Monday, September 26, 2011

"You don't live here anymore"

Last week my mom told me that I need to pack up my room before I go back to Kenya. 

"But why mom? Most of my stuff is organized in boxes. There are a few books on my shelves and pictures and some other things but my room is pretty organized." 

"Nikole, you don't live here anymore. Take your stuff to Kenya."

I wish. 

I have some good stuff. I have some awesome books. I have great kitchen supplies that I had when I was in college. I have awesome clothes. All this stuff I could use in Kenya. 

It's just getting it all there that is the problem. 

I have become pretty inventive with the way I pack so I manage to sneak a lot of little items in. However, with weight restrictions and a 2 bag limit, getting all my stuff to Kenya is a bit difficult. 

That is why I am so glad that I have 4 family members coming over for the wedding in a couple months. Each of them get 2 suitcases. My mom will need both her suitcases for her stuff. My dad and brother could probably fit all their stuff in one suitcase combined. My Baba may need her 2 as well but I am going to try convince her to give me her extra suitcase. And then they each get a carry on which they can stuff with my clothes, towels, and other non threatening items. 

So today I am packing up my room. My mom just informed me that she doesn't necessarily need me to get rid of my stuff since 'I still am their daughter' but just to organize it. I need to make piles of stuff that I want them to bring and put it in order of priority so that, if they don't have enough room, at least I will get the most important things. 

I don't know where I will put all this stuff in my house in Mombasa. Poor Kelvin will be swimming in my Canadian junk. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Countdown

Three months today and I get to marry my best friend, the Kelvinator!

Yah...I'm excited!

Two weeks today and I get to hop on a flight and head back to my home, my love, my life in Kenya.

Yup...I can't wait!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Showered Indeed!

Showered with kind words, well wishes, gifts, hugs, food, and loads and loads of love! Yesterday I was indeed showered at my bridal shower. What an amazing day it was. I will let the pictures tell the story.
A relaxing drink before the guests arrive

Nikki is a super star. She did such an amazing job helping to put this stuff together. She isn't the most eloquent public speaker but she did an amazing job.

So many amazing gifts!

 Louise brought me to Africa for the first time in 2005.  I don't think either of us thought I would stay there forever. 

Such amazing friends!

Baba made my favourite lemon poppy seed cakes and decorated them so beautifully. 

The day was an absolute blessing! thanks for everyone who came and made me feel so special. Now on the wedding!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Morning Thoughts

I was up at 6am this morning. Lately I have been getting up this early, or earlier, after sinking into sleep around 9:30pm and getting a solid eight and a half hours of sleep. On weekdays, I usually find my parents sipping coffee and watching the news at this time. However, today is a Sunday which means that my parents try to sleep in just a wee bit more than the rest of the week.

 I quickly grabbed my computer to check what was happening in my life, my friend's lives, and the rest of the world. Yesterday, I had got news that a large ferry sank between Zanzibar and Pemba Island.

You are probably wondering why I would even know that or care about it.

Well, good friends of mine live on Pemba Island. And I have a couple other acquaintances on Zanzibar too. The two islands are less than an hour flight from Mombasa. They also have a similar people group as the people in Mombasa, who I mingle amongst everyday. Recently, the Zanzibar ferry had been coming up in a lot of my conversations (mostly because I heard that is one of the roughest ferry rides and that they actually give people puke bags before they board the ferry) so I was appalled when I saw the news that it had capsized. The boat was heading to Pemba after large Eid celebrations. The boat was 300-400 people over capacity and hit some shaking waters in the middle of the night. The boat is now at the bottom of the ocean, possibly trapping hundreds of lost lives.

I looked at pictures of the tragedy this morning. My heart hurt watching people line the shores waiting to see if their loved ones were the ones jumping off the boats or the ones being carried off wrapped up in fabric, ready to be buried. UGH.

I noticed that the dead bodies were wrapped up in a local fabric called a khanga. It's a common fabric that is used all along the coast of east africa. I have many of them myself. I use them for curtains, towels, bed sheets, etc. I am acutally going to wear one today. Ironic? crazy.

On to today....

Today is my bridal shower! Yes, and I  made a beautiful dress from the khanga material before I left Mombasa (Kelvin was delighted when he saw me in it - his african queen). I am just thrilled to have so many close friends and family come to see me today and celebrate with me. I have been overwhelmed with everyone's generosity. I forgot how giving we can be over here. People's main questions are, "where is your gift registry? what should we give that you can take home? Should I give the wedding and bridal shower gift together?" I guess I didn't realize there was so much giving involved with weddings. I honestly just wanted ya'll to come hang out with me for a couple hours, eat good food, chat, laugh, play some games. The gift giving has blown my mind. I am grateful though.

My mom has gone all out for the party. I think that's a mom thing; something she dreams of for her daughter. Yesterday we picked up two dozen baby yellow gerbra daisies for the party plus a bouquet and a corsage. My dad spent the day getting the yard in order. I cleaned the inside of the house. I am looking forward to an amazing day celebrating me getting married!

