Who else can’t believe it is 2014? I used to think my mom was crazy because she would forget her age. Now it seems like I can’t keep my age or the year straight…they just keep changing too often. But they do say—time flies when you are having fun!
Speaking of my mom and New Years, I was so blessed to make a trip back to the U.S. to visit family, friends, and cold weather for the holidays. As I was packing up to leave after 3 weeks in Tulsa, my mom suggested I should write a blog about what it is like to live in Tanzania and return to the US for only a few weeks. My sister says I did much better handling my culture shock this time (probably because I didn’t stand in the produce section of the grocery store and marvel at how big the fruit section is— it has happened before). If I had to sum up my trip in only a few words, it would probably be: Starbucks, Starbucks, Starbucks, Family at Starbucks, Starbucks, and…Starbucks. Okay, not really, but I definitely miss the ease of access to coffee!
Speaking of coffee… even addressing sponsor letters is quite a bit more enjoyable when you are also enjoying a cup of coffee with your sister!
And here I am visiting some dear college friends with my sister in Houston:
Here I am enjoying another one of the glories of America—Frozen Yogurt:
When I mention a trip to the US, people envision family time, friends, and hamburgers. Something people may not think about is the shopping list that must be made. It is a multi-day event. Not only am I shopping for myself, I am shopping for other people as well—other Americans who miss the stuff of their homeland, and Tanzanians who need a technology fix. In my past two trips home, I have brought: Funfetti frosting, tennis racquets, sweet-pea body mist (for a man), laptops, pizza stones, a children’s guitar, shoes, books, Altoids, Ipods, Tupperware, and about a million other items that people have requested. Unfortunately, this leads to becoming… “THAT person”—THAT person with too much luggage.
Unfortunately this picture doesn’t come close to capturing the essence of the packing disaster, but you get the idea!
I flew into Houston so my sister could pick me up after her last Final Exam at Texas A&M. We got to spend some awesome quality time together on the 9 hour drive to Tulsa. I also flew out of Houston, meaning we had to fit all my luggage PLUS all of Katy’s college stuff in the back of her 2-door, soft top Jeep Wrangler. It took 3 people 45 minutes to complete this task. After this feat was complete, we took off to visit my dear Alma Mater (and Katy’s current school), Texas A&M. I don’t know if you have ever met a Texas Aggie before, but we are a loyal group of people (and have been known to sing the Fight Song whenever we pull into town). I never thought I would be that alumnus that looked around campus and wondered where all the new buildings have come from…but…turns out that I am.
There are few places on Earth that I love more than my Texas A&M home:
In addition to the shopping, family time, and friends, I get all caught up on my news—celebrity and otherwise. Amongst the things that I learned this trip were:
1. Dick Clark passed away?! (Apparently that happened in 2012…so I’m more than a little behind)
2. What the members of One Direction look like
3. The end of last year’s Downton Abbey (still mad about that one)
Armed with this new knowledge and over-packed luggage, I began my return to Tanzania. This is always a bitter-sweet time, leaving behind friends and family once again to return to my home in Arusha. As my mom says, “I used to say my daughter is in Tanzania, now I say she LIVES in Tanzania.”
Here we are on the way to visit Dallas, Texas A&M, and fly out of Houston, saying goodbye to the U.S. of A.
So, I’m back again, charged with M&M’s, new clothes, and energy to begin the new year! And we certainly hit the ground running over here! I seriously doubt we will be resting again until December.