Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A treat for a little victory

Here I am.

I have officially passed my mark. The mark that signifies the longest amount of time I have ever been away from home.

8 weeks in Sydney, Australia.
9.5 weeks in Mukono, Uganda.
13 weeks and counting in Lukaya, Uganda.

Standing beside the Indian Ocean in Mombasa, Kenya

Many of the people I look up to most in life tell me I should appreciate the little victories whenever they come.  My parent’s favorite story to tell about me as a child illustrates how terrified I was to let them out of my sight. I would scream and throw tantrums in the store if they moved on to the next aisle without me. Apparently, I had this rule that when we went on walks they could only be a few steps ahead of me…because what would happen if they were too far away?

Eventually I got over that crippling fear of separation. I first went on a school trip to Washington DC the summer before 9th grade. I was fine. Then the summer before 12th grade I went on another school trip to Spain. I came back completely unscathed by the “scary” world. Looking back, I’m not sure which of those trips shook me more. I think these trips helped me realize that I could be far away from home and not just survive…but thrive. I went to Sydney the summer going into my third year in college, this time for 8 weeks. That trip taught me that I had no limits. I had the ability to go anywhere in the world, meet new people, and explore. 

Now here I am. I’ve spent a cumulative amount of 22 weeks in Uganda. That to me is a little victory. A victory for the four year old Kristen who could hardly stand the thought of letting her parents out of her sight. Here I am at twenty two and a half; I’m half way around the world from home and still not throwing a tantrum begging my parents to reemerge from the next aisle. Exciting to think I’m barely even at the half way mark of this trip!     

To help me celebrate this little victory...and to assist me with the necessary visa renewal needed to stay in Uganda for another 90 days, my cousin let me join him on a business trip to Mombasa, Kenya. 

I got to get my feet wet in the not-surprisingly warm Indian Ocean (I didn't spend too much time on the beach itself though because this is still Africa, and there were dozens of men lingering around waiting for me to make eye-contact so they could haggle me to buy their crafts/snacks/talents...kind of a beach-mood killer)

I went scuba diving for the first time!! That was amazing, scary, and cool all wrapped in one! I was not a natural, that's for sure! My dive guide would have probably liked to hold me under without Oxygen after I made us do an emergency ascent...that's a story I'm not ready to share to the masses just yet! Ohhh man...After that little mishap, I did manage to pull myself together and go back down for another 30 minutes. Pictures of me underwater to come...!

We went to a place called Haller Park where we got to feed the Giraffes, play with monkeys, and view giant tortoises, crocodiles, and snakes.  

On my last day, I got a little spa time in, had a lovely lunch, bought souvenirs in the resort's gift shops, and relaxed with a drink by the pool.

The monkeys at our resort were funny little guys. During lunch on the last day, a monkey swooped down from the ceiling crossbeams, snatched the entire tray of sugar packets from the table next to me, and swung back up to the ceiling. I got this picture of the monkey treating the sugar like crack as he tore open and devoured each packet until he got his fix!
Then, while I was sipping on this beautiful drink at the pool:
Tequila Sunrise: Pre-Monkey attack
A group of monkeys surrounded me and before I even knew what was going on, they had grabbed my drink! I'm pretty sure the target was the orange/cherry on the rim and not the Tequila...but if they had just asked nicely, I would have given them the fruit and my drink could have been spared! 

I'm not sure if this little guy got any Tequila, but I think he looks a little buzzed...

All in all, the week was lovely. I got to spend time relaxing, reading, sight seeing, trying new things, and even got some quality time with my cousin! 

My mid-way trip to paradise was a success. I'm looking forward to the next three months in Lukaya! Absence really does make the heart grow fonder!

With love,

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful! So glad you had such a good trip and are doing so well.
    --I was a "home-body" too! How we change.