Thursday, October 14, 2010

Auf Wiedersehen

Although I'll always be an Austen Sister (and will hopefully still be invited to post on here), I've decided to create my own blog. If you still want to follow me, go to
Thanks for listening gang!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Two Days...

...until I get to call this man my husband. You have no idea how excited I am.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Blind Sided

I was going through my journal and found the entry that I wrote after me and Erik's first date....

"Butterflies... the most perfect feeling in the world. I don't even have words to describe them... let me try...
The first thing that comes to mind is that I never thought this would happen tonight or at all with Erik. Okay, yes all weekend I thought about him, but the fact that he reached over during the movie and missed my hand then on the second try got it- never ever could I imagine how tingly that would feel.
Man I'm having trouble writing this because I keep smiling. Even if nothing happens beyond this, I'll have one amazing night to look back on.
Let's get to the details. So I have been trying to talk myself out of liking him all weekend long- I let my mind wonder too far away. So I seriously thought we were going to the movies as friends. It was so fun to hang out with him though; our conversation never hit a lull. The the lights went out in the nearly empty movie theater and it became evident that I really wanted to hold his hand,but I knew he didn't think of me like that. But we kept brushing up against each other and I felt my face get hot and my heart bang up against my rib cage. Then I mistook my butterflies for a full bladder. So I excused myself and went to the bathroom to calm down. But as soon as I sat down the sweaty palm game began and I was super conscious of where his hands were... except when his left hand shot across the barrier and missed my hand, but left it ridiculously close. Finally we got it right and I almost started crying- I just knew that he would remember that I was just a friend and grabbing my hand was a mistake. I loosened my grip so that he could let go, but alas he held on tighter. After the movie we talked the whole car ride home and outside my door. Then to maybe end the night I mentioned my cold toes. But he followed me into my apartment and the evening got even better as we cuddled and watched Youtube videos.
The weird thing is that we're just the same good friends that we've always been... but now I'm totally attracted to him.
Okay I need to stop thinking about this- it's really not a big deal- besides my cheeks hurt from smiling too much."

Who knew that fateful night where we went and saw "The Blind Slide" would turn into something this wonderful?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Life after the bomb

On Sunday, merely 40kms separated me from a tragic terrorist attack. Never before had I been so close to the blatant hate and madness that was the bombing. Over 70 people were killed, including one American. Kampala is a city that I frequent often, in fact I had spent the day there on Friday. I could have been there. Easily. The team usually goes out to sports bars to watch the world cup games anyway. After the bombings, HELP put us on lockdown. All 24 of us stayed inside our little house for two days straight.
We all stared ahead, as our country directors informed us that they got word that more attacks were planned. I clung to my friend Chelsea and my terror was reflected in her face when I turned to look at her. All the sudden all the images from the Rwandan genocide came rushing over me, as I contemplated what an attack meant. We had heard rumors of the LRA returning and that plunged me further into my crippling fear.
Two weekends ago, I went to Gulu. Gulu is a Northern region of Uganda that has been afflicted with a civil war for the past 15 years. The LRA (Lord's Resistant Army) abducted children, brainwashed them, and then set them to attack their own villages. It has only been in the past 4 years that the LRA has left the area.
As I sat in our tiny house on Monday night and couldn't get a grasp on my fear, I realized with horror that this uncertainty was what those children felt every single night as they slept in the bush to avoid abduction. Every single night. As soon as I realized this, I lost it and just broke down and cried. Even after being in Gulu I hadn't understood.
And then the clouds broke and I knew that if I continued in fear that the terrorists had won. I couldn't let my life be dictated by terror anymore. The next day, they let us out of the house and ever since I have been trying to live life to the fullest. If I die, then it will be God's will. There's no way I'll be living my life huddled in a corner - scared of another attack.
When I was in Gulu, I was amazed and fascinated by the strength of the people. How could they move on from such a tragedy? Why were they so happy after going through so much. Now I know. It's the only to keep sane.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Ongoing quest for Cholocate Cake

I've learned to live without many things since coming to Uganda, such as running water, electricity, more than two outfits, food with flavor, and personal space. But one thing that I've been having serious trouble is the lack of chocolate. I wasn't even that big of a chocolate person before but now all I can think about it chocolate. Every night I have to invent new things to eat for dessert. I've eaten gummy vitamins, powdered lemonade, and last night I hit an all time low with stomach relief medicine that sort of tasted like tums.
So far every weekend my only agenda has been going somewhere that has decent chocolate cake. Last weekend, I took big steps in the right direction. I convinced five people to come with me and we took an hour long taxi ride into Jinja. Then we hopped on boda-bodas (motorcycle taxis) for another twenty minute ride to a nice resort. We waited patiently for 8,000 shilling pieces of cake (about $4 which is an absurd amount here). They finally came and they looked perfect. Everything I ever dreamed about and more. I grabbed my fork and pierced the cake, I slowly raised the cake to my mouth. After just two seconds, I looked up horrified. I glaced at my country director and saw my expression reflected in her features. It was spiked with rum. Not just a little bit of run that gets cooked out, no someone had definitely poured an entire bottle of rum on each slice. We sat there in silence and pondered the big moral issue. Finally I shrugged and said, "Well it did cost 8,000 shillings" and continued to eat it. So saturated was this cake that if you pressed the cake to the roof of your mouth with your tongue, liquid would come out.
After a while everything got funnier and all five of us were chummy as we made up songs about the waitress. My morality was bought for 8,000 shillings.
So yes, I have yet to devour a purly chocolate cake, but I have been buzzed...

Thursday, June 10, 2010

African Writing Contest

A couple of days ago I saw a cat eating a dead rat. I don't know why but I can't get that image out of my head.
With the program I am with, we are urged to create our own projects based on the needs we see in the community. After spending just one or two days here I decided that the only thing that I could really help with is writing. So I decided to sponsor a writing contest. Unlike anything else I've ever done in my life before, this idea is actually becoming a reality, and in a big way. I've gone to school after school, announcing it and seeing kids' faces lit up when I mention the big surprise prize for the best piece of writing.
All this talk of writing makes me realize how much I need writing. I never know how I feel about any topic until I've sat down with my journal. I don't really know who I am without writing. It both empowers me and humbles me.
I must apologize, for someone who loves writing, this blog entry is not very well written. Thanks to everyone who reads my writing, I know that without it I would be lost.

Friday, June 4, 2010

My African Lover

My dear brother gave my email address to one of the people who got baptized while he was here in Uganda. He took drastic measures to meet me and has fallen head over heels. Here is one of his love notes.

Am sorry about this fact, susuen i started developing up strong emortion feeling of love towards you since i met you for the first time. i know this can be sounding so crazy to you, but i mean it dear, so pliz rescue me out of the bondange of pain am dweling in my dear. you are the precious woman who as risen hope of glory in my life there for i will never cease to smile whenever i look at beauty, i wish i could jump over the sky and bring down the shining stars of glory to you becoz of your beauty smile that comfort me on this plannet earth, but unfortunately i do not have wings to fly over the sky, i know that am look so cheap infront of you, but i know that i look so expensive infront of our heavenly because i have life, so please give me a blessing of coming into your heart, you mind and you thoughts, i will be i mis you susuen

yes, his name is Wilberforce