Thursday, December 28, 2006

Christmas Photo 2006

This is not your traditional Christmas pic, at least not mine. I thought it really typified the holidays in Congo: Me, a Chistmas Tree, and a fan. Classic.

Christmas in Congo

Well, apparently the holidays went pretty well for me considering I haven’t had a chance to blog for so long! Sorry to all of you who are waiting for emails from me…don’t take it personally, I’ve ignored all my friends, not just you! :o) I’m switching to the new blogger version, so hope it doesn’t throw any of us off too much.

Let’s see, where to begin…Guess I’ll tell you a bit about my holiday activities. It will come in several installments 'cause I've been busy...

On Saturday the 23rd we had a big party together at Dave and Teresa Bill’s house. The gathering was basically composed of SIL (Wycliffe) and CMA missionaries. Bet none of you were playing volleyball and badminton at your Christmas parties!
I basically ate food for 5 hours straight, keeping the great American tradition of putting on a few seasonal pounds. The best part about this is that Africans tell you if you’ve gotten fatter. I just smile and say “Yes, I know.” :o)
Anywho, we did a white elephant gift exchange and I got a Batman DVD out of the deal, so that was cool. The best part was that earlier in the day a med student from the States named Carol arrived and we’ve been partying together ever since. Today she’s on her way up to Impfondo to work in a mission hospital for a week.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Party time

Many of you have asked about my December 1st birthday here, a few assuming that it would be a sad day far away from home. Well, turns out, it was one of my best birthdays ever! I took the day off of work--it was on a Friday, so it turned into a nice 3-day weekend. I woke up to a dining room festively decorated by my flat mate Sabine. There was a gift on the table from Elizabeth, balloons hung around, a candle burning, and a gift certificate for a free dinner at the restaurant of my choice. What a lovely surprise!

My British colleague Gabrielle and I started off the day with pastries and espresso at "The Mandarin", a favorite restaurant just down the street. We stopped at the French Cultural Center to get the month’s program of events. Then we headed for the market where I bought some cute new shoes and Gabs shopped the used clothing section where we saw a lovely assortment of 80's American clothes. At one point Elizabeth called me from Nkayi and sang the happy birthday song, so I started dancing in the aisle and all the market ladies really liked it :o)

In the afternoon I took some cloth to my tailor to have a new outfit made. This is one of my favorite African activities, so I enjoyed that. I'll have to post a photo of the outfit 'cause it's my most classic African styled one yet. The Congolese men basically fall at my feet in adoration when I where it :o)

Last but certainly not least, I had a great party in the evening hosted by my dear colleagues. A big thanks to my teammate Byron who did most of the planning! We got schwarmas (kebab sandwiches) from the Lebanese restaurant down the street and several people brought salads and cakes. There were about 20 of us there, all SIL or CMA missionaries.

I made a haul in the gift department! My mom and sister had sent packages from the US (I’m still waiting for a few packages other people sent that haven’t gotten here yet!). I got seasons 1 and 2 of Arrested Development and DVDs of Babbet’s Feast and Elizabethtown, just to name a few. My favorite was getting photos of my niece and nephew and a note from Hiller—he’s learned to write since I’ve been here! Byron and Annette had “Supersize Me” sent here, so we watched it with the projector after dinner. No one else had seen it before and I think it made a big impression!

Overall, it was just a fun day and I felt very loved. Thank you to all who have sent me emails and notes!!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

This is not a joke

Oh my gosh, I am barely able to type this, I'm so excited! This is absolutely hilarious, my blogging friends. Oh man, this is good. OK, so there's this site with all these weird Congo t-shirts. Things like "I'd rather be in Congo" and "Happiness is being in Brazzaville." You can even get thong underwear with the Congolese flag on them! But this logo about made me wet my pants:

Can we say xmas presents anyone? :o) They mix in the Democratic Republic of Congo ones, though, so be careful of that.

Here's the link to the site (the rockstar shirt and some other good ones are on page 3). Search for your favorite country and I'm sure you'll find some gems:

OK, friends, I hope you are laughing as hard as I am right now. Phew, that was a good one.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Officially a Rock Star

Voilà, the long awaited concert report:

I did in fact sing in a concert on November 25th and it went very well!! I sent a prayer update just beforehand, worried about the fact that I got a cold and was all stuffed up and had a sore throat! And I was having people pray for weeks about me getting nervous because I was afraid of my voice being weak and wobbly. Well, the night of the concert I felt fine and I was totally relaxed! Praise the Lord! Thanks for praying!

The concert was held in a room we rented at the Russian Cultural Center. There were about 100 people in attendance, maybe 30 of whom were fellow expats. The musicians included the leader, Byas and 3 back up singers including myself, Brigitte, and William. Louz sang and played electric guitar. There were two drummers. Eric played bass guitar, Press played the acoustic lead, and Teddy was on piano. All these guys seem to have known each other forever and I think all are a part of the Evangelical Church of Congo, many of them having parents who are pastors or evangelists. They’ve all been doing music since they were little, some having received formal music education as well.

Anybody have advice about how to post a video to my blog?

I had a lot of fun performing. It felt a little weird being all dressed up √† la congolaise and trying to move to their rhythms, at the same time wanting to look at ease and trying to be myself. The musicians were obviously taking great pleasure in the event, which was fun for me to be a part of. My solos went reasonably well and I managed to spit out all the words to all the songs that were in languages I don’t even understand.

Life after the concert has been a little disappointing. As soon as it was over I just went home and basically went straight to bed. I haven’t hardly heard from anyone in the group since then. After having so many rehearsals together, always having some place to go and getting a lot of interaction with these new friends, I’m feeling somewhat abandoned. And now it’s looking like I’ll be traveling a lot this spring and going home for the summer, so we may not get another opportunity to work together in the coming year!

My life as a rock star was short lived.