Saturday, November 20, 2010

Leavin' on a Jet Plane

Heading to the U.S. to see family, friends, and to be encouraged and refreshed (but probably not too rested considering we'll be in 5 states in 4 weeks); see you in a month!

Kind Regards,

I {Heart} Black Friday

I love to save, plot, plan, and research the best deals of things that we need or that I have had my eye on for a while.  I love the excitement.  I get a huge kick out of the people; both shoppers and the poor retail workers.  I really enjoy making a day of it with a friend or two.  I pretty much like everything about it.  Black Friday is obviously an American phenomenon and therefore last year I really missed it.  (I did snag a few deals online, but it was not quite the same.)  The year before we were in training for overseas living and also did not get to participate.  Needless to say, this year I am pretty stinkin' excited about it.

Mr. Sojourner and I have been scouring the ads and deciding what we need and what we can fit in our luggage when we head back.  I am excited to stock up on some birthday gifts, Christmas gifts, Easter basket goodies, etc.  (Since we can not get many toys and such here and the ones you can get are outrageously expensive and break within a minute of play.  I need to take some pictures of the stock of toys and our local stores so you can see.) 

But...I am already overwhelmed by the choices and I haven't set foot in a store yet!  In the capital city of the West African country we live in if you want cereal and you got to the store you may have five choices.  If you want a computer printer you may have two or three choices.  It's not like the aisle of cereal boxes or aisle of computer printers that we are used to.  After eighteen months this has become normal.  Now, as I look for an ipod speaker I see several choice at each store and they are all different.  Holy cow.  I am in for shell shock.  I don't know whether I will squeal with delight while skipping down the aisles, go into catatonic shock, or fall on the ground sobbing when I walk into a clean, beautiful, well-stocked store.

Do you do Black Friday?  If so, what stores are you planning to hit-up this year?  Or, what is on your shopping list?  If not, what are your Thanksgiving holiday weekend plans?


Sunday, November 14, 2010

It Went Something Like This...

One of the discussions we had at the gathering spot in the village last week was about our upcoming trip. It went something like this:

Them: You are going to America?
Us: Yes.
Them: All of you?!
Us: Yes. All of us.

Them: The children also?!
Us: Yes. All of us.
Them: Your whole family?!
Us: Yes. All of us.
(At this they broke out into a discussion amongst themselves.)
Them 1: Do they have to pay for the children to go also?
Them 2: Yes, I think so.
Them 1: Do they have to pat for each of them?
Them 2: Yes, I think so.
Them 1: Even the little one?!
Them 2: Yes, I think so.
Them 1: Do they have to pay for a seat for each of the children too?!
Them 2: Yes, I think so.
Them 1: Are they the same price as them?!
Them 2: I don't know.
Them 1: It must be very expensive!
Them 2: I agree!

Them 1: [Shaking his head] It is not like a green machine(Side Note: A green machine* is a van type public transportation that they stuff full and then some with things and sometimes people hanging off.)
Them 2: [Shaking his head] No, it is not like a green machine*.
(They then turn back to us.)
Them: You are all going?! Your whole family?!
Us: Yes, all of us.

Just in case you are unsure after reading that: we are, indeed, all going to the U.S. together.  All five of us.  Even our children.

Leavin' on a jet plane (in 112 hours),

What we're looking forward to...

Mrs. Sojourner's Top Ten:
1.) Family and friends.
2.) Worship in my heart language with other believers.
3.) Not having to think about every word that comes out of my mouth; functioning in English!
4.) Seeing my kids reactions to experiencing things in the US (especially Little; she really doesn't remember much, if anything).
5.) Not sweating every moment of everyday.
6.) Eating all kinds of food that we can't get here.
7.) Roads without potholes the size of our children (and bigger!).
8.) Not having to wash and treat every dish and piece of produce.
9.) Wearing clothes that are soft (not line dried and crisp). And, wearing jeans!!!
10.)Shopping and being able to fine whatever I want at a decent price and good quality in a clean and beautiful store.

