the quest on which I'm setting out

A blog in lieu of starting to study:

Some days ago, I bought some Kroger brand coffee. Before those of you who know me condemn me as a hypocrite and a heretic, let me share with you the reasons why. The train of thought was something like this:

My Ugandan coffee won't last forever. Perhaps I should get someone to bring me more. But I don't know if that will work consistently! People come and go so sporadically. Maybe I should just use it more slowly.

WAIT! Haunt me no more, evil thoughts! Making less coffee is an unacceptable option!

...Though sometimes, when I make coffee, it's just to keep me awake during delirious hours when I'm not appreciating it fully anyway...so...what if I got some cheap, substandard coffee for those times, and kept the good stuff for the times when I can truly savor the full, rich goodness? That could work. The Ugandan coffee would last longer and the substandard stuff would give me a true appreciation for the marvelous goodness of true coffee.

I guess that ended up looking like kind of a derailed train, but that's how it went. I liked my idea, so I got cheap coffee at Kroger the next time I could bring myself to step into a grocery store. I'm too cheap to buy the good stuff here in America.

Well. It's....half bad. I mean, it's coffee. That's the good part. The bad part is that it's just not really coffee. Those of you who are true connoisseurs know what I mean.

I don't think I'm going to be getting Kroger brand again. I'm not going to give up, though. Because the thing is, the idea is still good. The Kroger brand stuff isn't bad enough for me to not finish the tin. I'll keep using it til it's gone. Wal-Mart brand might be better. If not, then something else. I'm going to go through all the cheap coffee brands available in Searcy and find the best. It'll be tough, but I think it's a quest both for the betterment of humanity and for my personal wakefulness. I'll sacrifice, and in a few months, the readers of this blog will know what the best cheap coffee in Searcy is.

Be blessed, friends.


the new place I call home

These are the things I appreciate about Searcy and America. To appease my dear friend U.L. Grey, we'll start the list with:

-High speed, usually functional internet.
-People - family, friends, my wonderful boyfriend. (Though it should be noted that I detest the term boyfriend. Too many ridiculous connotations.)
-Electricity - all the time!
-Hot water for showers.
-Changing seasons.
-Professors who love what they're teaching.
-Coffee shops.
-Traffic laws that people actually follow. Except that it makes driving boring.
-Easy availability of...everything.
-Churches that really try to help the communities.
-Fruit like peaches and strawberries that couldn't be found cheaply in Uganda.
-Organizations that really care about getting resources to people who need them in an effective way.
-Mexican food.

I realized a couple of hours ago that I've now been in America for 6 months straight. That's the greatest amount of time I've spent here since I was 4.

You know, I think I'm getting used to it. People told me that I would be shocked and upset when I realized that this isn't just another furlough, but I don't really think it's going to pan out that way. I came into this with a very un-furlough mindset. I knew this was going to have to become my home.

And in some very real ways, Searcy has become home more surely than anywhere else in America. Harding has become home. Not home in the same way that Uganda was home, but Uganda isn't even home in the way it used to be home.

I am American.


Ten months. Wow. I've been here for a long time, rafiki zangu. I'm getting used to a lot of things. I always drive on the right-right side of the road now (as opposed to driving on the right-wrong, left-wrong, or left-right sides)!

The beginnings of spring have been absolutely incredible! I've been awestruck as seemingly dead twigs grew bulbous on the ends, then changed color and texture, and finally burst out into the most beautiful flowers. I love sitting on yellow grass and seeing brand new green shoots coming up through it. New life is just so ridiculously awesome. God gave us a world that's just bursting with complexity, beauty and unique truth when he could have been bland and utilitarian.

Long conversations with good friends are still among my favorite things, and I've been reading a lot of good books that are stretching my mind. I'm in the middle of nailing down my class schedule for the next 3 years (a frightening endeavor for me, since I like keeping my option open). Theoretically, by the end of the semester, I will officially be an International Development major with a Missions minor. I can hardly believe that this is working out so perfectly.

I get frustrated when people say "Africa" like the whole continent is some fairly homogeneous mixture of poverty and instability, but it doesn't hit me like it used to. I can look at pictures for extended periods of time without missing it so much I could cry. I'm going back to Uganda in May, which will be so good. It's only for three weeks, but I'll be able to visit friends and hopefully do some shadowing at various development organizations and whatnot. I'm rather (extremely) excited.

Well, I realize that this is pretty haphazard as far as updates go. Sorry please. There is no what to do, I guess. Be blessed, mes amis. :)


the other things we leave behind

Some parts of Uganda that I kind of miss now, even though they made me crazy when I was there:

-Kids shouting "Mzungu!"
-Floaties in every hot drink.
-MTN's dysfunctionality.
-Discombobulated tennis courts.
-Hall boggers.
-Cold showers when the power's off.
-The often gross Mbale Resort Hotel pool.
-People asking for bribes.
-Talking my way out of paying bribes.
-Feeling awkward being in town wearing trousers rather than a skirt.
-Always saying "trousers" and "serviettes."
-Matatus, bodas and pikis.
-Border crossings.

Coming up next: things I appreciate about Searcy, Arkansas. :)

the things we leave behind

Some parts of Uganda that I miss:

-People. All the dear friends I left behind.
-Being able to walk everywhere easily.
-Pots of strong, loose leaf tea in ceramic teapots with knitted tea cozies.
-The mountain.
-Fresh food, milk, cheese.
-Fun roads.
-Lively singing at church.
-Wednesday night devos.
-Real chai.
-Glorious days.
-Sunrises over the mountain.
-Lazy Mondays.
-The market.
-Bartering in the market.
-The New Vision and its typos.
-Time to sit and read books.
-Knowing that being a good friend is more important than being on time.
-Pancake nights.
-Community Bible study.
-Open diversity of perspective.
-Constantly being around people who weren't my age.
-The music on pancake nights.
-Eldima and Taufiq.

That's all for now - I'm making myself homesick. Coming soon: the parts of Uganda I miss that I didn't appreciate when I was there.



Lately I've been surrounded by fall colors. I step on crunchy leaves when I walk, and the cool air slaps my cheeks when I step outside. I didn't know how I'd feel about fall before it came upon me. I didn't think I'd like the coldness, but I didn't even have a frame of reference for the rest of it. In Uganda, November meant the onset of hotter weather and not much else.

Now I know how I feel about fall.

First, I should say that I don't like the word "fall." I much prefer "autumn."

And I like autumn. I've decided. I love the colors and the coolness and the leaves underfoot. I love the contrast, the perfect deep blue sky framed by a thousand orange and yellow and brown leaves.

Time passes, and the world keeps spinning around on its axis and hurtling through space in a gigantic ellipse around a ball of immensely hot gas that we call the sun. God ordains the passage of seasons, and they are good in his eyes.

I think that accepting that is the important thing. Beauty can be found in any season change.

Even when the change signifies the death of life and the onset of winter.

Even when the change means the end of a beautiful part of life.

Even when what's coming seems dismal compared to what passed.

Even when anything.

God brings beauty when we find his peace in our chaos.