Monday, April 28, 2008

Mom's Visit

My mom visited me in Oregon this week ~ a mother-daughter excursion before we do it again in Kenya. It was a great week with lots of talking, resting, and playing. Here are a few of our adventures...

We visited Pittock Mansion in Portland, which is something my mom has wanted to do since I went to college in Oregon in 1996. (I'm getting old - that was over a decade ago!)

We walked through the Japanese gardens.

God blessed us with a gorgeous day at the Oregon coast where Mom got to explore the tide pools.
Our Sunday afternoon was spent on a family history tour. I took Mom to visit my great, great grandpa's house, which she last visited at the age of 15.
On our tour we went to the graves of my ancestors. Here is the grave of my great, great, great grandmother, Emily McPherson, who came to Oregon on the transcontinental railroad with her young children after her husband died in Oklahoma.
My mom even went on a field trip with my class and me for our study of pioneers in Oregon. Here you can see we dressed for the occasion.
I don't think it mattered what we did, I was very blessed with my mom's visit and getting some alone time with her. It was fun to show her my world, even though it's changing in two and a half months. I look forward to doing it again in Kenya! Thanks for coming Mom. I love you!

Monday, April 21, 2008

I'm nervous about...

Things I am nervous, anxious, unsure, or not looking forward to when I move to Kenya are...
1. Not being known by anyone.
2. Trying to build community with people I don't know and finding friends I really connect with.
3. Becoming like a child - not knowing how to do routine tasks in a new culture.
4. Losing my independence and freedom.
5. Making cultural blunders.

These are all things that will eventually pass and no longer be things to fret over, but when I first arrive, they will be difficulties. This is the part of transition I don't look forward to; however, I know it will stretch me and grow me spiritually. In that sense, these are things to anticipate rather than dread.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."
~ James 1: 2-4

"That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."
~ 2 Corinthians 12:10

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

This is packing?

I have recently been going through my belongings... packing, sorting, and preparing to sell. It is fun to see what old memories lie in the boxes stored in the garage. Here are some pictures of my busy, tedious, and productive packing process.

First, I found Indian clothes I got on travels during college and had to try them on. For those of you who have seen or worn a sari, believe it or not I remembered how to put it on (sort of).
Second, I found some Chinese clothes I acquired while living in China and had to try on this dress my tailor made me (with shoulder pads!).
As you can see, my packing process has been very constructive. It makes me wonder what kinds of African clothes I'll add to my collection. Maybe jewelry?
Or a fun dress?
I am looking forward to shopping in Nairobi markets and wearing bright, beautiful colors and patterns (with an American "Kim" twist of course). Variety in clothing is one thing I love about other cultures and countries - new worlds of fashion to explore!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Vaccinated & Visa

I am now vaccinated against yellow fever, meningitis, and typhoid. I also got my Kenya visa this week. Two things are checked off my list, and my departure date is fast approaching. Moving to Nairobi is becoming more of a reality each day. I'm excited!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


I've read I'm experience the "leaving" stage of transition. This involves excitement, anticipation, and celebration, closure and farewells, dealing with grief, rejection, resentment, and sadness. There are a lot more negative words in that list than positive ones. Sounds fun. Transitioning is exciting, but hard. Although Kenya enters my mind all the time throughout my day, I find myself trying to stay in the now - teach well, maintain friendships, don't pack too soon. Don't check out early! At the same time, I have to make preparations. Things need to be packed and sold. I need to bring closure and begin saying good-bye to my favorite places, activities, smells, and sights. And then there are the people - family, friends, co-workers, and students who have been such a big part of my life, day in and day out. I won't have the same interactions with them as I used to. To be realistic, those relationships will change when I move, even relationships with family. My sister is having a baby in November! I'm going to miss that. I can't fly to Wisconsin as easily from Nairobi as I could have from Oregon. There is a loss and grieving to that. My list of worries, concerns, and loss is growing.

At the same time, there are things to look forward to. As I make my list of concerns, I am also making a list of things I'm excited about. Today I'm choosing to focus on these:
1. Spiritual growth
2. Exposure to a wide variety of experiences, which will stretch me
3. New adventures and travel opportunities
4. Teaching and learning from kids who come from all over the world
5. Beautiful tropical weather
6. Seeing diverse ministries and outreaches in operation
7. Experiencing different cultures
8. Hiking Mt. Kenya and Mt. Kilimanjaro (I hope!)

It will definitely be an adventure - good and bad.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Moving to Africa

I'm moving to Africa in three and a half months. My to-do list is slowly diminishing as I send in visa papers, shop for summer wear, and make medical appointments. I get excited and anxious as I listen to Swahili on CD and practice my African geography on a map I downloaded from the web. My type A tendencies are in full swing.

No matter how much I read, study, and visit with other Kenya travelers, I will not be completely prepared for this change in my life. How can I? I've never been to Kenya. I've never been to Africa! Although I've lived overseas before, this will be a totally new experience - different culture, bigger school, eight years older. One thing I can prepare myself for, however, is no expectations. Having lived overseas before, I know that low expectations are key. It's hard not to have expectations of this new place I'll call home, but I know expectations in a foreign country generally are never met. So, I try not to daydream too much, keep plugging away at the myriad tasks I need to accomplish, and count down the days with anticipation. Moving day will be here before I know it.

I am looking forward to seeing scenes like this Kenya safari photo. Yes, I will be living a national geographic life soon enough. In the meantime, I'm enjoying where God has me right now, finishing strong at a job that has blessed me and spending time with friends that cannot be replaced.