Thursday, June 25, 2009

from England!

We are currently in Marlborough, England. We are staying at the Merlin Hotel Bed and Breakfast...named for the Merlin, who is supposed to be buried here. We just ate dinner at a pub sort of restaurant in the town. We are enjoying our mini-holiday in the UK on our way home!

I'll describe some sites we've seen, but first let me show two last Malawi pictures. The last few days were full of goodbyes. On Saturday night, we went with a LOT of other ABC missionaries to Delhi Dar Baar, a local Indian restaurant, for a nice meal out.

Because I know I have Brookhaven people reading this blog, here are some Brookhavenites, enjoying Malawi:

Becca and Emily, two of my favorite people at ABC! I'm going to miss these guys. We got to fly to Jo'burg with Josh and Emily (they are going to be back next year, they are just going home for the summer), which was great. But we both (by we, I mean Emily and I) started crying when we said goodbye in the Jo'burg airport.

Our first day here, we were exhausted! We both slept VERY little on the plane ride home. But we did drive to Wales to see Tintern Abbey. Here you can see the enormity of these Abbey ruins.

Isn't it beautiful?

We spent last night in Wells, England, at a B&B that let us look out onto the Cathedral Green (they have a old, famous Cathedral in Wells).

Today, we went to Blaise Castle. We took some video of our walk up to it for my grandparents, who are Blaises. I can't wait to tell them all about it. We are exhausted, so this is all I will write! We will be home soon!

Monday, June 22, 2009

We leave tomorrow! I absolutely can NOT believe it! I am so ready and so not ready, all at the same time.

We will be in London for 5 days, so I probably won't update. But I will update when I get home on the 29th...oh my goodness! I am going to be home with my family so soon! AHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!

Okay, I better end this post, because it is simply a meaningless burst of enthusiasm...

Sunday, June 21, 2009

2 days left!

We have only 2 days until we leave! I cannot even believe it! We have been so busy and will continue to be even busier. Plus, we have LOTS of goodbyes that are happening and will happen.

Here are some pictures of our empty living room:

this bed was picked up by the buyer this morning.

We are feeling a lot less stressed about the car situation. I'm not worried that it won't sell...because it will, eventually. We just wanted it to sell before we left, plus we will need some of the money pretty soon. Some of the money is our savings for this year, but some of the money is to pay our deposit on our apartment, our first month rent, etc. But I have good news. I just totaled up the money we have from checks (from ABC people we have sold stuff to), and it equals the amount we need to pay our apartment deposit! How amazing is that! So God is taking care of us, and our car will sell according to His plan, not ours.

Friday, June 19, 2009

prayer request

I have a really important prayer request: we still have not sold our car. I know I said we had. We had sold it to another ABC missionary, and that fell through. Then a Korean missionary said he wanted to buy it, and he wasn't able to get the money together (he just told us like 20 minutes ago). So now we will leave Tuesday with a car in Malawi. I am so stressed just thinking about it. It is hard enough to sell a car being in the same country...I don't even want to start thinking about having to sell our car from across the ocean. So please please please start praying. We are both already so stressed with packing and ending everything here, and the car is just one more big stressor!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

goodbye's are hard!

Yesterday was the last day of school! There were a LOT of tears. It was really hard to say goodbye to all of our students. The hardest moment was when one of my students mothers started to tear up...that really got me! We have both loved all of these kids so much, and it was so hard to give them the last (hopefully just last for now, maybe we'll see them again someday!) hug.

At one point, my camera was stolen by the 9th graders. The following picture is a great example of the first 10 pictures on my camera. This is Nell, who I absolutely love and am going to miss SO much!

Here's Chloe, one of my 8th graders. I am going to figure out some way to see her in the next few years because she lives (well when she's home on furlow and vacation) in Canada.

This is Caroline, another one of my 8th graders. She's moving to Botswana this summer!

The two boys with glasses are Shea (his parents work at the college) and Adam (from Zimbabwe, his mom teaches at the Academy), and Amungwa is hiding out in the back.

This is Charlotte, Nell's little sister. She is my best ballet student (well in the youngest class)!

As if goodbye's at the school aren't hard enough, we have had to start saying goodbye to other ABC missionaries. The McDonalds and Dehnerts are leaving this morning for a missions trip to Austria. So last night the Dehnerts came over to say bye, then Janelle and Amber came by today to give us goodbye hugs. I don't even want to think about next Tuesday and having to say goodbye to everyone else, especially the Ketchums. It is going to be a sad day!

But we are also so excited to see our family and friends. I know I will probably go through culture shock, but I will be so excited to see my parents and brother and sisters.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

1 week left!

Alright, we are in full on countdown mode! 1 week left! We have gotten a lot done, but there is still more to do.

We have sold our car and our table. We both turned final grades in today. We have somewhat packed. We are moving in with the Ketchums on Saturday (because we need to give our beds to the buyer then), so we need to be all packed by then!

