Showing posts from January, 2015

The Choice to Love; Part I

So, God's been teaching me a lot of things lately. Some of these are things that I'm still processing, and I'm not quite sure how to communicate them yet. But writing always helps me to figure life out, so I'm going to do my best to communicate and...well...we'll see what happens. Rather than doing one, mammoth blog post, I'm going to break my reflections up into 3 or 4 (or 5 or 6 or maybe more) parts. Hopefully, I'll be coherent enough for you to make sense of what I'm trying to say and, as always, I'd appreciate hearing your thoughts. This post mostly just lays the framework for those that will be following, since I'm not actually planning to talk about human relationships very much.
The Choice to Love; Part I
I don't know about you, but the whole idea of falling in love scares me.

It's the 'falling' part that really puts me off. The very wording paints a vivid picture of a complete loss of control.
I'm pretty sure that I…

My Life According to Instagram

Little gecko buddy, chilling out on my closet door. There are geckos all over the place here, in a wide variety of sizes. This one was slightly longer than my thumbnail. I'm happy to have them around as allies in my war against the bugs.

A man talks on his cell phone during a very crowded chappa (or shappa) ride. This was the trip when I was sitting back-to-back with another person on the console between the two front seats. I was facing toward the rear of the vehicle with my face a few inches away from the person in front of me. It was a great time to reflect on the ceaseless juxtapositions that make up my life here. It's a country where there are only about 11 passenger cars per 1000 people, but where cell phone usage is widespread and increasing (with approximately 48 mobile cellular subscriptions per 100 people as of 2013). This is a place of constant surprises - pleasant and otherwise - and the only way to avoid constant stress is to remain flexible and cultivate an apprec…

That One Evening

That one evening.

The one when it's so, so hot and no-one really feels like cooking, so it seems like a good time to try out the big take-away place down the road.

And you're the one who gets elected to go fetch the food.

And so you walk down to the take-away place, only to find that it's closed.

You walk around the block, just to see if there are any other take-aways that you've somehow missed in your comings and goings. There are a surprisingly companionable dog and a bunch of kids playing football, but there aren't any take-aways, so you find yourself back at the little hamburger place in the yard of the apartment that neighbors yours. Nobody's inside, so you start calling for assistance. Eventually, a woman shows up and sends a child off to fetch the guy who makes the hamburgers. You give him your order, and he starts frying the eggs, meat, and onions for your supper.

You stand in the sandy sidewalk and watch him work, your ears filled with the gratifying …

2014 in Bits, Snatches & Books


During this year I've: Visited two countries (Malta, Sicily) Visited South Dakota for the first time.
Moved to Mozambique. Worked two different jobs (nanny, organic farmer) Been away from home for the longest period of time ever (5 months, so far) Started learning a new language (Portuguese) Made some new friends, and tried to keep up with the old ones. Added a sea to my list of the bodies of water I've visited (Mediterranean) Traveled by sea for the first time (on a sailing ship, no less) Become the last single member of my family (thanks, big little brother!)
Written many, many things. Read all of the way through the Bible twice.
What a year! It started out normally enough, with me exploring various options for the great big 'what's next', but really being content to stay where I was a while longer. A Facebook post from last January fairly accurately sums up my life at that point: The things that make me happy: Getting up at 5 am to see the moon set and then …

Christmas Shopping, Moz. Style

I loved having Christmas in Mozambique.

Sure, I missed my family, and sure, I missed the traditional baking and gift wrapping and decorating (the Christmas tree was always my job), but it was relaxing to look squarely at the approaching festivities and reflect on all the expectations I didn't have to fulfill.

I bought three presents.


Unheard-of, right? At least in my large and generous family.

Of course, I did get to experience the novelty of Christmas shopping on behalf of someone half a world away. I was drawn into the negotiations of the annual Reinagel family gift exchange, and ended up helping Jon's mom select a present for Carla. We picked out a crock-pot, and since our house is small and a crock pot is rather big, I didn't think I'd be very successful at keeping it hidden for a long time. I decided to wait until two days before Christmas to buy it and the rest of my presents.

My first strategic error.

I suppose that the traffic should have tipped me off …