I will now deliver you a list of 20 phenomenal things going on here in Accra and in my life to battle the Debbie downer of a post prior to this one. These are in no particular order. It is only because lists help me organize my thoughts J
- I love American International School. I work with a lot of the upperclassmen and they have quickly stolen my heart. Do not tell them that, I need to maintain some sort of authority figure in their life. I love my seniors; I want them to grow closer to God and experience Him in a new and fresh way like never before. I want them to attend college/university and see them achieve their dreams. I want the world for them, much like a parent feels I am sure of wanting the best for their child. We laugh a lot, we do life, and they are real with me. For that I am grateful.
- NATALIE BULLOCK IS COMING TO GHANA! I am pretty sure she has not even announced it publicly; so let me give you the E! True Hollywood update: We had an opening for an ESL/ELL secondary position. I called Nat and told her about the job opening. She sincerely needed to pray about it and gain some clarity (meanwhile I have a direct line with Jesus (you know since He is a buckeye and I am a buckeye) and He had already told me that she needed to come to Ghana). Long and Short of it, is that she is going to do a one year contract and come here to AIS for the school year. I am thrilled that she will be joining me here as soon as her visa is issued. We have not lived in the same country for 4 ½ years and we have not lived together since college, which has been a few years as well. Cannot wait for a little slice of home to arrive.
- I had a REAL HAMBURGER! There is a great restaurant here called Cuzzy Brothers, it has a South African twist to it (which you all know I love my South African friends and their food). The place has great food and an amazing atmosphere that makes you feel like you are not in Ghana.
- I am playing basketball every Tuesday night at another school here in Accra. I have met some really neat people from all over the world. I am so stoked to be playing basketball again regularly. I can thank my sweet friend Mary for inviting Emily and I to play. Mary and her husband continually lookout for me while I am here in Ghana. I am blessed to have them in my life, and also they have such stinkin cute kids!
- My friend Emily and I are playing in a charity basketball tournament this weekend! Some of the folks we play with on Tuesday nights invited us to play in the tournament with them. We are so pumped!
- I am traveling to Turkey and will get to see Lydia & Alex during my long layover to Budapest. (Natalie’s Sister & Brother In Law)
- I am traveling to Budapest, Hungary for a week before returning to the States in December. A Simple re-routing of my ticket has allowed me the blessing of doing so and an opportunity of a lifetime.
- I am traveling to Italy. All in the same week in December with my new dear friend Emily to visit another new friend Sonya and her family. Emily & Sonya were good friends last year. Sonya’s family used to live here In Ghana and now they are currently based in Budapest. She and her husband invited Emily for Christmas, and it spiraled out of control (in a good way) from there. Sonya has such a fun, vibrant, and inviting personality. We have had so many chats via Facebook and phone calls and I am so excited to finally meet her in person. It is also a huge bonus that Emily and I were able to get the same flight to Budapest. There will be many posts and pictures to come from that trip. I am super excited for travels to new countries and friends. (This is Emily, my new partner in crime for conquering the world in travels)
- I was able to face-time with the Foster’s kids on their first day of school! Although it was much like watching the blare witch project movie with the camera shaking constantly, I was so thrilled to see their precious faces and hear all their stories from their first day, and the end of summer shenanigans like Young Life family camp at Rockbridge.
10. Some of us went to a street art festival called “Chale Wote” which means “Man, Let’s Go” and also the same term is used for slippers/flip flops (the old navy $3 kind) worn on your feet. It was fun watching some graffiti artists do their thing, checking out local food vendors, and craftsmen/women. I bought some amazing pottery, a handmade wallet made from the beautiful Ghanaian fabrics, and some local honey. It was overall a good day!
11. My friend Kate (Kate the Great as I like to call her) and I played some Frisbee and taught one of the guards how to throw a Frisbee. We were waiting to go play Frisbee with the same crowd from Tuesday night basketball, however a massive rainstorm blew through and Frisbee was canceled. This turned into the best Sunday afternoon in a while because Kate, Emily, and I just sat on the front porch, laughed, played music, and talked honest about life. Oh and it was a major bonus that Emily made some homemade chocolate chip oatmeal cookies while we were porching it during the rainstorm.
