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True Confessions

August 1, 2012

I’ve been getting ready for this trip for quite a while. It started off with the simple decision just to do it. That was a little over a year ago. The I began saving for it last September. But it wasn’t REAL, it was all hypothetical, until I actually purchased tickets in April. Even then, I didn’t really think about it until I made a few reservations in the last month or so. It probably won’t FEEL real until…a zebra crosses my path? My first proposal? Someone gets diarrhea? We pick up some roasted maize from a street vendor? So many markers to choose from.

Lots of people have asked me about the trip, and yeah, it is the biggest thing I’ve got going on right now, but I’ve not been sure what to SAY about it. Most of the people who have asked don’t actually have a frame of reference for the way we will be living. But even without a good picture of Africa, I often wonder if people even have a good sense of what it’s like for me to travel. I mean, I know people who think going to the grocery store with all their kids is hard. Now I know lots of people spend a lot of time with their kids, and yeah, they may have their kids a whole week when their spouse is out of town. Lots of people have flown “alone” with their kids for quite long stretches, but I’m not sure any of that touches this trip. The arduous travel, small children, uncomfortable conditions, and no respite…ugh. Why am I doing this? For my kids–they are really excited. I hope it is so fantastic for them. But I am kind of dreading it. The only thing I’m looking forward to, really, is the giraffe orphanage. It’s my happy place. I hope those giraffes can get me through.

Now, I’m not afraid of being carried off by hyenas. Or Al Quiada. Or weird food. Or darkness. Or sleeping on dirt floors. This is what I fear: my children becoming “ugly Americans,” me losing my mind, someone getting lost, ebola, but mostly, screaming at my kids across three continents. Ugh. Wish me luck.

But let me just clear something up. Lots of people, lots, have told me I am brave to do this. In fact, I’ve heard that before. People told me I was brave to: serve a mission, have short hair, do Peace Corps, marry an African, move, get divorced, drive to Utah alone with my kids, wear my hair short (again), and take my kids to Africa. First, a haircut is never brave. Nor is an outfit. OK? A vacation isn’t brave, either. I mean, there are luxurious trips, and harder work, and sure my vacations are basically 100% work. But they are for pleasure. We are not doing any important work. This cannot qualify as brave.

It may be crazy, though. There seems to be enormous overlap.

If you miss me while I’m gone, here is my guilty pleasure. Emphasis on guilty.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Leslie permalink
    August 2, 2012 9:23 am

    Have a great trip! And good for you for bringing your kids to Kenya, it’s pretty awesome. I look forward to hearing about your trip. If you have time, stop in at Care for the Earth or say hi to Cassim Bilali and Nassim (they live in Bondo now). They will always be welcoming and since they’ve spent a lot of time with Americans (ie. me), it might be somewhat of a little america for your kids.

  2. marta permalink
    August 2, 2012 9:13 pm

    so exciting! do your “yelling” quietly in japanese with a smile on your face and menace in your voice. i use korean.

  3. Deborah Pulley permalink
    August 15, 2012 7:53 pm

    Maybe, you are brave.

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