Buckle up, this is going to be a long one.
Well, I just sat down at a computer for the first time in almost a week and let me tell ya, I feel out of touch. I don’t know if that’s sad, or what it is, but it is true. As you have read previously, I am here in Uganda! I arrived late Friday night and the first thing that hit was…drum roll… the warmth. We walked down a set of stairs from our plane into the night air and the night air was warm! I knew this would be the case, but coming from Minnesota on an extremely windy day I was still shocked. It was as if my whole body was bracing itself for freezing cold and instead it was…perfect. While I stood in line to get my visa I changed from shoes to sandals, peeled off a long-sleeve shirt, rolled up my jeans and gave a heavy sigh. Ah, warmth (can you tell I’m excited about that?).
So it is only days until Christmas and I have to admit I am still a little too distracted to realize it! There are reminders here and there that tell us it is the Christmas season. For instance, at the mall in Kampala where there are little Christmas trees in every store. And last night at an outdoor pub, the live band that was playing classics like the Eagles and Bryan Adams and suddenly went into a ruckus version of Joy to the World. But I have to say it was strange sitting outside under the stars in a t-shirt humming along to a rock version of a Christmas carol.
So far I have spent a lot of time trying to soak in the sites, sounds, smells, colors, people, you name it. Uganda is beautiful. Palm trees, very green, lots of animals I have never seen, I even saw a monkey sitting on top of a gate this morning! And the people are lovely. I have mentioned a few times that I feel very loud most of the time. The people I have met speak very softly and after a few minutes interacting with them I realize I am shouting compared to their tone…oops.
I spent the four days before Brian arrived with his coworkers from ARC. Great women. We all stayed at the ARC guest house here in Kampala. These ladies have completely taken care of me in every way. They helped me exchange my cash, they have driven me everywhere I needed to go and they have all given me great advice about living in South Sudan. They are all veterans of working in the field and I have felt extremely grateful to have their guidance in my first days here.
Then Brian arrived. I expected to see a HUGE beard and a lot of hair. One of the ARC vice presidents spent a few days with him in Yei and told me all he could think to call him was Grizzly Adams. But to my surprise he had trimmed his beard and shaved his head! Good boy.
Brian and I have had the pleasure of dog-sitting for the ARC country director of Uganda. He and his wife have a BEAUTIFUL home in the hills of Kampala and Brian has greatly enjoyed having a kitchen available to him again. Their home is filled with African art from both the west and the east. It’s like a museum. Not to mention the view of the city is phenomenal. So we have been hanging out, Brian is trying his best to unwind from an intense 2 1/2 months in Yei and we’re getting our bearings as a couple on this continent.
Our Christmas plans are different from any I have ever had, but I am VERY excited about them. We are going to Murchison Falls which is a little north west of Kampala. Apparently the falls are incredibly beautiful and we will also be doing a wildlife tour as well! Christmas day some other ARC staff will be coming together for a Christmas dinner that Brian has offered to cook (you can imagine how excited he is). The plans are to eat a lot, listen to Christmas music and watch the movie Elf. It should be a good time.
May all of you, our friends and family, be filled with joy and peace during this holiday season. We miss and love you all.