A Culture Shock

I know, I know... What happened to my blog, right? It'll take time but I'll explain. To the people who follow my blog and ACTUALLY read this, thank you!!! It's incredibly encouraging to know that my friends and family care enough to stay posted.

Let's start the week before I left for Africa.

Tuesday morning my mom drove me into work. We stopped at McDonald's first so I could have my incredibly coveted SAUSAGE BISCUIT!!! Nom nom nom. You have to understand, my mom finds the smell of that immensely delectable biscuit absolutely revolting. For her it was an act of true love. So, I ate it fast with the window rolled down while she made dramatic gagging noises. The love of a mother :P. When we rolled up to the YDI doors she insisted on walking me inside to put my lunch away. I saw her begin to tear up as I walked her back to the car. This was bigger than, "my baby is going to Africa without me!" This was a serious reflection on everything we'd been through this past year, the past five years, even my life! My mom is more than my mom. She's the best friend I'll ever have. The only person I trust with my life. She's sacrificed everything for me, even given up her dreams to give me everything. I'll never know anyone like her ever again. After many tears and, "one last hug" about five times, she drove away. That weekend Jazz was graduating and we both agreed that was something she couldn't miss. I wouldn't be able to go and make it home on time so I'd pack and prepare for Africa on my own. No biggy, right?

I had NO IDEA.

After packing and unpacking and packing and unpacking...etcetera...I completed my rough draft packing job. A few days before we left I had a few well-organized people double check my luggage before I was satisfied. Pretty much every time I've traveled ANYWHERE my mom has always been there to "just make sure" I'm ready. I'd always found that to be IMMENSELY annoying but when it came time I really wished she was there to be so inconvenient! I know she's going to read this and say "I TOLD YOU SO". Yeah, she did.

Before I knew it, Tuesday night was present-tense and I was terrified. I didn't feel prepared AT ALL. My list was complete, my bags packed, money and important papers all where they were supposed to be. But I didn't feel prepared at all! I thought that maybe going to bed early would get rid of the pre-travel jitters but to no avail. Alas, I didn't get to sleep until five AM! That NEVER happens to me. Ever. I love to sleep.

Wednesday morning I was running back and forth across the village saying goodbye to so-and-so and grabbing last minute stuff. The hardest goodbye was probably Janelle's. She had stayed up WAY past bedtime listening to me ramble on and on nervously. Janelle is the closest thing I've ever had to a little sister. I hadn't seen our similarities until recently but she had always referred to me as her 'big sister'. I think that (given all the things her family has been through recently) even though I'm so far away we're closer than ever. I finally squished into the back of Marlene's truck and set off on my way to the Nashville airport.

Like the predictably careful mother she is, my mom called every half hour for updates. I finally called her for the last time in Chicago. We had six hours to wait until our plane would take us to Turkey. A ten and a half hour flight later we were in Turkey! I'm sure most of you have seen my vlogs and if not...SHAME ON YOU. So, I'm just gonna fast-forward to getting to the house.

I'm not really one to get carsick, in fact I NEVER get carsick but the driving experience from Nairobi to Nakuru (which is roughly the distance from Selmer to Nashville) definitely made me carsick. I'd never been on roads so bumpy in my life, and I hope never to again. Potholes are common, frequent, and most of them are at least a couple feet deep. Bleh.

The first few days were pretty busy with shopping for everything we needed and over the following week I learned some things that might help the next person traveling to a foreign country.

1) If the plug doesn't look like it's gonna fit, don't try it anyway.

2) When in the shower, never use your WET hand to switch the hot water flip.

3) NEVER go in the living room at night IF the lights have been turned off.


A. Don't leave your shoes in the living room for Ms. Yash to use for her exterminating excursions.

B. If the former is inevitable, DO NOT inspect the bottom of your shoe the following day.

5) Don't fall asleep in a van with a metal pole in front of you. CLANG!

6) Don't feed the monkeys.

7) Never sit under a tree full of monkeys.

I'll explain rule number two. The shower here works like a normal shower, only that there's only cold water and in order to get any hot water you have to flip a switch and leave it for thirty seconds before it serves scalding hot water. My first shower resulted in a swift shock and scream.

That's pretty much all I have time for now! I'll blog some more later but right now I got to go pack...to leave! I know, I'm an awful blogger :P

I love you all and miss you SO much! I'll be home the 21st, so text or call me when I get back!

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Paul "Shammah" Pavao said...

Can't wait to see you! The nurse really wants you showered and rested from Africa before you come into our germ-free ward, though. Your mom says she'll bring you by. I hope that's possible!

Anonymous said...

Looking very forward to seeing you as well. It'll be great to hear the expounded stories of how you learned all of the rest of those lessons, especially ones involving monkeys.

Anonymous said...

I think it is time for another blog... ;)

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