Friday, August 28, 2009

I made it!

For the next 4 months, Mukono, Uganda is the place I call home. It's surreal as I walk down the streets of Mukono that this is Africa; the world seems to grow smaller and smaller as the days go by.

In a nutshell, my family is wonderful and the members of it are far too numerous to count with people in and out all the time. We have laughed until our stomachs hurt and had intensive conversations about Ugandan life, history, and stereotypes they have about Americans. The stereotypes in and of themselves make for lots of laughter; though on some level, they are always true.

Here's a glimpse of what I mean when I say we're laughing until our stomachs hurt:

This is one of my many brothers, William. Ha.

Here is my mailing adress for all those to whom I've promised it:
Julie Bird, Uganda Studies Program
Uganda Christian University
P.O. Box 4
Mukono, Uganda
I love mail! And if you send me something, be assured you will receive something back :)

I also have an international cell phone which receives calls from Skype for free, but... I don't know the number yet.

We'll be in Rwanda for the next week and a half and will have no communication so I will update after that.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Africa...Here I come!!

Though it has been awhile since I last wrote, life has certainly not been on hold. Feel free to skip over the next paragraph if you'd like :)

In this time I have finished up my time with CSM, said my "see ya laters," hung out with the MKs at MK retreat, road-tripped with good friends to Alabama (shout out to Kayla, Kylie, Kayley, Breanna, Becky, and--of course--Mama West), spent some quality time with Daniel and his fam, gone camping (shout out to Daniel, Hillary, Brittany, Tanner, and Preston), seen my fav and only room-mate ever (Ah, Mary Cat), caught up with the parents, saw everyone at church (I always forget just how much people there have invested into my life), had a reunion with the senior road-trippers plus and minus a few (Catherine, Hannah, Kyle, Kevin, Patrick, Lauren and ANNIE WHO CAME HOME FROM BELGIUM!), gotten coffee with Cait and surprised Alyson with her and Les, saw Chicago at Starlight with some of the girls (Ann, Shan, Maggie, Alyssa, and Maddie), went hiking with Mags and got poison ivy :), made breakfast with lots of people from high school (too many to list!), celebrated Lesli's bday (Annie, LESLI, Ann, and Karmen), saw KADILYN!!!!!! (my cousin who's been in Thailand forever and I haven't seen for 2 1/2 years), caught up with lots of fam (saw my sis from Cali, bros, Lisa, and MATTY! He grows up too fast), worked lots at Friday's (nickel and diming it for Africa), hung out with the JONES's!!!!! (Whitney and Aubry, you have no idea how much you mean to me), baked cookies with Mel and Tiff, went to a housewarming party in Lawrence (Kaitlin, Katie, Kendall, and Clara--and so many others), and had a going away party as well as a grad party for Jess (this is way too many people to count). And there were still people I didn't get to see.

And I say all of this to say I am acutely aware in this moment of how much that each one of these individuals mean to me. The more I go away and come back, the more I realize just how significant a short amount of time is. In just a few brief moments, it is possible to reignite memories and acknowledge deep friendships which far surpass the mundaneness of life.

What a beautiful thing.

Tomorrow I leave for Kampala, Uganda in Africa to meet those who will be my family for the next several months.
And I am ecstatic.

I'll let you know I'm alive and well just as soon as I have access to internet; love you all!