Saturday, April 16, 2016

Maputo.

I made it to Mozambique.  I have to say…it’s not Zambia.  But it is a lovely place.  It’s a strange feeling to leave your life on a Saturday, a life where you feel grounded and connected and loved, and end up in a completely new place the next day where you don’t know anyone.  Maybe that’s why I feel so unsettled.  And tired.  Why do I feel so tired?  Like I just aged 10 years in one weekend.   I’m trying to be my yogi self and embrace the change.  But it’s hard.  My first few impressions of life in Maputo (and remember I have been here for only 5 days):
  • The ocean.  Maputo is on the ocean which is so nice after being in a landlocked country. I took a nice long run...along the ocean.  Ahh.  
  • Yep. I must learn Portuguese.
  • I went from living alone in my cute, little rondavel to living in a college-like dorm (not my favorite part of Mozambique life so far).  See?  I sound so old and fussy.  I lived in a village with no running water for 2 years.  Why is living with a couple of 20+ year olds so hard? 
  • They don’t have chai here which makes me sad.
  • But, they do have very good caipirinhas which makes me happy.
  • I did find out that there are yoga classes in town which is fantastic because I definitely miss my yoga. 
I suppose I’m just in that phase.  You know, the one where you feel like your old life was so good and this one, well, it isn't quite measuring up.  Give me a couple of months and I will probably be singing a different tune.  Mozambique this and Mozambique that…I won’t be able to shut up about how amazing it is!  For now, I will work to embrace the change.  And have another caipirinha. 

Flying into Maputo...it is a beautiful city. 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Changes.

I cannot tell you how much I love Zambia.  I never imagined when I moved here that I would stay this long…but now I have and I can’t imagine leaving.   What will I miss?!
  • My little rondavel house
  • Running early in the morning when no one is awake
  •  Friday afternoons with friends. Friends. I will miss the amazing friends I have made. 
  • Chitenge!  So much chitenge…
  • My yoga classes with the most wonderful students ever (see my previous post). 
  • Work. I will miss my work at JSI.
  • Daily power cuts (okay I don’t know if I will really miss these but I’ve sort of gotten used and will miss talking about them all the time).
  • Sundowners (and the amazing sunsets that accompany the sundowners)


Change isn’t easy.  At least it isn't easy for a Libra like me.  I am not great working through the transitions of life.  I love coming out on the other side but moving through the change?  That’s tough.  I have worked very hard to build a life that is wide…filled with people and places and work that is fulfilling.  But that has meant that change is inevitable.  As I prepare for another change I am so excited about the future but still working through the sadness of letting go.  It has been an honor to live and work in this great country, meet amazing and wonderful people who have helped me to grow and will forever be a part of my life, and don’t worry…I will be back.  

Mozambique.  I will see you soon.  

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

America.

I have to say that going home after a very long time is amazing.  And hard.  When my sister came to visit in October I started thinking that maybe it was time to make a trip back home.  I had missed 5 Christmases, too many birthdays to count, the passing of my good friend and mentor, kids growing up…and you know what I realized?  That time keeps moving forward.  People’s lives don’t stop when you aren’t around.  Which is how it should be, of course.  I have moved forward in my life here.  I share the things that I can and try to stay connected to the people that I love but as my youngest nephew pointed out, “Africa is far.”  Luckily technology makes it a bit easier and I’m grateful for that…at least I can text or call or skype with friends and family.  I’m not sure how people lived across continents without the luxury of social media. 


I had a wonderful time seeing as many people as I could fit into my very short trip home in December.  I also did some very fun things like go to the DMV to get a new license and get my passport sorted.  I drove on what is now the wrong side of the road and ate a bagel.  I shopped at amazing stores including my favorite store (yes, Walgreens).  I got to see snow and a desert sunset again.  I took really long, hot showers (more than one in a day…just because I could).  I also didn’t worry about my phone being charged because there was power all the time.  America really is an amazing place.  But you know what?  I sort of missed the chaos of Africa.  Somehow it sort of just makes sense to me now.

So, happy new year everyone (a bit late as I get caught up with life)!   

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

My Sister in Zambia.

