With the slight exception of Thanksgiving break, I find myself in a very similar position I would be if I were in America right now; procrastination followed by scrambling to finish everything while enjoying the last few moments with everyone before we leave again. The stark contrast (aside from surroundings etc) is that I won't inevitably be meeting with these people again.
That reality hit hard last night as Dani and I were hanging out with a few of our brothers. Now that they are out of school with time on their hands we have been laughing and enjoying each others' company more than in the past several weeks. I'm going to miss it here; far more than I realize. But I am thankful for that awareness, at the very least, prior to my departure.
Speaking of Thanksgiving, we had a fantastic fiasco here in Mukono--the Americans, Canadians, Europeans and African internationals all got together at the Bartels' house for a cookout. With the expectation of a "make-shift" celebration, I was blown away to find grilled turkey, mashed potatoes and ROLLS; things which have been a foreign concept for quite some time now. Following dinner with a SMORGASBORD of desserts and a showing of Charlie Brown's Christmas, we all went to bed with smiles on our faces and stomachs that had far surpassed the point of satisfaction.
In spite of the genuine good times, it did not cease to be a time which reminded me of "home." Regardless of how fun it is, celebrating Thanksgiving is simply not the same without those who have been closest to you throughout life. I am increasingly confronted with the intentionality that is required to maintain relationships over time; especially from a distance. But in the midst of that realization and in light of the holiday, I am thankful beyond expression for the genuine relationships in my life. It is impossible for you to know the number of times that you all have been the hands and feet of Christ in my life; I only hope that the same is true on the other end of the spectrum. We need each other, undoubtedly.
Here are a few pictures for your own enjoyment, even though the boys were a little camera shy. With a BEAUTIFUL sky, who would have thought that Dani and I would have to teach Africans what it means to star-gaze?
One of my endless siblings Peter. Oh, how he makes me laugh...