Monthly Archives: June 2011

Home Sweet Home

Wow, it feels great to be home :)I arrived in South Africa last Friday morning at about 9am. The journey here was very long, but a lot less painful than I anticipated. I was traveling for a total of over thirty hours. I left Atlanta Wednesday afternoon and flew to New York. My flight arrived in La Guardia, but I was flying out of JFK so I had to take a shuttle in between. The shuttle was convenient because it only cost ten dollars and it took you right from one airport to the other, but I was a bit nervous because it was late so I only got to the airport 2 hours before my international flight instead of the 3 hours they recommend. But it was fine, I made it in time and everything. I flew from New York to Zurich, Switzerland. The flight was 7 hours long and it wasn’t bad at all. I sat next to a very nice young woman who was from nearby Switzerland and was going home to visit her long distance boyfriend. We talked for a while and she told me about her life and I told her about mine. Besides that we ate and slept and before I knew it the flight was over. Overnight flights like this one are always easiest for me because I usually sleep the whole time.
We arrived in Zurich at about 10am and I was pretty bummed because it looked like it was raining pretty badly out. My layover was 12 hours long so I was hoping to go out and see some stuff. So my new friend and I decided that it would be best for me to just book one of the day rooms in the airport (they are like little hotel rooms with a bed and shower and stuff in them) for the day instead of going out and exploring the city in the rain. But, praise the Lord the rain stopped! So, although I was very tired I decided to go out and explore Zurich, Switzerland. It was so much fun! There is a train that takes you right into the city from the airport. It only takes ten minutes. It was pretty expensive, but everything is in Europe so I wasn’t really surprised. I just walked around this city for a few hours and I saw such cool things. Just the way it is laid out in general was really awesome to me. The architecture was so grand and everything was artistic and beautiful. I fell in love with the cobblestone streets and all that cozy shops tucked away in bends and curves and pockets of roads. I walked along the lake and watched the boats and the swans. There was so much love there. Everywhere I looked there were couples holding hand and smiling at each other or kissing against the beautiful backdrop of the city. Of course there were lots of Swiss sausages and pretzels and chocolate for sale on food carts on the street. The city had a very romantic feel to it. I went to see three beautiful historic churches there. One had the famous stained glass Chagall windows in it. Oh my, they were so amazing. I could have stared at them for hours. They were huge and each told biblical stories so beautifully with color, glass, and light. I felt as though I was watching a performance of some kind. It was as if the colors had breath in them. They seemed to be alive and moving. And the light shining through them just awaked that thing inside of me that makes me revere God. These stained glass windows and this church really reflected the majesty and beauty of God in a might way. I sat in one of the pews for a while and prayed and just admired God for all that He is.
I also went to the Grossmunster church. It was even more amazing. There more stained glass windows here, but instead of three huge ones that told multiple stories on each like the ones at the church before, Grossmunster had several windows all around the church each one telling a different story. My favorite one was actually just black and white, but it played with the light which was really interesting. All in the space of one window it played with about six different understandings of who Jesus is. That one was very thought provoking. This church also had a tower on top and you could pay to climb to the top of the tower (very long and scary journey up some never-ending staircases) and look over the top of the whole city! I did this of course and it was breath-taking! After that I went back to the airport. I loved Zurich and would really love to spend a summer there sometime.
My next flight was ten hours long, another overnight. Not bad at all. I sat next to another very sweet lady named Helena from the Ukraine. She was a talker! She talked to me for hours. But I was happy because I had asked God when I got on the plane to sit me next to some one really nice who would talk to me, I definitely got that!
I arrived in Johannesburg, South Africa on Friday morning a little after 9am. After I got all my bags and stuff I took the train to Sandton to meet my dear sister in Christ, Masana who was picking me up. I could hardly contain my excitement during the plane ride. Masana is one of my closest and dearest friends in the world, literally. She is a genuine sister of mine and we planned to spend Friday night and Saturday catching up and loving on each other. I couldn’t wait. When I walked out of the train station and finally spotted Masana I just lost it. My heart leaped with joy. I screamed her name and dropped my suitcase in the middle of a Joburg street and ran to here and we hugged each other so tight! We just wept and embraced and praised the Lord for bringing me back home to her. She then took me to her house. She had to work Friday so she picked me up on her lunch break but had to go back after dropping me off. After all of that traveling I was exhausted so I showered, ate, checked the internet, and then took a nice long nap. That night Masana took me out for supper. We had Thai food and great conversation. It was really such a blessing to be in her presence again and just laugh with her and talk about things that only people who have lived here with me in South Africa understand. It was so freeing! We had a great time.
The next day Masana woke me up and told me that we were meeting another one of our sisters, Sara for an event she was having that morning. I thought that sounded a bit strange because I wondered why the “event” would be at 11am, but I just went with it. She told me to make sure to get dressed up, because it is a fancy event so I did. The “event” was in an outdoor area at a huge mall. We arrived and I saw Sara and again got so happy. Sara went the same church as Masana and I and is a part of the same circle of friends. I spent Christmas with Sara and her mom last year. She is an angel, a very dear friend of mine. Anyway, Sara suggests we take a photo so we pose for the photo. After taking the photo Sara begins to ask me, “Is there any gorgeous man you would love to see here?” and before she can finish I look to my left and Joshua is standing there with a bouquet of two dozen red roses. There was no “event” going on. My boyfriend had flown all the way from Cape Town to Johannesburg to surprise me! As soon as I saw him I screamed and ran to him and jumped on him! I was so surprised and soooooo happy to see him after 5 long months of long distance. He was all dressed up and looked so handsome! As we were embracing I remembered why I love this man so much.
Sara and Masana went to the movies to watch a movie while Joshua and I had some time to ourselves. He took me for some lunch and we just talked as I tried to get over the shock of him being there. They really got me good! I was overflowing with joy. We all then went back to Sara’s and hung out for a bit. Strangely enough this was so serial for me because it was as if I never left. As me and my friends and the man that I love were all sitting in the living room just talking and laughing and debating I was overwhelmed by their love for me. It really reinforced the fact that no matter how far away I am and no matter how long I am gone for I will always have a home and a family here, people who truly love and accept me and want to spend time with me. It humbled me so much and just made me so grateful to God. That’s another thing! As we were talking I remembered how much God is the center of everything, every conversation, every joke, every debate, every comment. I just love how my friends are so unashamedly passionately in love with God. God is everything to them. You never have to try not to sound too Christiany or anything when you’re around them, you can just be authentically who you are and you are accepted. Its so beautiful…
After a couple hours Masana had to go because she was leaving on a business trip for China the next day. So we prayed for her and said goodbye. Then Joshua, Sara, and me all went to the shop and bought some stuff for supper. We went back to Sara’s place and made Mexican. We at sat at the table together and ate great food prepared by Sara, drank some South African wine, laughed a lot and just enjoyed each other’s company. It was a great day.
Right now I am on a plane to Cape Town. It’s Monday. Joshua went back this morning so I’m meeting him there. I will be in Cape Town for a few weeks then will head back up to Johannesburg for the mission. I’m super excited for what the rest of this trip has in store! I already am just so thankful to be back and having such a great time!
Love and Light,