The past few days have been totally filled, but very fun. Awards day went really well. Here are some of my girls getting their awards: Catarina (Portuguese), Shannon (Zimbabwean), and Se-gyo (Korean).

On Saturday, I worked on yearbook while Bech helped slaughter pigs. Ugh! Then we went to a "braai" (South African word for a cookout) at some South African friends of ours, the Le Rouxs. We had a great time spending time with this sweet family!

Then on Sunday, we went to church with Lucius. His family goes to the Catholic church in Kauma. Well this Sunday was a special Sunday, so they went to a big church service celebration at another church. Seriously, everytime we visit a Malawian church, it ends up being some sort of special celebration Sunday-->which means twice as long of a service!

The first funny part of the day was when we pulled up to pick Lucius up. We figured it would be Lucius, his wife, Esther, and his two daughters, Tadala and Jesca. When we drive up, we see three other women and two other children with them. I say to Bech, "I think they are planning on coming with us," to which he answers, "No they aren't...they wouldn't even be able to fit." Oh but they did! Jesca sat up front with me, Bech drove, and 4 adults and 3 kids sat in the backseat.

Then we got to the church. The service was from 9 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. Part of the reason it was so long is that there was a parade of sorts where everyone followed the priests around (but the priests were under a tent) and sang songs. Then everyone would suddenly stop and kneel. It was very strange. I have lots of Catholic friends and have been to mass many times, but they have never done anything like this in America. Please fill me in, if you know anything about this.

The best part of church was that the President (His Excellency Bingu wa Mutharika) was there. He spoke a little at the end. It was really cool to be that close to a President.

We then went to Lucius' home to eat lunch. We stopped and bought some soft drinks and a bag of Malawian chips. Tadala loved the chips, as you can see in this picture!

Here he is: His Excellency Bingu wa Mutharika!

Here is Bech at our interhouse athletics day, last Friday. He looked hilarious!

Here I am with Annelise Stauffacher. Bech and I worked at the records and certificates table.

We will be home soon!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Today was awards day. Everything went really well. Already, though, I am having to say goodbye to students! :( Today, Cynthia left to go to England. She is going to boarding school there and the terms are different dates than ours. So I believe she will start school next week sometime.

Tomorrow is my last day with Geerten and Shalom. Geerten is just leaving early to spend the holiday with family in South Africa. Shalom's family is moving to Blantyre. And Josh and Jessie are already gone! I am going to miss these kids so much!

For you Brookhaven readers: I went by the Chinchens to welcome Claire Cox and Mary Gwen Lynch (and their friend). They are here safe and sound! They are in the "we just walked off of a 24 hour plane trip into a 3rd world country and we need sleep and to feel normal" daze...I remember that so well!

Mary Gwen's grandfather, Ed Williford, and his wife Sally have been here at ABC the past two weeks. Ed is on the board of ABC so he came for college graduation. We have loved having some fellow southerners here with us! They leave tomorrow and will be taking back 2 bags for us!!! Wow, what a blessing! We are extremely thankful!

Speaking of the Willifords, we were able to have them to dinner one night last week. Sally walked in the door and said, "I can't tell who you look more like, your mother or your father." I wish I could explain how that felt! It was amazing! We have gotten so close to everyone here, and we love our friends here so much. But at the end of the day, they (or most of them) don't know the things that make us "us": our families, our towns, our college, our favorite restaurants and stores, our churches, our elementary schools, all of the experiences throughout our lives that have shaped our personalities. And obviously the most important thing from that list is family. My parents came to visit and people said, "Oh, you look like Marley." But I look like them! And I loved being reminded of that by someone who knows my parents!

Needless to say, we are ready to see our families! I can't wait to hug my parents and my siblings. And I really can't wait to see my Nana and Papa. They are the best grandparents ever and it has been so hard not to see them for a year!!! Nana, Bech is already asking if we can go blueberry picking when we get back. Also, I want to learn how to can.

We will see you all soon!!!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

2 week countdown!

We are at the 2 week mark. 2 weeks from today, around this time, we will be landing in the Johannesburg airport and saying goodbye to Josh and Emily Ketchum (at least we get to fly to South Africa with them).

We don't have much left to do! I am working on Jr. High awards day certificates. Our house is almost empty of furniture and everything is strewn on the living room floor, waiting to be packed.
This week is our last full week of school, and it's not even technically a full week. On Friday, we have an "athletics day" (which is just the British term for a field day), so we don't have any classes. Then we have next Monday, and grades are due that afternoon. So Tuesday will just be a fun day, because grades have been turned in. And Wednesday is our last day of school, but it's just until 10. So we only have 2 1/2 hours of school.

Many of my students are leaving. Several of them are going to boarding school in South Africa, others to the British school here in Lilongwe. I have one student going to boarding school in England. The other day she looked at me and said, "I am excited and sad at the same is that possible?" I feel like that perfectly sums up how Bech and I feel. I am so excited to go home. I don't think I could say it enough. I miss my family so much. But at the same time, I love this place. I love my students. I am starting to feel comfortable here. I am just a huge mix of emotions all at the same time!

