Sunday, October 31, 2010

Let's begin at the beginning...

I don't know how I want to talk about my trip, so I guess I'll just go day by day and start at the beginning.

In that case, today we'll talk about LONDONNN.

We were told in August that we would be stopping in London on our way to Africa and going to Kenya on the way home. This is pretty exciting until you just really, really, really want to get to where you're going without spending a million hours in other countries along the way. However, it was nice to break up the long plane rides with the ability to get some fresh air and exorcise.

So we stopped in London. I was getting so, so sick on the plane I was about passing out from severe stomach pain. We landed in London and I was so nauseous that I couldn't carry my backpack. I couldn't talk and I couldn't think straight. And we had to wait in line for like 30 minutes to get through customs and it was all I could do to keep the nasty air plane food down. I was also over heating and I even though I had goosebumps I felt like I was 150 degrees.

The first thing we did was hop on the Picadilly line subway.
I saved everythinggg and I'm going to make a bomb scrap book.....someday. haha

Anyway. It was pretty cold on the subway but I was still overheating. I was getting car sick and I felt like I was still on the airplane. I would randomly lose my balance and start to fall over. I was miserable because I needed some serious liquids, I was hungry, I was hot, I was dirty, and I was tired. Which is just a great combination for anyone who has to spend more than 30 seconds around me.

The subway took about 30 minutes to get us to Piccadilly Circus because it would stop every minute or so at a station. At one point this guy sat next to me and had his music up so loud our entire group could hear it. He made me really nervous because he was having some sketchy 5 second phone calls with people about where they were. Another guy got on the train and his forehead was covered in white paper. It looked like he had shaved his forehead and cut himself a hundred times and put little pieces of toilet paper all over to stop the bleeding. Someone said that it was rice and he just came from a wedding, but no one really knew for sure what was going on. It was just bizarre.

Our first stop in London was to this closet sized Lebanese restaurant for fish and chips. It was like 7 Euros for a single strip of fish and like 50 fries and a soda. That's like 14 USD. Which is completely overpriced. It wasn't really even that good, but whatever.

After lunch, which we all scarfed down because we were malnourished and dehydrated, we began our long trek around London. We walked through Piccadilly Circus which has some of the most amazing architecture I've ever seen. The buildings all pretty much look the same but they're so beautiful.

We walked from Piccadilly Circus through some very famous buildings and around some statues and through a gate-ish thing to Big Ben and Westminster Abbey. We were on a mission so we could hear Ben chime on the hour, but we missed his first chime so we had to wait. Luckily it goes off about every 15 minutes so we didn't have too long to wait.
After Ben we walked around Westminster Abbey and St. Margret's and peeked inside. Westminster was closed but we could walk through the yard. St. Margret's also had bells going off but I'm pretty sure there was a wedding or funeral going on because the bells played for like 45 minutes.

We ran into a Bobby police man, or whatever they're called and two members of our group got a picture with him. He asked if we were from "the colonies," which in and of itself is hilarious. When we told him yes and where we were from he said, "Montana? Isn't that a providence?" Great. People from around the world think Montana is Canada.

We left the church square and walked for about 20 minutes to Buckingham Palace. There were soooooo many people at the Palace. We stood at the gates for probably 5 minutes watching the guards walk back and forth and then we left. It was pretty anticlimactic. The guards weren't dressed up in all their hoorah and they were behind the gate so we couldn't go take pictures with them or anything. Also, the Queen did not come out to say hello so I am pissed at her.

No one knew whether or not she actually lives there so I looked it up when I got home. Turns out it is her "weekday home" and also the "weekday home" or Prince somebody, (Philip maybe? Not Charles because I didn't recognize the name...) and Some Duke and Countess or something. Like 5 people live there plus all 500 of their workers. Crazy. We didn't get to tour it, either, but seriously. Next time.

After Buckingham we had to rush back to Piccadilly subway and get back on the train to take us back to the airport. We walked through the royal gardens and the sun was setting and casting the most beautiful light on the trees.

I started to feel better as long as I was walking around and being consumed by all the things around me. But once we slowed down and got ready to board the plane I got sick again. I went and got some hot tea from Star Bucks and didn't even take one sip because I was pretty sure I was going to throw it up. I was sweating and freezing and achy and so, so sick. I was so crabby because I am the last person who should ever get sick because I am rude and mean and I don't just not feel good. I go all out when I get sick. And of course it would be me who gets sick when I'm going to do something amazing.

I barely even made it onto the plane I was almost crying and screaming and all I wanted was my bed and cold water, which no one in the world besides America believes in, and the people in front of us boarding the plane of course had to be chatty Cathy's and took their sweet, sweet time. I'm pretty sure I didn't even make it to my seat before I was passed out in Evan's arms. I woke up when they were serving dinner probably 2 hours in.

