Saturday, December 31, 2011

Mama: The first to arrive in Mombasa!

My mother arrived December 6th. If you had talked to me a week before her arrival, I am sure the only thing you would have heard out of my mouth was 'MY MOM ARRIVES SOON!'. I was almost more excited to see my mom than to get married. 

Of course she burst into tears as she exited the gate and saw me standing there. I asked her how her flights were and she blurted out, "I thought I was going to die!" WHY? I asked. " I was SO thirsty" Haha. I burst into laughter. I guess the airlines she took didn't give her enough water so she thought she would die of dehydration. Good thing I had a big bottle of water waiting for her as she got off the plane. 

We spend 3 days in Mombasa. I showed her around, we did some random wedding things, we spent a day at the beach, she met some of my friends, and got a glimpse at my life. She thought my apartment was 'rustic' and it took her a while to adjust to my way of living - which she thought was just like camping. But she adjusted well. 
My mom loves her eggs! Yummy starbucks and eggs for breakfast. 

My mom loved the lady who washes our clothes. They got along well even though they couldn't understand each other. This lady found it hilarious that Mom wanted to take a picture of her. 

The clothes drying. 

The first day we went into town, I must have run into friends at every corner. I think that was when Mom realized that I do have a life here and that I am apart of a community. 

Showing Mom our new apartment that we were slowing moving into. I was happy to see the mosquito netting on the windows! 

We spent a day poolside and had lunch at this beachside bar. I got a kick out of the guy carrying a large boat on his head in the back ground. 

We got to see a baby goat after it was just born in Kongowea. 

Then we headed to Nairobi for a couple days. Unfortunately, Mom got sick one of the days we planned to do some sight seeing. However, she was a trooper. When my Dad was here in 2009, we went to Java House almost every morning. Since then, Dad and I have talked about it a bajillion times at home. Finally I took Mom to taste and see what we had been talking about. 

We went to Kijabe for the day. I am saving our seats in the matatu and waiting for the car to fill up with passengers. 

Mom makes it to Kijabe! We had the most amazing time wandering through the hospital and Mom meeting my friends. We sat for a couple hours talking with Mercy, the chaplain I worked with while I was there. It was such a good reunion. 

This is the view that I had while I lived in Kijabe. Not too shabby eh? Simply gorgeous. 

Next up...Eldoret and the arrival of the Maid of Honour, Kasondra! 

I'm Back!

I am back online! Did you miss me?! .... Yah, didn't think so. 

I am not sure exactly where to start. Should I tell you about taking my mother to Eldoret to meet all my precious sisters and brothers? Or how she spent hours pruning the passionfruit plants while I got to have precious girl talks with the high school girls? Maybe I should mention that I messed up my best friend's flight arrival time and thought I had lost her in the airport? I wish I could describe my delight seeing all my family (including my Kenyan Family, the Ronos) at the pitch cheering on our boys as they played in the semi finals. Or the sounds of traditional singing and bright colours that welcomed me to Granny's house as they covered my head and ushered me into my own room where my whole family ate fresh goat pilau. Of course, the wedding day must be mentioned from my mother doing my hair and make-up to Dad walking me down the aisle and handing me over to Kelvin to the 'I do's' and the kiss to the yummy food and dancing till the sun went down on the Indian Ocean. Couldn't have asked for a better day. Then we had the the mini honeymoon which we loved;) but family time was the greatest. Lots of card playing, drinking coke, swimming, picking on each other, laughing, and quality family time. Goodness! I almost forgot the boys christmas gifts! Too bad I missed it. Was stuck at the bank but let my family do the honours. Such is life. And now I am nestled in my lovely new apartment, catching up on emails, eating all the yummy treats my family left behind (Doritos, Reese's pieces, energy drinks, cheese, and Mini Eggs) and waiting for my husband to come home.

It was a phenomenal month to say the least. As the days go by, I will add pictures and more stories about all that has happened.

I am blessed beyond belief. This whole month taught me truly how much God loves me, how valuable I am to Him, how He loves to shower me with good things, and how He is always faithful.  This past year has been one of my best (but not without its fair share of struggles) and I think I have ended on a high note.

Kelvin and I sat this morning and talked about our favourite moments this year (but we couldn't mention anything from the last month). We revelled in the ways God has used us in Kongowea and were amazed to see how some of our boys are now interning for big companies and turning their hearts to God. We looked at the ways we have grown as individuals and as a couple. I have learned to cook Kenyan food (and absolutely love it too!) which was a HUGE thing for me as well as learning to take care of a household. Kelvin is grateful that God has given him the means to fulfil his role as leader or provider in a deteriorating economy and practically jobless country. And how we have both stretched and grown closer to God's image. And we have loved God with all that is in us.

Happy New Year everyone!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Blogging Break

Well ya'll, I think I will be taking a break from blogging for the next couple weeks (unless I get the time or have something incredibly juicy to share). Life is getting rather busy right now and I am trying to just focus on my family, my wedding, my future husband, keeping myself cool, and Jesus. 

My mother arrives in Mombasa kesho and I couldn't be more excited!! I am tracking where she is at all times and praying her through her long journey to Africa. At least now my family will really understand what I go through every time I come back to Canada. It's not an easy travel that's for sure. 