Speaking of getting married...I am so excited! I miss the kelvinator....big time. We chatted this morning on the phone, like we always do, and I realized how much I miss him and my life in Africa. I will definitely be ready to go back in a couple weeks. Ah dreamy....

Finally my parents woke up. I went to join them on the couch with a cup of coffee. We got a call from an auntie who couldn't make it. I welled-up listening to her beautiful words to me. Family is so good.

Then we turned on the morning news just in time to hear an amazing ending to a heartbreaking story that has been on everyone's mind in our province for the last few days. A  young 3 year old boy went missing about a week ago. The police sent out an amber alert for the whole province and hundreds (possibly thousands) of people searched for him day and night for the last week. This morning he was found and reunited with his family. I can only imagine the relief.

Now it is 8:45 and my precious, loving kitty cat is walking all over my computer trying to get my attention (so if there is any spelling mistakes, blame the cat).  I am grateful for her affection.

Hope you all have a blessed Sunday! I know I am going to.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Counting Coins

Yesterday my mom casually mentioned to me that she had found a couple of buckets that were full of loose change. She told me that if I wanted to separate and roll them, that I could have the money. 

My parents do this to me often. 

They know that I value little bits of money. For me, even a small bit of money goes really far. So my parents will use that to get me to do things for them. For example, when the recycling is full, my dad graciously offers that, if I go down to the depot and sort all the cans and bottles, I could keep the earnings. The profit is small, usually around the $10 mark, but I do it. Because ten bucks goes a long way where I live. 

First thing this morning, as I drank my coffee and watched the morning news, I started counting up all the coins. 

By noon I had made more money than both my parents did today.

From pennies to toonies, I raked in a whopping two hundred and forty dollars!

I look forward to depositing my riches in the bank tomorrow...

Monday, September 5, 2011

My Best Friend's Wedding

I am not the only one in wedding season right now. Quite a number of people in my sphere of friends are getting married within the next year or so. Danika, one of my best friend's since Gr.7, became Mrs. Jamie Cominotto this weekend! What a beautiful, lovely, heartwarming day it was to see my dear friend, who I have watched grow into a beautiful woman, become 1 with a great man. 

I teared up watching her walk down the aisle so elegantly with her Daddy.

They did a neat ceremony that blended her traditional Doukhobour culture with his Catholic roots. 

I loved seeing so many old friends. Jenna (right), Nikki and I used to play basketball together in gr.9 on a regional team. 

Bubbles for the Bride!!

Simply Stunning...

Congrats to my beautiful friend Danika!

Family Time at the Salmon Spawning

When we were little, it was a tradition that, the weekend before school started, mom and dad would take us to Kokanee Creek to watch the red bodied salmon spawn. Since my brother is leaving back to university tomorrow, we decided to take a family day and relive an old tradition. 

I guess there isn't much to see but a whole bunch of red fish trying to swim upstream. 

Then we found the playground...and became like little kids again. 

 Mark slayed me on the teeter-totter. He is just a wee bit heavier than I am now.

Mark has this incredible core strength that none of  us can understand. He love playgrounds and training himself on them. 

We have an old picture of the 3 of us in this exact same spot so we tried to recreate it. It didn't work as well now that mark and I are both giants and can't snuggle on mom's lap anymore. 

I adore my family. 

Friday, September 2, 2011

Soakin' up the last bit of summer

The last few days have been a bit sketchy. They start off beautiful but mid-morning they cloud over. Just as you put your bathing suit on and head to the beach, the clouds roll over the mountains. Then you get to the beach and just pray that the sun will break through the clouds. God hears your prayers and the sun pops through the clouds for a couple hours before disappearing behind the clouds that threaten to rain. 

Well that's what happened to us yesterday. 

In the morning, an old high school friend surprised me and showed up for breakfast at my house. We chatted for a couple hours and decided to pack up and go to the beach. Despite the sketchy weather, we totally enjoyed relaxing at the beach for a couple hours. 

Alex, my high school friend, and his buddy blew up some floaties for Nikki and I to float down the river in. 

Alex enjoying sitting in the water and catching any rays that bounce off that water. 

My brother even motorcycled out and joined us for a few hours. Him and Alex giggled like little girls playing in the water and making jokes. 

I was pretty impressed with the sweet rides we all drove. A huge diesel truck, a mercedes convertible, and a slick motorcycle. Not too shabby. 

Alex and I actually go all the way back to Kindergarten. I spent kindergarten and gr. 1 at an elementary school out of town before moving to Robson where my dad was the principal. Alex and I were in the same class. In gr. 10 Alex moved to my high school and we got to reconnect and become friends all over again. 

Just days after posting this, I was digging through some pictures and found this one from Kindergarten. There I am (the one with the boyish, wavy haircut), and to my left is Mr. Alex himself. So precious!