These are not necessarily in order. This is just for fun. =)
Ten things I love about being here:
1. Working in orphan care on a regular basis! This has been my passion for several years now.
2. Living in community. Always interesting, often difficult, always worth it.
3. My church.
4. Getting the chance to experience a different culture.
5. The chance to do things I wouldn't get to do at home - call other orphanages and volunteer (still working on that one), ride the train to visit my friend, etc.
6. Keeping house for myself.
7. Learning more about God's grace.
8. Watching babies get adopted.
9. A focus on discipleship in the local church.
10. New friends - becoming family.
Ten things I miss about living at home (not counting foods...)
1. Driving! Although I don't miss the cost of having my own car, I'll gladly pay for gas after seeing how much it costs here...
2. Living in the country. City life has its advantages (the ability to walk places - see #1!) but sometimes I just long for peace and quiet and no construction a few feet from our house.
3. My stuff. I know this is kind of shallow, but I brought maybe 20% of my wardrobe and stayed twice as long as planned - through additional seasons/changes of temperature I hadn't planned for.
4. FAMILY. I live at home with my parents, so you know, I'm kind of used to having them around. My grandma is older, too, and I really miss her.
5. My friends from back home. I have a number of people I hang out with a lot and I really miss them. This includes church family.
6. My piano!
7. The public library. We have lots of books we can borrow here, but it's hard sometimes when you have a specific book you want to borrow.
8. Making money! I certainly haven't enjoyed all my past jobs, but I do enjoy the paycheck that I earned myself. Everyone's been amazingly generous with my support, but I still struggle sometimes with the humbling/unpredictable nature of living on missions support.
9. Running a business/easy access to craft supplies. I did find an amazing yarn store here a month or so ago, so that helps.
10. Walking outside and having it LOOK like home. I was always a little bored with Ohio landscape (I would have preferred to live in the mountains!) but I guess it takes moving away to appreciate the saying, "There's no place like home." I miss farm fields and woods and gorgeous autumn leaves.
Ten things I DON'T miss about home:
1. Having this passion for orphan care and being able to do little about it.
2. Snow. Enough said. Well, ok, I might miss it if I was here over Christmas. Just a little bit.
3. Being alone. Extrovert thing.
4. Eating salad every day. Sorry, Mom. ;)
5. Dog hair.
6. Having so much stuff. Ok. This is a toss-up. I miss my stuff. I don't miss having to clean around it - there's something to be said for minimalism.
7. A sense of aimlessness.
8. Not meeting very many new people.
9. The vacuum cleaner.
10. Uh...I don't know. Can't think of anything else. =)
Ten new foods I've tried here (you will find nothing dramatic in this list):
1. Pap, the staple food, made by grinding corn (different from cornmeal).
2. Boerewors, an Afrikaans sausage.
3. Melkos, or milk food, similar to wallpaper paste but very tasty with cinnamon and sugar.
4. Curry. LOVE IT! Especially a good chicken curry. Indian food is popular here.
5. Samoosas. Think of them like the Indian version of a Hot Pocket.
6. Chakalaka. Some kind of sauce with baked beans and vegetables. I could take it or leave it...
7. Vetkoek (pronounced "fet cook" and meaning "fat cake"). Fried dough. It's very yummy and you can eat it in many different ways.
8. African "soup" - a generic term for any combination of vegetables boiled down to make a thick sauce. I tried to make some last night. It wasn't as good as when Joy makes it.
9. Stewed pumpkin. I prefer it with sugar and spices. Africans cringe when I put it in sweet things. To each their own...
10. African fudge. Entirely different from American fudge, it's SUPPOSED to crystallize. This always happens to me anyway when I try to make candy...it's kind of like eating straight sugar. But delicious sugar.
Ten foods I miss from back home:
1. American Ranch dressing. Craving some delicious MSG.
2. Lucky Charms. Not sure why, because we never buy them anyway. That is going to change, I think.
3. Little Debbie oatmeal creme pies. I tried to make these, but they are just not replicable in all their gooey, underbaked goodness.
