- Convenience is king in America. I mean really -- life is ridiculously easy and convenient here. One-stop shopping... drive-through everything... online banking... salad in a bag... need I say more?
- Tevas are a really wonderful sandal and well-worth the investment. I bought my first pair this summer just before we left and was so pleased with how comfortable they were and how well they supported my feet. Definitely five stars.
- I am amazed at how many toddler behavior issues are related to either a) sleep deprivation or b) being in an unfamiliar environment and unsure of the rules / boundaries.
- I must have intestines of steel (or maybe just a really great immune system), seeing as I was the only one who didn't have stomach trouble at all while we were there.
- Learning Portuguese is going to be an absolute necessity in order to live with any sort of functionality in Angola.
- I have a new appreciation for simple things like green grass, paved roads, clean running water... and garbage trucks.
- We Americans are extraordinarily wasteful, as a general rule.
- I don't know how we would have survived traveling in Africa with a two-year-old without this and this.
- Driving in Africa requires a video game mentality -- and lots of prayer.
- Children's television programming is awesome and will definitely be missed when we move to Angola. Thankfully, we can get many of Alex' favorite shows on DVD.
- Our king-size bed and wonderful Stearns and Foster mattress is just as comfy as I remembered longingly during our five weeks away from home. We are bringing this bed to Africa with us!
- At the end of a long, hot, dusty, sweaty day, a hot meal and a hot shower make everything better.
- Harry Potter and "LOST" are great stress relievers!
- This trip revealed a secret addiction to Dr. Pepper! I really missed it!
- Bourneville chocolate is just as delicious as I remembered, growing up in Kenya.
- No matter how well they mix-n-match, wearing the same four shirts, the same three skirts, and one pair of pants gets very old after awhile.
- I have a new appreciation for the HUGSR laundry room after one time of washing our clothes by hand in big washtubs. I told myself I would not complain about it anymore... which lasted until today when one of the washers ate over $2 in quarters. Okay, so I will try not to complain about it as much.
- The missionary community is a wonderful thing.
- It is such a blessing to find brothers and sisters in Christ, no matter where you are in the world.
- A smile translates into any language.
- Although I grew up in Africa and this was Rusty's fourth trip, we both found that we were seeing it in an entirely different light now that we had our own child along -- but that is probably a separate blog post.
- Funny how a trip to Africa made both of us "homesick" for Japan. I know one thing -- after bouncing over bumpy roads for hours on end, we were sure thinking longingly of onsens.
- Hiding a pill in a spoonful of jam is a very painless way to get a toddler to swallow it!
- I am really looking forward to the day when we are no longer the only parents on the team.
- And finally... Angola will be a difficult place to live and work, but the need is great and the workers are few. Someone asked if we are "having second thoughts" now that we have been there. The honest answer is no, but we are "counting the cost," if that makes any sense.
Friday, July 11, 2008
Post-Survey Trip Reflections
I know, I know -- you are all eager to see pictures of our time in Angola. And trust me, just as soon as I can get them uploaded to the computer and organized, I will be sharing them. I had hoped I would have a chance to do that this week, but it has been crazy busy at work and at home. So, for now, I will subject you to some of my stream-of-consciousness reflecting on our survey trip...