12. James installed a.k.a nailed a board to the bottom of my office door, therefore PREVENTING THE RAT from coming into my office (and also James & Andy’s office). The rat was becoming quite annoying. He had been spotted in action twice. Andy preached a sermon one Sunday at church about not hesitating, not procrastinating, and he shared story about these toilet roll holders he had in his house through three moves but never hung them. Feeling guilty before preaching the sermon that Sunday, he installed them, and it only took him 3 minutes to do so. That Monday at school I said good sermon Andy, now we must not procrastinate on this Rat thing, because the three of us had devising plans and ways we needed to trap, kill, or exterminate the rat, yet none of us had done anything about it. Haha, so therefore I went and got a board from my house, and James willingly nailed it to the door. We have not seen any traces of the rat since. Booyah Ratatouille.
13. We had open house here at American International School and it was awesome. Our theme this year is renewal and boy are we getting some fresh wind in our sails here at AIS this year. I am truly blessed to work with such amazing people. The best part about open house is that we were able to rock these sweet hats that a former student designs. His company is making signature AIS hats for us. We were promoting them and of course, I LOVED rockin the sweet AIS swag.
14. One of the American stores here had SUNCHIPS! Haha it is the little things in life right? Well I was running errands for our senior snack shack, and I turned and saw them! SUNCHIPS, Harvey Cheddar particularly (despite Garden Harvey being my favorite), I WAS THRILLED. Yes, they were more expensive than in the States, but you know what at that moment I did not care in the least bit. It was worth the money, just like it has been worth the money to buy Pringles when I see them as well. These things I would hardly ever eat in the States are a taste of home. It is like I am Charlie finding the golden ticket in the Wonka bar! I GOT A GOLDEN TICKET. I GOT A BAG OF SUNCHIPS!
15. I got a package from home! Getting a package from my Mama made me remember the college days of care packages. It was great to get some Luna bars and Crystal Light packets and a handmade card J
16. Encouraging e-mails, blips, face time calls, Skype dates, texts, snap chats, or whatever avenue of technology you care to insert here. I cannot even begin to list the people whose “random” messages have made my day. Keep them coming! The Holy Spirit works in crazy ways. It is always on days where I am thinking “I miss ________” or “I miss doing _______” that I receive something that makes me laugh or smile from someone back home.
17. Hope City Church. This is the church that I have been visiting and I am pretty sure I will call home while here in Accra. I am thankful for their patience as I navigate and pray through trying to find a place to call home. I know I will jump in and serve and be involved as soon as I call it home because I genuinely miss that. I miss Blue Ridge Community Church in Virginia and I miss New Life Church in Ohio. Church looks different everywhere in the world. This I know. Hope City is comprised of some really amazing people with real life change. They are raw and genuine, that is what reminds me of the two churches mentioned prior. Yes, things might look different but one thing remains, both places genuinely love Jesus Christ and want to see Him be known and that is all that matters. Thank you Hope City for serving the people of Accra.
(Picture of Hope City Church this past weekend during their 2nd anniversary service)
18. Cheap fruit and veggies! I love fresh fruit and it has been glorious being able to buy fresh pineapples for like $.75 cents American. I bought like 12 bananas at the market on Saturday for 1 Cedi. That is $.50 PEOPLE! Plantains, tomatoes, peppers, onions, bananas, avocados, mango, papaya, passion fruit, you name it! I am keeping the local fruit and veggie stands in business.
(Picture of one of my favorite fruit stands)
19. WE HAVE MONDAY OFF SCHOOL! I could not be more excited for an extended weekend.
20. I will wrap this up soon I promise. I want to end on quality friendships. God is at work here in Accra. He is working in and through me. Continuing to refine and purify me in this process of life. In the mean time He has given me some amazing people to do life with. You all know who you are. The year is young and I am sure I will go deeper and wider with more folks as the year progresses. However for those of you, who have taken the time to go deep in our few short months here, thank you! Thank you for laughs. Thank you for tears. Thank you for hot chocolate dates. Thank you for smoothie dates. Thank you for cider dates. Thank you for front porch sittin during a thunderstorm. Thank you for sharing in my “ghetto” past (and showing me pictures of yours). Thank you for inviting me to play basketball. Thank you for loving me long before PFO and preparing me for this great adventure. Thank you for late night talks and laughs until 2 a.m. Thank you for ukulele jam sessions. Thank you for trusting me. Thank you for your hospitality when having malaria. Thank you for weak Kool-Aid, sugar popcorn, and family movie nights. Thank you for loving me well thus far during my time here in Ghana. I am eternally grateful for each one of your friendships. I am blessed to do life with some pretty rad folks here at AIS.
There are definitely some great things going on over here. I am blessed to be living this life.