launch was quite a show (the part we were there for anyway). Lots of worship and speakers, as usual, but some things stood out that you would not see at a women's church event in the States:
* the leadership team of six all wore matching African dresses
* the leadership and worship teams sang a practiced theme song
* the main speaker started speaking at 11:20 (remember, the event started at 9)
* and the biggest thing that stood out... Fireworks! As the pastor cut a ribbon to launch the new women's ministry, huge sparklers and confetti went off on the stage inside the church tent! I'm talking lots of sparklers shooting up toward the fabric hanging from the canvas roof. It was a huge show, like a concert!

After some mingling and tea, the girls and I went to The Nest, a babies' home near the church. We helped feed the babies during lunch, then continued on our busy day: lunch at my house, more talking, and some Bible study stuff. We finally said good-bye at about 5 pm. It was a fun-filled and exhausting weekend, but as you can see, I had a great time with my Kenyan girls!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Rainy Days

The long rains have come to Kenya, most of Kenya anyway. I know we are in desperate need of the rain, and I'm glad the rains are here for that reason, but I must admit that "Winter Kim" shows her face in this kind of weather. For those of you who have lived in Oregon with me, you know that Winter Kim is busy, tired, sometimes grouchy, and wishing for summer. Well, she's popping out here. I know I can't complain... I've spent these last winter months in sunshine, blooming flowers, and 80 degrees, so no one feels very sorry for me. However, I think being spoiled by all that gorgeous weather has turned this Alaska girl into a wimp! I'm wearing sweaters and closed toed shoes, and it's still in the 60's and 70's! What has happened to me? I'm going to freeze this summer in Alaska!

On the positive side of things, there are only three more weeks of school left and summer weather is in my future for June and July. I'm getting excited about going back to the States and seeing all my dear family and friends, but also having mixed feelings about it (for various reasons). I'm so busy right now with ending the school year well and spending time with friends here that I haven't really had time to think about transitioning back to life in the States. Even if it is just a holiday (or "vacation" in American lingo), I haven't been to the States in almost eleven months. It will be strange.

My American family and friends, no worries... "Summer Kim" will arrive on June 4. My dear Kenyan family and friends, I'm planning on "Summer Kim" arriving on May 22, as I push for all my work to be done, so I'll be ready to play! In the meantime, sorry if I seem melancholy. I'm missing my sunshine!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Lake Nakuru

This weekend was spent on safari with friends at Lake Nakuru. I'm sure you're all tired of seeing safari pictures and hearing my boring facts about Africa's amazing animals, but it's what I've been up to, so here are a few more pictures with facts and opinions attached.

Lake Nakuru National Park has two things that are not common at other national game reserves: rhinos and flamingos. Although rhinos are one of the "Big Five" of Africa, they were not as exciting for me as the flamingos. The lake was filled with the buzzing sound of these birds as they plucked food from the lake and took to flight in groups. When you see pictures of Africa's flamingos, Lake Nakuru is what you are viewing. It was another national geographic moment for me, and once again I was in awe at the beautiful country God allows me to live.

Some other fun creatures I had seen before, but haven't posted about included the warthog (aka Pumba for the Lion King fans). They are ugly creatures, but run with their tails in the air, just like the movie...And a dik-dik, the smallest antelope in Africa. You always see dik-diks in pairs, so this guy's wife is just outside the picture. So cute!Safari never gets old or boring for me. I love being out in God's creation and seeing all the unique things he invented. There is always something new to discover on safari in Kenya. I know I've written this before, but whenever you're ready to go, send me an email!