Finally, because I know how much more fun picture posts are, here are some pictures of some students at ABCCA. These aren't my Jr. High kids, just some of the other kids that I love and will miss!

Here's Mrs. Ketchum's 3rd grade after recess the other day. I absolutely adore this class. They are just so much fun!

Megan is in front. She did ballet and is in the 4 year old reception class. She has the funniest personality! I think she is the greatest. Today she "plaited" (as she called it) my hair. I wish I could take this little girl (and so many others) home with me, so you all could meet her! You would absolutely adore her!

Here is Megan again, joined by Simone and Kara. Kara is the one sticking out her tongue. All three of these girls took Ballet with me. Simone is a giggler but semi-calm. Kara is another story. She is always all over the place (in a good way). She has boundless energy and boundless hugs.

Thanks for all of your prayers and support. We just got our May report and were blown away by your generosity! We were short on our support in April, and expected to be short in May again. But, wow! Ya'll are amazing!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Okay, false alarm on the's not back on! But we did have a prayer answered...we sold our car! I feel so relieved. That was a big issue. We sold it to another missionary on campus, which helps her out (we lowered the price) and us out (we get US dollars, not kwacha!).

Actually, I am feeling a whole lot less stressed as of today. We had a sale with some other people leaving, and sold a bunch of stuff! We set a goal of how much we were hoping to make (enough to pay our rent here), and we made it! The to do list has now gotten significantly shorter. All that is left is grades, finishing up yearbook (and I have gotten a bunch done this week!), and packing! And now that everything extra is out of our house, packing will be a LOT easier.

Today was the college graduation. It was really fun to go to. It was super long, but I still enjoyed it. Like I said in my last post, it is fun to see the culmination of these students hard work. These students worked so much harder than most American college students, as far as paying school fees and such. I actually took pictures at this event, so I will be posting them soon. Not today, though! I am tapping into the next houses wireless (so I am standing in the kitchen) and it is NOT comfortable! Plus, the internet is even slower than normal from this location.

Anyway, I feel like I have been posting so much lately. I think its because I am using blogspot as a procrastination outlet!

Friday, June 5, 2009

We have internet at home again! Yay! Ya'lls prayers sure do work quickly! I am actually posting this at school.

Last night was the senior banquet for the college. I forgot my camera, but I am going to get some pictures from friends who brought theirs. It was so great. Sometimes, because I spend almost all of my time at the academy, I forget about the college. And that's why we're here! We help the college run by providing a school for the college professors children. And, of course, the academy has turned into a ministry of its own. But we are here for African Bible College! Many of the seniors spoke. I loved hearing how thankful all of them are to be graduating from ABC. Many of them talked about struggling to pay school fees, and how God provided for them! We enjoyed the evening so much!

We got done very late, though, so I am exhausted! By late, I mean 10:00, so we were home about 10:30 to 10:45. But that is late for us! Except for driving from our old apartment to campus, I have never been on the roads that late at night.

I just got done with a fiesta for my 8th graders. We had a blast eating chips and salsa.

All that's left on the list today is a quick trip to Lucius house, potluck, and the College Band Finale. Plus a nap!!!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

as promised, here are some ballet pictures:

becca and i with alice ann and ruthie jones! i absolutely LOVE these girls (and their whole family). john, the dad, is from richton, and emily, the mom, is from ft. payne. they are moving to indianola next year, so we will get to see them! i have already made plans with their 4 sweet children to hang out in the grove. only alice ann is in the ballet class, but we couldn't leave ruthie out!

some on my youngest girls: charlotte, bess, megan, martha, and simone.

on a side note, pray for me not to go absolutely insane!!! there is a problem with the internet, so we don't have it at our house right now (its okay most other places on campus). and i need it to work on the yearbook! ahhhhhh!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

We will be home so soon!!! Aghhhhh! That is such a crazy thought.

We have been insanely busy the past few days, and I think its going to just keep getting busier here.

Let me give you a rundown of our life lately:

Friday (May 29th): Ballet and Band Recital...done! It went really well!

Saturday (May 30th): Bech helped out at a school fundraiser in the morning. I went to the high school graduation in the afternoon. We went out to eat with friends that night.

Sunday (May 31st): Bech went to church and then the college baccalaureate service. I worked on yearbook all day...literally, ALL day!

Monday (June 1st): I went to the Northstar awards last night. It was really great, but sad! Everyone is leaving!

Today, we have a farewell luncheon after classes. Then I need to start packing and keep on working on the yearbook!

Wednesday: Bible study, Liwonde house practice

Thursday: Ballet party! We are watching High School Musical 3 and hanging out. Then we have the college senior banquet.

Friday: Potluck

Saturday: we are having a yard sale!

Not to mention, we have school, grades due soon, we are still working on selling our car! So please pray that we will get everything done!