Mr. Sojourner's Top Ten:
1. I get to see family and friends again.
2. One word: Food. Yummy, American food!
3. Two words: Fast Food. Mrs. Sojourner and I will not spend 2-3 hours a day in the kitchen on our vacation.
4. Going to church
5. Air Conditioning: Everywhere and all the time.
6. Cold weather: It may not be cold to you, but it probably will be to us.
7. Disney with the girls
8. Browsing: Not being attacked by 20 salesman, when I stop to look at something.
9. Christmas: Getting to see all the Christmas decorations and houses decorated.
10. Football. I have to watch at least one football game!


Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Last Month

So the last month my posts have been few and far between, but I promise I'm still here.  The short of it is that our family is on the brink of (or maybe in the midst of; still not quite sure) what we call in overseas living "burn-out."  We're tired, we're homesick, and we're discouraged.  The last month or so we have been in survival mode.  Putting one foot in front of the other.  Taking it one day at a time.

We made the decision that for our month's vacation this year we would head home to the U.S.  (Probably not, okay most certainly not, the smartest financial decision.)  But, it came down to heading home before out job is done, or heading home for a time of encouragement, refreshment, and most importantly the love of family and friends whom we miss dearly.  We decided the later was the best choice so a month ago we booked our tickets and informed our family and friends.

This month I have felt a little like the "little engine that could" trying to make my way up the mountain.  Tomorrow will be our last visit to the main village we work in until we come back in late December.  Just like every visit this month, I am dreading tomorrow.  Last week I dreaded it as well, but at the end of the day was so happy to have gone and experienced all that I had, but simultaneously exhausted and drained within an inch of my life.  I am hoping and praying that when we get back from the U.S. this stage will be over because, frankly, I am not enjoying this roller coaster of emotions.

6 days.  In 6 days I will be stepping on to an airplane for the bazillion hour trip back the the U.S.  I can't wait.  But, at the same time, I have the feeling of sadness that it will be over in the blink of an eye.


Thursday, November 4, 2010

This Pumpkin

Cost me one dollar.  And, my toe.

My toe will never be the same again.

A week ago we went out of town.  On the way home we saw some beautiful looking pumpkins on the side of the road and decided to stop.  We pulled over the car.  I opened the door.  I was attacked by 3,729 ladies on the side of the road each trying to sell me their pumpkin.

Their chosen method of salesmanship?  Get as close to me as possible and shove the pumpkin in my face.  I know, right?  Awesome.  When we get pack to the US I am going to enroll my Little Sojourners as Girl Scouts and teach them this method of selling things (while eating all of their Girl Scout cookies and gaining 375 pounds in the process).  I am then sending them to your house.  I think it will go over well; don't you?

So, as I have 3,729 pumpkins shoved in my face I scan the crowd for the one I want and start negotiating price with the seller.  (By that I mean: I ask the price.  She says $1.  I say, "Sweet!"  She has no idea what I said.  And, I agree to buy her beautiful pumpkin.)  In the meantime, a really diligent saleslady has taken her pumpkin (the biggest of the lot, I'm talking H-U-G-E!) and is holding it with one hand through the crack between the door and the car.  It is apparently too heavy and she drops it from above my head onto my toe.

Don't worry the pumpkin didn't break!

Christmas is in the Air

First day of our Jesse Tree; Dec 1st 2009.

Well, sort of.  It is 96* inside my house at 9pm, and there are definitely no Christmas decorations going up around our city anytime soon (or ever), but I can pretend right?!  "Christmas is in the air" of my heart...or something like that.

The Christmas season is approaching and if you are like me, and love to give gifts, you are already plotting and maybe even purchasing (or have been stock-piling for a while now) some gifts. 

Last year I read about the Advent Conspiracy.  I thought it was a good idea and a great reminder of what Christmas is really about.  We scaled down a lot last year, which I admit, was so much easier to do from this side of the world.  Though we greatly missed our family last year, we really enjoyed making new family traditions, just the five of us. One of my favorite new traditions was doing the Jesse Tree for advent.  It is a great way to keep His story at the center of the holiday.

I also just read this great blog post on wonderful gift giving ideas that reach beyond us (as the gift-givers and gift-receivers) to the world around us.  Brittany has some really good ideas and you should check them out. 

What are some of your family holiday traditions?  Do you have some new ones you are thinking about trying this year?

Thinking Christmas,