Today I spent the day scrubbing every inch of my house making it ready enough for my momma. This is the first time she is coming to my home. Of course I want her to be comfortable although I know she will have to get used to showering right next to the toilet, having to light the stove with a match, and making sure a fan is always blowing cool air at you from some direction. I am sure she will look at some of my cooking utensils and wonder how I survive. I think she will just love all the fresh fruit and veggies (including the large, juicy avocados she loves to eat every morning). She told me she was brining a large toblerone bar so we can have a chocolate fondue will all the yummy tropical fruits. Oh I can't wait. 

I woke up this morning with a lump on my neck. First thing I did was panic. My grandmother just died of cancer. One way she knew the cancer was back was because she would get lumps on her neck. So naturally my first thought was that I was dying of cancer. I called Kelvin and said I needed to go to the doctor this afternoon to figure it out. I didn't want to take my mom to the doctor with me on her first day in Kenya. I calmed down and did some research and deducted that it was unlikely to be cancer. The doctor also said the same. He did some blood tests and said I had an infection (although the blood results were not completely clear.) He prescribed some anti-biotics and told me to come back in a week if nothing changes. I am not completely thrilled at the timing of this but I will deal with it. 

Otherwise we had a wonderful weekend filled with lots of friends and fun. I have such an amazing community here. I am so blessed to have a place where I belong. 

We were invited to an appreciation lunch by a ministry group that we have helped out with. The food was amazing and the company was even better. Kelvin took this picture of me with his iPhone (an old one I brought back from Canada). Sorry, that's the only picture I took this week.

We really appreciate prayers for these next couple weeks. Pray for ALL our travel plans! We have people coming from Canada, UK and the other side of Kenya. Also, Mom, Kasondra and I are going to Ilula to visit the children's home for a couple days. Pray for wedding plans. Pray for calmness. My purpose is to enjoy this process and not let the little things stress me out. Pray for KELVIN AND I! We are getting MARRIED! Whoop whoop! 

Love you all. Next time you hear from me, I will be Nikole Opiyo......

Friday, December 2, 2011

When your day doesn't go as planned

Yes, I had one of those days where pretty much every plan I woke up with, didn't happen.

I was actually really excited for this friday in particular. I had planned to have some sweet girlfriends over at my house and just have a good girly night of movies, food, and laughter. I think once I get married, these nights will be few and far in between so I wanted to soak up this chance while I had it.

It is also my best friend, Rahab's, birthday on monday so I wanted to make a big, scrumptious brownie cake for us to devour. Naturally, I needed to clean my house and make all the beds. I also had to plan for a nice supper to treat the ladies too (they are all students so when they come over I try treat them- mostly I just feed them meat cause they can't afford it themselves).

I had planned to go to town with Kelvin to finish buying art supplies for our boy who is in art school. He starts his next term soon and needs his supplies ASAP.

And one of the girls from my bible study was going to spend the night with us as she is working just down the road from me for the weekend so I told her to just come to my place instead of going all the way back to her place.

Ok, so none of that happened. Well, that's not true. Some of it happened, but not the way I thought it would.

My morning was slower than usual just getting myself up and out and ready for the day (which in hindsight, I am thankful for). Just as I sent Kelvin to go buy me some eggs for the cake, Rahab called and said that she was being suddenly evicted out of the place she has been living in for 4 years. She needed to be out within the next day or two. She apologized and said she couldn't make it for the girls night. But I couldn't just leave her to do all this by herself. Kelvin and I started making some calls to try hire a car to get all her stuff packed and moved. Well, that turned out to be more difficult than we thought as most of the people we know had already hired out their cars or they were just playing games with us or we had to wait for a few hours to get one. It was frustrating. Kelvin finally got a lead on a car in Kongowea and he rushed to go see it while I met Rahab in town. It turns out the car that Kelvin thought he was getting was on the other side of Mombasa completely. UGH! Anyways, we managed to get someone to get Rahab's stuff and drop at her place in the morning.

Then we went to buy the art supplies. Which was lovely. SO much fun buying all these treats for my boys.

We went to have lunch which I had not planned for. We splurged and went for a pricey lunch too. I had already stuff in the house to make a cheaper lunch.

After that I went to the grocery store to buy some more food for the other girls who were suppose to come tonight. Since Rahab wasn't coming, I scratched the cake idea and just focused on a yummy meal.

I got home and waited and waited and waited and waited for the ladies to show up. I finally call them and they say they are on their way. By this time it was already 8pm and I kindly told them that I would be exhausted by 9pm so no use even coming. I guess there was a big accident which caused a huge traffic jam. Kelvin got caught in it too and it took him 2 times longer to reach home than it usually does.

Then my other friend, who was suppose to come stay with me after her work, didn't show up either. I called and she told me she was home. She explained that she tried calling and calling me but the network wasn't letting her through. It's true - the network has been crazy today not letting anyone get on the internet or make calls. So she just decided to go home.

Its now 9:30 and I am alone with a lot of yummy food leftover.

This isn't abnormal. Things in Africa just don't happen the way we expect. I am used to it by now. And usually God has a good plan for things not going the way WE planned them. Even if it drives my organized, logical, western mind up the wall.