3 days late due to internet probs and travel…
A 10 day whirlwind vacation in the US! PHEW!! I am relaxing poolside in my very posh hotel in Johannesburg during a 2 day respite here before proceeding on to Victoria Falls and then on to a 4 day safari in Zambia with the graduate, Carrie.
All in all, it was a fabulous return to the US, except for the continuous swiping my credit card for hotels, dining, and of course the absolute necessities at Whole Foods and TJ Maxx! I came to the US with a 50 lb bag and a small carry on and return to Malawi with 2 50 lb bags and 2 carry ons. Yikes!
Re-integration was basically seamless. The only unsettling moment was getting in my rental car at the airport. I was afraid to exit for fear of driving on the wrong side of the road, and I am still unsure when g a car what side to enter. Fortunately the driving went fine and acclimated easily to the 4-5 lanes of traffic in Atlanta. No goats or chickens to avoid.
Passed my National Certification Exam for Emergency Nursing on Tuesday, yay, a huge milestone for me after months of studying. Continued on to Auburn AL for Carrie’s graduation on Thursday after picking Kate up in Atlanta. A small family reunion of sorts as Tina and Lauren were also there. Weather the whole time was beautiful and unseasonably warm, in the 70s with very little rain or cloudiness.
So proud of all the girls! Tina and Lauren are successful professionals and unbelievable parents. Lauren brought your youngest, Holt, who at 3 months is still nursing, and a doll. Kate is still entrenched happily in the DR and is a PC Volunteer Leader in the capital. She loves it and will finish in June when she will come to Africa to travel a bit with me, and some friends.
Carrie, well, she is the graduate after a rocky beginning; Very proud of her for returning and finishing with a 3.0 and a degree in Communications. She is ready to begin her new life in Austin TX with her stepsister Margaret, sharing an apartment together there.
One of the most enjoyable things about the trip was running in complete anonymity in shorts and a tank top, unthinkable in Malawi. No one stared at me or judged my running attire, at least not that I know of. Got a much needed haircut and highlights, pedicure, visited with my BFF from high school, Karen Trager, and spent hours wandering the aisles of Whole Foods.
The most memorable impression was just how many choices we have in the US. My first hour in Whole Foods I was gaping with amazement; overwhelming but delightful at the same time.
After leaving Alabama, Kate and I spent 3 days exploring Atlanta. What an incredible city! The restaurants were outstanding. We toured the coke museum which was amazing. We also took a 3+ hour bike tour of the city which was so interesting and fun. Atlanta is a city filled with urban landscape art, everywhere. The murals were astounding, check out these photos of 4-6 story murals; the scale evident by our teeny bodies at the bottom!
Got very bad news this morning; the Mzuzu University Library burned to the ground last night during the middle of the night. Don’t know the particulars yet but is a complete loss. Devastating for the university and the students.
Off to enjoy another great meal in Joburg tonight and then flying to Victoria Falls where Roy will pick us up and take us around there and on safari for the next week, yahoo!