And guess what the food options were? Salmon or lamb. Yeah, no thanks. So I didn't eat. I drank the tea they were serving and went back to sleep.

The guy next to me on the plane kept unzipping his pants and making the grossest noises and it was very awkward and creepy. I kept glaring at him and he would just keep doing it louder and more often. So that was fun. My plane neighbors got even more interesting, though, just you wait.

I started feeling better at the end of the flight but got sick again on the landing. I also got really bad head colds on the planes from the dry air. My nose is so dry now that my sinuses just ache. I didn't get over than in Ethiopia for almost a week and now that I'm home I have to deal with it again thanks to the planes home.

We were really lucky that our plane rides were split up into segments. We rode from Billings to Denver (1 hour), Denver to London (9 hours, surprisingly short), spent 10 hours in London, London to Kenya (9 hours) and Kenya to Ethiopia (1 hour). It was tiring and it was a lot of time sitting down. But it was a million times better than last time when we sat in the plane for over a day from DC to Rome to Ethiopia.

And that's about it for now. I'm almost finished uploading all 10000000 pictures to facebook. Which is taking 900 years. And I'm sooo tired. I'm going to need a nap and my body to adjust quickly. However, I have done all my laundry, which is amazing for me, and I'm super proud of myself for that. haha

Ohh, also, my downstairs neighb likes to smoke in his apartment so my house reeeeeeeeeeeeks like cigarettes. I tattles on him again. I did not need to come home to that. So on top of being already congested and dry I now can't stop sneezing thanks to that. Lovely.


Saturday, October 30, 2010

Home, Sweet Home.


We landed in Denver on US soil around 4 and we got to Billings around 8. Coming home is the worst because the flights are like 89023181 hours long and the seats are not nearly roomy enough. However, finally getting home and seeing my sky line and smelling my air and sitting in my car and opening my house for the first time and showering in my shower for the first time is just ......unexplainable.

I'm still trying to process my trip. There is no doubt about it that it was amazing. But it was completely different than I expected it to be. I don't want to put everything in one giant long blog that no one will read. And I really want to get rid of my sea legs and jet lag and maybe get some sleep and brush my teeth like 100 more times with REAL water and REAL tooth paste and process everything.

I learned why I came like 2 days into the trip and it was just about the most heartbreaking thing I've ever woken up and realized. I spent a lot of time arguing with God about whether or not I would be coming back because I was pretty sure I had a better idea about my life than he did. Having to deal with having your dreams kind of shattered and rebuilt all in a few days really wears on a person. Plus there was hardly any time or room for me to have some real alone time. Like alone, alone. Not just the kind before dinner or when you're walking around the site. Like me time. I was alone for maybe 10 minutes the entire trip. And anyone who knows me should know that if I do not get a decent amount of alone time I'll probably hate your guts.

So I need to process that out. I need to evaluate myself. My trip. My husband. My past. And my future.

And it seems like a lot. And I'm going to share. Because, hello, I took probably over a thousand pictures. I'm slightly out of hand with my camera.

But it really was amazing.

God is good...

All the time.

Here are just a [few] pictures I'll share til I can edit and upload them all....

Zelalum and I. Get ready for his story in a few days <3

View from our hotel window at night slash I was playing with my camera.

Me, Derartu, and Zelalum. Yes I look Habasha but it's a dirt tan.


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Fill in the blank, Friday.

I found this here and because I'm all sorts of lonely since I'm done with 30 days of me, I feel the need to do random things til I can get back and actually start another daily blogging exercise.

1.   Blogging is  something I constantly think about because I think I'm obsessed. 

2.  A current fashion trend I wish I was brave enough to wear is hmmm....I love those little headbands people wear across their head. Mandy wears them all the time and I swear they are the cutest thing, ever. I could probably pull it off but Evan would laugh at me and it would probably hurt my sensitive wittle head.

3.  My greatest accomplishment in life thus far is a) going to Africa b) getting married c) graduating from college. (Not in that order.)

4.  If I had to choose between a mountain or a beach vacation I'd choose   hmmm....probably beach. I do love the mountains and I crave Montana when I'm away, but I love warmth, the ocean, the sand, the sun, and the laziness that comes with beaches. When I'm in the mountains I always feel like I should be doing something; ie: hiking, chopping down a tree, fishing, digging fence post holes for my dad, picking up deer poop.....

5.  A talent I wish I had is   singing. I'm pretty sure I can sing, but I can't. Or don't. Or won't. Just for Evan and my brother. Who laaaove it.