4. Baking chips. I did manage to find real chocolate chips in one store. Hallelujah!
5. Kielbasa. Specifically, the Garbage Can Cookout kielbasa that I missed out on recently. I think my mom is freezing some for me. <3
6. Hot Cheezits.
8. Those little red and white striped peppermints my grandma always has.
9. Salami and pepperoni
10. TACO BELLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And the Hot Dog Shoppe.
Ten random foods I've learned how to make from scratch, due to expense/limited availability:
1. Chocolate syrup
2. Apple butter
3. Donuts (sort of - we kind of failed).
5. Macaroni and cheese (yes, I know this should be easy, but I've always made the boxed kind...)
6. Artisan bread
8. Granola bars
9. Nacho cheese
10. Caramel dip
Ten things I'm learning while I'm here (these are in various stages of completion, please don't test me!):
1. How to cook almost anything.
2. How to keep a house more or less consistently clean.
3. How to help a baby sleep through the night.
4. How to care for newborns and preemies.
5. How to make deep cross-cultural friendships
6. How to resolve conflict (why is this a never-ending cycle?!)
7. How to grocery shop/sort of kind of plan a menu
8. How much I need God's grace, and how beautiful it is
9. How to honestly admit my sin and not live in guilt/fear - because of that grace
10. How to be more intentional about building relationships with others
Ten random/slightly insignificant/funny things I've learned:
1. How to sweep a carpet with a broom.
2. How to successfully insulate your house with a blanket, some string, and a butter knife.
3. How to operate a washer when one of the steps to starting a load is "kick it really hard until the water starts running."
4. How to use a crock pot to bake bread.
5. How much a baby is capable of vomiting at one time (however much they just drank).
6. How far projectile poop can travel (five feet, at least).
7. How many ants collect on your kitchen counter when you forget to wipe it down during ant season...
8. How to not freak out when a mouse is sleeping in the couch you use as your bed. (Still don't like mice - don't try anything funny.)
9. How much a cat walking on a tin roof sounds like a midnight intruder (we had the security people out and everything...)
10. How to use a booger-sucker.
Ten things I didn't expect about coming here:
1. That I'd want to stay longer, and that I'd be ok with living away from home for longer.
2. That I'd miss insignificant little things (like Ranch dressing) SO much!
3. That my new friends would become my family.
4. That certain cultural aspects that frustrated me so much in the beginning - I could learn to love.
5. That in some ways, I would learn to enjoy living in the city.
6. That I would gain so much weight from my own cooking...
7. That I would start running (see #6).
8. That a lack of independence (driving especially) would rub so much.
9. That it would be so cold in the winter....that I would actually be here for the winter.
10. That I would love it THIS much.
Ten culture shocks:
1. Greeting everyone all the time. There is pretty much a script.
2. The level of respect afforded one's elders.
3. Certain aspects of baby care, like wearing them on your back with just a blanket - that you don't even tie.
4. Cultural expectations regarding food. They give us a lot of grace as Americans, but some of our customs are SO foreign to each other.
5. The first time I saw someone eat mopane worms.
6. The amount of homeless people and beggars that roam the city.
7. Trying to understand people who speak English as a fourth or fifth or sixth language - even if they're really good at it, accents sometimes confuse me.
8. So many different expectations from the many different cultures that I come in contact with regularly.
9. Ironing. Everything.
10. That some of the biggest culture shocks came from the other Americans...feeds my theory that cultural differences aren't that much harder than family differences.
Ten memorable experiences:
1. Pilanesberg National Park.
2. Street witnessing for the first time (well, tagging along behind someone who was doing it...)
3. Going to the South African presidential inauguration with Lerato.
4. Getting new babies, and watching them leave
5. Having more people than beds
6. That time we ate pizza with Akani and Lerato...it was crazy. "Y" stands for "Yummy Salad!"
7. Going to see the Sound of Music live in Joburg
8. Visiting a mental institution where children with developmental disabilities are sent. Heartbreaking.
9. Learning to wear two babies at once in a woven wrap.
10. So many things I remember aren't moments in time, but steady, everyday things that I love...