Saturday, January 24, 2009

"To Fun"

All errands have been run....I think. So much to do to get out of town. But Satchmo has been delivered to loving arms who are thrilled to have him as guest. (hope he doesn't wear out his welcome. I've never had a dog that people are fighting over to take care of!). The packages dropped off at the post office to be delivered, mail stopped. Last session at the tanning bed squeezed in (I am trying to get a base coat so I won't burn so badly on arrival). Passport photos taken (for Visas once we get there). Cash procured (we have to bring in large new, unused looking bills printed no later than 2004...apparently used money is not good enough!). Electronic chargers purchased (I'm taking the DS for the plane and couldn't find the right charger cord, so it's been a pain finding the right one...three trips to Radio Shack and I think I have it now). Last minute supplies from the drug and grocery stores (why is nail polish remover so difficult to find?) I'm trying out the Tilamook steak bites for some portable protein. I understand the most we might get there is goat, which will be slaughtered for the celebration late in the trip. Those steak bites better be good. $6.00 for a supply no bigger than one of those tiny sealable snack bags! Electronics (camera, recorder, camera, DS) are all being charged. Copies of passport, evacuation insurance, emergency contacts, credit cards, immunization records all made. Toiletries assembled. For some reason I have about 8 small bottles of hand sanitizers I've picked up. People keep telling me to make sure I have some LOL. Unfortunately I still have my one paper for work to finish up...I am stalling at this minute..

But in all this hustle and bustle I take a moment to stand out on my porch overlooking the lake. It is still, cold and foggy today. Quiet and peaceful. The lake in front and mountains in the distance. I am very aware of the peaceful, beautiful place that I call home. I am trying to memorize the feeling, the sight. Where I am going there is no lake, though I understand a muddy river separates the village. No mountains. Perhaps a few dusty hills. So very different from where I am at this moment. Tonight I will look up and memorize the stars. They will be a constant. Different stars but the same heaven above. The stars in Africa are worth every bit of effort this will take. I remember, very clearly, thirty some years ago, a younger me lay down on the beach in Mombasa, Kenya, and swooned over the sight of the Southern Cross in a sky so endless. I can't wait to see that again.

Folks ask me if I have been where I am going before. I start to say "Yes. Well, same country, different location." And then I correct myself: "No. I haven't been there. But a younger me was there 30 years ago." I hardly remember that girl. I am a very different person now. As it should be really....I am going to digress here. When Mark and I were going to couples therapy, at the beginning of the end, Mark said to her, in a dissapointed tone: "she's changed. She is not the girl I married." Like it was a bad thing, or something.

When I was last in Sudan I was barely 20. Here I am approaching 50. It feels like a different person is going back to Sudan. I have such fond memories of that experience. Memories with my sister, and mother and father that I wouldn't give up for anything. I am wearing around my neck the pendent in the shape of Sudan, with the Blue Nile and White Nile etched into it. On the back it has the words "to fun" engraved. My mother had one made for my sister, me, and herself. Every evening on our adventure, we toasted (usually a gin and tonic) "to fun." A few weeks ago my sister wrote to me that she was putting on her necklace and would wear it until I returned safely home. My necklace is on too. I'll keep her close to my heart wearing it in this next adventure into Sudan. I hope some day in the future that she and I will get to go back there together. In the meantime I hold her close to my heart with the pendent. "To fun."

2 comments:

Kate Hart said...

Jennifer--

Such lovely words and thoughts.Maryellen sent me the link to your blog and updated me on whats been going on in your life. I felt like I had better let you know I have been reading. (kind of felt like stalking otherwise!) At times they bring tears to my eyes...especially when you recall your mother, and also the closeness you have with your sister. I wish you well on your mission and will eagerly await all new updates. Have "FUN"....be safe.
Kate Hart (Spokane)

Amy Tucker (Muldoon) said...

Jennifer Jennifer Jennifer! I found you!My old pc crashed with everything and everyone's phones and emails in it, and I kept hoping you'd turn up.
It was a happy thing, to read your words. I think of you more often than you'd believe.
E mail me- we have much catching up. Love you always-
Amy (amymuldoon1962@msn.com)