6.  A talent I do have is  baking cupcakes. Mostly. I mean I'm pretty good, and with practice I'll be even better.

7.  This week was the week before Ethiopia. And it was a busy week and it was my last week of work and it went by in like 4 seconds. I seriously don't remember where the days went. AND I got up before 11 every single day. So they didn't go to sleep, I know that much.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Chat Roulette.

There is this new craze for some online video chat p2p thing. It's called Chat Roulette.

I used to see ads for it and I thought it was some sort of gambling site. Roulette=gambling, so yeah? No. It's some sort of video chatting site.

And recently I've seen some of the most hilarious videos with the site. Which makes me want to get on there and come across these people. And or be completely ridic myself and catch people's reactions.

Let me share with you.

These links are all hilarious. Seriously check them all out.

Katy Perry Peakcock
Piano Improve
And the funniest one of all...and if you don't check out the top two videos....check out this quick PAGE. Do. It.

Okay, that's all. Someday, my J&E, we should Chat Roulette it up. Maybe after some dranks.


Sunday, October 3, 2010

13 days!

In exactly 13 days I will be boarding a plane that will take me to Denver that will take me to London that will take me to Kenya that will take me to Addis and a car that will take me to Ambo. THIRTEEN DAAAAYS.

We had our final meeting today which meant that the trip is coming soon, soon, soon. Then, my mother and I went and spent like 75 dollars on candy and toys for the kids, which makes me so much more excited. I finally feel like it's actually here.

I even bought stuff to make tie dye shirts. I love tie dye. Because I'm so good at it, probably.

I also bought some fun beachy linen pants I'm pretty excited to wear. I'm a little sad it's still warm here in MT because I would love for there to be snow on the ground and be able to rub the warm Ethiopian weather in the faces of my friends and family. But it looks like it's going to be nice for a while longer.

And tonight I found my Ethiopia journal from my last trip. I took it to the work site one day and wrote messages with Kababush and Roza. I took a picture of it tonight because it is just so precious.

I wrote my name out so she could spell it. And then it says, "I love you. May namee iss Rozaa." Ethiopia has a symbol alphabet so someone decided they should sound it out in English letters it got all messed up. There is no correct spelling for words because their words aren't suppose to be written in English. When they have to write in English they just sound it out and put extra and random letters in every word because there are no rules in their language as how to spell things.

On the other page I had drawn a heart so Roza started copying my heart and drew it all over her page. When ever I get a letter from her it's always covered in hearts and tons of "I love you Larissa's" except for she usually spells my name Loresy:

But I just love her. And I'm so, so SO excited to see her. And all my other babies.


We get to spend a day in London on the way there because we have a huuuuge layover. Apparently we got to Big Ben and the palace and Picadilly Circus. I've wanted to go to London foreverrr and ever, ever since I saw the most amazing pictures of London at night. I know that's kind of a dumb reason, but whatever. Still exciting.

And then on our way back, we get to spend the day in Nairobi, Kenya. Hell. Yes. We are meeting up with some lead pastor guy and his wife and they are taking us on an excursion through a...

dot dot dot


Words cannot contain my excitement for this. Elephants are my most favorite animal and this means that there will be baby elephants which are my favorite animal in baby form which is the best thing there is in the whole wide world.

When my pastor told me this I squealed like a little kid. Because I will be exactly 5 years old for this part of the trip.

We also get to go during feeding time which will probably mean that they want the cool Americans to feed them. And since I will be a cool American at the elephant orphanage I will get to feed a baby elephant!!!!!

Also, in the Philippines I was thisclose to buying a tarsiar from the tarsiar habitat zoo. And so I will probably be coming home with a baby elephant. I will definitely be saving some money for that part of the trip. Slash probably sell all my clothes and junk so it will fit in my suitcase. Next to Roza.

Anyway. We also get to go to a giraff thing, which is not as cool as the baby elephants, but it will be still be pretty cool. On a scale of one to awesome, it's awesome; where as baby elephants cannot fit on a scale because there is not a scale big enough to measure that amount of awesome.

We also get to visit some "Out of Africa" lady museum, which means I need to study up on that. A) I hear it's a sweet movie and B) I love history. So I need to know all about that.

I. am. so. excited.

It also means that my work countdown is down to 11 days! They freaking loaded me up with enough shifts to give one to every other sever and still have 15 to spare, so that's annoying. I suppose I should be grateful that they're still giving me good shifts since I'm leaving the country and kind of need to plump up my bank account; but I'm still annoyed. I have soooo much to do before I go, which includes finding a volleyball. I'm going to teach these kids how to play! And probably tear my shoulder a bit more. Wahoo! (Ps. Walmart does not carry volleyballs. They carry every other type of sport ball, but no volleyballs. I hate Walmart.)

Anyway. I'm going to go tie dye! Loveeee.