Thursday, January 10, 2013

I know I will feel so much better after I write this and post it.
Lately, I’ve been avoiding my blog like the plague, it’s true. And it’s time that I stop.

 Forgive me… I know that’s not a warm or cordial way to greet you in the New Year. I don’t mean that I’ve been avoiding YOU, dear friends, it’s just my blog, see. It’s been giving me that same emotion I feel when I contemplate going for a run - when I haven’t been running in weeks. Or when I think about calling up a friend that I should have already been in touch with. Blogging isn’t so fun for me when I’ve missed communicating on a TON of stuff … yet, at the moment, I can think of nothing particularly profound, clever, funny, or insightful to say. 

So, let’s just acknowledge that the last 6 months have been completely uninformative. And let me just assume that you really don’t want to hear a recount of all of my opinions, feelings, and experiences from the aforementioned period. And let’s be optimistic that after I write this post, I will feel much more motivated to keep it up in 2013. (note: this is NOT a New Year’s resolution. I’m not that serious.)  ok, I'm feeling better already.
Well, I won’t bore you with a recount of everything, but I really should somehow pick up where my last blog left off. I’ll just give a few quick highlights…

Our time in the U.S. was not nearly as distressing as I had feared it would be. Yes, it was stressful, and busy, and hectic – but it was also fun, and refreshing, and, well… just blessed. We felt so blessed the whole time we were there. God blessed our time with family and friends; we were able to truly savor and enjoy it. God blessed us financially, so we were able to raise the support we needed in that amount of time. God blessed our travels – 9 states and countless miles. God was just so good to us. 

I did have some times where I vacillated between feeling so incredibly proud to be American! – and then feeling so repulsed by our shallow culture of convenience and materialism. Well, really, I guess I felt more frustration at myself. As much as I didn’t want to, I DID like the convenience and the stuff. I loved walking around Target and daydreaming about having a house again someday. I indulged in every yummy thing I wanted to eat (and gained 6lbs in the process!). I stayed in the hot shower every day until I was a soggy, pink prune. I took full advantage of having unlimited Wi-Fi and stayed up too late too many nights watching stupid You Tube videos. And I kept thinking the whole time – it’s a good thing I am here for only 2 months. I never wished I could stay. I thanked God many times that we were coming back to Africa. My heart ached enough to burst over leaving our family again, but I didn’t shed a tear over leaving America. Not that I don’t want to/plan to live in the U.S. again someday. But that time isn’t now. It was an inexpressibly good feeling to come back to Uganda – knowing what we were coming back to – and still choosing to and wanting to be here. I guess it is a feeling understood by anyone who has chosen the illogical, confounding will of God. 

So, we jumped back into Ugandan life. The first few weeks were busy and full – Watoto Graduation, a camp for vocational students, Christmas cantatas, and HOSTING. My goodness did we host! We are among the few on the village that has a Christmas tree and the money to buy meat and sweets for parties. So, we shared our tree and meat and spread the Christmas joy. I counted up exactly 75 people that ate in our home in the month of December. T and I have become quite a dynamic duo in the kitchen (as long as we stick to a certain menu). 
We celebrated our own family Christmas on Christmas Eve, so we could have more guests over on Christmas Day. It is funny what things are exciting when you live in a third-world country. We splurged and bought the boys their own variety packs of Kelloggs cereal from the supermarket near the U.S. embassy. Cocoa Puffs, Frosted Flakes, Rice Krispies… they were over the moon! They also got some new boot-legged DVDs of kids movies. That’s the only way to buy them here, you know.  My gift from T was an electric bug zapper. It looks like a small tennis racquet that charges in the wall. What a blast! The mosquitoes have been particularly horrendous this rainy season. I woke up at 3am one night before Christmas to find 17 IN OUR NET WITH US! (granted, we had forgot to tuck it in that pm, so it was our own fault) now, every pm, I sleep with my zapper and a flashlight beside me, so if any annoying buzz comes near my ear, it’s K-O!  I've had found that pop/hiss noise to be sweetly vengeful.  

The two weeks following Christmas were slow and uneventful.  T has been busy studying/writing devotional curriculum.  I've been cramming in school with the boys - to make up for the fact they did NO school in the U.S.  T taught them both to play chess and convinced them to start running with him.  Every day this past week, they have done the 2k lap around the village, and their time improves each day.  I know this is immensely fulfilling for T to have them as running partners!

  I attended my first kwangula, which is a traditional Ugandan wedding.  It is where the bride and grooms families are officially introduced, and the man presents the agreed upon bridal price (dowry) for the woman.  This particular ceremony lasted 8 hrs. (yes, i sat in the same chair for 6 HOURS straight!).  The bride wore no less than 4 dazzling dresses.  And the presentation of "gifts" for the dowry included a basket of 4 live chickens, 200 kilos of rice, 10 crates of glass bottles filled with soda, a dining room set of furniture, a padded rocking chair, a leg of a cow (freshly chopped off and wrapped up in banana leaves), and too many fruit baskets to count.  I think there was also an envelop passed over to the father containing $.  I've gone around and around in conversations with my Ugandan friends, trying to understand how bride price is still relevant to this generation of young Ugandans.  As a Western woman I find it degrading and offensive that the bride is bought like property.  Most of my girlfriends defend it, however, as comforting and flattering that they should be paid so highly for.  But that another topic for another post.  

I guess the only other excitement was getting my tooth chipped on New Year's Eve.  My front tooth!  Eating a piece of chocolate cake.  But I have to explain... this was the same tooth that T chipped 11 yrs. ago when we were newlyweds.  We were having a water fight, like so many giddy newlyweds do... well, but that's another story for another day.  Suffice it to say, the cap had served me well all these years, and it seemed that a new tooth for a new year was in order.  The office of the Ugandan dentist made me feel like I was in a 1990 time warp, and it took 2 tries to satisfy me.  I was mollified at the first tooth he gave me - rectangle and yellowish.  My teeth are square.  And, while they aren't brilliant white, they certainly aren't yellow.  But I didn't cry; I just calmly protested.  And he patiently went to work again.  I liked my old tooth better, but I can live with this one for now.  Uganda does seem to have a way of chipping away at my vanity.  Ha!  Get it?  

Anyway, our schedule seems to be back to normal with meetings, teaching sessions, events to help plan.  T just commented on how long this blog post must be... which it is!  And I think he may be ready to have his turn with the computer.  So, although I would love to illustrate this post with lots of pictures, that also will wait for another day.  Goodnight!  


  1. what a great post! I love that you sleep with a bug zapper. What a genius gift, Thomas!

  2. Hi Mika! I've wondered where you all were - but figured you were busy with family and friends here in Tennessee. So glad to read this post and catch up with you. I admire you and Thomas for serving the Lord the way you do. I know it is not easy andd I know that you could never put into words all of your emotions as you follow the Lord's calling on your lives ... but you are an exceptionally skilled writer. May the Lord God Jehovah Jireh continue to provide your every need. Praying for you on a regular basis.

  3. Welcome back Mika and I must agree with Kt, a genious gift from Thomas!!
    Glad to see you are not losing your sense of humour. Living in Africa has a way to chip at such...(no pun intended here!)
    Praying life continues to be a blessing for you and your family! Don't forget to tuck in that net now...
    Happy New Year,