Long lost photos

on Wednesday, May 20, 2009
So my camera decided to break down the week I left Penang. I left it there in the hopes of getting it fixed for cheaper than here, but it turns out that it won't be fixed at all. I'm still trying to decide what camera I want to get next, so in the mean time I am stuck without a camera and have had to resort to my crappy camera phone. I have pictures on my phone from forever ago, and I always forget to take them off - plus the quality is so crappy that I usually don't even bother taking pictures with my phone in the first place. Here are some random shots of my life in the past 2 years.

One time I was took a trip from my itty bitty town of Mbita, Kenya to Kisumu. I should have known never to take the ferry on a Wednesday, because that also happened to be market day, which means all the cattle sellers turned the passenger/car ferry into a cow ferry.

Kenya is not known for its turkeys - they're unheard of, actually. So when we found these baby turkeys in town, we had to buy them and fatten them up for Thanksgiving. We had to hold them on our laps on the drive home.

Running is one of my favorite things to do in Africa. On the dusty roads winding from fishing village to fishing village, it's like an obstacle course of goats, cows, goat and cow poo, potholes, and trucks. Every morning about 20 children on their way to school would jog with me, at least as far as their skinny little legs would allow....only two of them usually made it all the way with me. Sometimes I would stop and wait for the little ones to catch up. Even the women balancing laundry, dishes, and fish on their heads would run with me. Have you ever heard of lake flies? Let me just tell you that you don't want to run straight into a swarm of them like I did. There was never a dull moment.

I tagged along with some friends of mine to Kibera, the largest slum in Africa. I didn't feel like doing poverty tourism that day, so I ditched the gigantic camera in favor of the much more discreet cell phone.

People love these pictures, as you can tell.

He speaks!

on Thursday, May 14, 2009
Today I heard the president of the United States speak for the very first time. I know, I know. I must be living under a rock. How could I never have heard the voice of my president and the most powerful man in the world, after a tedious year of campaigning and 4 months in office?

I've read about his eloquence and his powerfully delivered speeches, and his presence and cool demeanor. I READ about them. And I did read almost all his speeches, too. The presidential debates, the inauguration speech...I tried to keep up with American politics last year, even though I don't understand it.

But all I had was the internet. My news media of choice is bbc.com. It was on this website that I read his beautifully written words and his well delivered (so it was suggested) speeches.

Since I've been home I have been avoiding the television. My parents just got a super huge flat screen HD TV for the family room and I barely can even figure out how to turn it on. The only thing I've watched is one (ok maybe two) episodes of Oprah.

I turned on the TV today and there he was, in all his High Definition presidential glory. President Obama speaking about credit card interest rates. He made it sound fascinating. I couldn't stop looking at him. Even thought I don't care about credit card interest rates, it sounded important because it was coming from HIM. It was just a 30 second or so clip, but that was all I needed to be convinced.

I feel like I'm way back at the beginning of the presidental campaign. THIS is what the hype was about.

WA Run

on Sunday, May 3, 2009
I went for my first 'Back in WA' run on Friday. At first, I was wary about whether I could fare the 60 degree weather (brr!), and if I could brave the outdoors. I'm such a pansy. Having just arrived the afternoon before, I hadn't yet stepped foot out of my house. The idea of 'out there' was rather frightening.

It's amazing how CLEAN AIR makes so much of a difference! No suffocating humidity, or smog from motorbikes or cars. No smoke from burning trash or burning incense from the neighborhood Hindu temple. The air was crisp and clear and smelled like orchard. The cherry trees and the wildflowers in the desert are in full bloom. No mangy stray dogs to leap over, and no traffic to fear. Cars here actually go AROUND you. I could actually run in the day time...I didn't have to go out in the wee hours of the morning or eveningtime to escape the sweltering heat. I didn't have to bring my good morning towel, and I hardly perspired at all, in fact. No long and uncomfortable stares from the migrant workers. Strangers wave and say hello. The lawns are lush and green, and everyone seemed to be working (or paying someone to work) in their yards (including my mother). There's no trash, anywhere. The perfection of it all makes it a little bit creepy, like Wisteria Lane. But the long, open roads are refreshing. So THIS is what running feels like.

It'll never be the same as my rainforest runs. Reuben my faithful training partner/coach is not here to motivate me. We'll see how I adjust.

[Note: my sunday run was on the treadmill]