My sister!  She finally made it to Africa.  I have to admit that I was a little bit stunned when she said she was coming.  This is a woman who works full-time and takes care of 3 amazing boys.  I just didn’t think she would have the time to make the loooong trek…but she did it and I’m so happy she did! 

Although our time together was short we managed to pack in a lot…I dragged her around to see some “normal” moments of my life here in Zambia.  We went to “quiz night” with my friends, visited my office, worked out at the gym, and spent Friday night at my favorite hangout spot.  These were the moments that I probably loved the most.  Having her see that my life here really is just normal?  I mean, yes, we have power cuts and women walking with buckets on their head but it’s just another city even though it’s in another continent halfway across the world.

But then, of course, we did the typical tourist things that you can only do in Africa.  Walked with a cheetah, swam to the edge of one of the 7 natural wonders of the world (Victoria Falls) and saw plenty of African wildlife (lions, elephants, giraffe…).  These are the amazing things that I am lucky enough to have in right in my backyard (well, a few hours away) and I'm also glad she was able to see what an amazing place it is here. 
  
It was a fabulous week.  I know it’s not an easy trip (lots of sitting in planes and waiting in airports) so I am so grateful and happy that she made the journey.  Now she can share with her family that Aunt Wendy isn’t crazy living in Africa.  And one day maybe the entire family will come and visit.  Maybe. J

Although she put lots of pictures up I have a few here as well!  Love you sis! xoxo


Friday, September 4, 2015

Yoga in Zambia.

I can’t explain to you how much yoga has continued to be such an important part my life.  I had the opportunity to stumble upon some yoga classes almost 15 years ago at a Gold’s Gym (yes, yoga finds its home in all kinds of wonderful places).  At this smelly, sweaty gym, I found my first yoga teacher.  She was beautiful and kind and strong and made yoga accessible to everyone.  When I walked into that room at Gold’s Gym to do yoga for the first time, I wanted to be more flexible (and maybe learn how to do a handstand).  But what I learned was patience and gratitude. 

We all have expectations about the kind of experience we think we should have (in yoga or in life).  I guess one of the lessons I’ve learned from yoga (and there have been many) is to not have so many expectations.  It’s hard when something doesn’t go the way I expected…a vacation, a job, a relationship.  Many people think I’m talking about not trying or having a goal but it’s sort of the opposite.  It’s more about finding contentment in the life that is occurring as you are living it.  Not making plans for what you think should be happening (based on some expectation).  Because then you can also learn how to let go gracefully when something is not bringing you true joy or contentment.

It’s hard.  But I keep practicing and I love that I have been able to continue practicing here in Zambia with an amazing community around me.  I think about my first teacher and her influence on my practice and teaching.  I teach in Zambia at the back of a French school in a very humble space (it isn’t even really an enclosed room but more just a slab of concrete).  But you can see the sun setting in the evening and feel the cool breeze in the winter or the intense African heat in the summer!  I’m content.  We all roll out our mats and breathe together and practice letting go of expectations (and swat away a few mosquitoes here and there). 

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Long Walk to Freedom

When I was living in South Africa I read.  A lot.  But for some reason I never read Long Walk to Freedom.  Anyway, I’ve been reading it this past month and I can’t put it down.  I bring it everywhere (and this is not an easy task because it’s a huge book which takes up a lot of space in my bag).  I’m not sure why I’m so interested in reading this story now.  I left South Africa over 3 years ago but I find myself thinking about South Africa’s history.  Living in such a divided world of black and white where the color of your skin defined your place in life.  Nelson Mandela tells stories about living in a world where you can’t move forward simply based on your race – it had nothing to do with your character or how hard you worked to achieve a goal.  It’s interesting because I felt this and experienced moments of discrimination living in South Africa but for some reason I’m finding that reading about the historical context is both inspiring and challenging.

Last week I went back to South Africa to help once again with an annual project in my Peace Corps community.  Bringing young girls from Johannesburg to visit the village where I lived.  I always feel so proud of the work that has continued in the community but I guess what I kept thinking about was that while South Africa has made so many strides in their walk towards freedom…there’s still a long way to go.  When I tell people that I was a Peace Corps volunteer in South Africa there is always a bit of surprise on people’s faces.  But the reality is that there is still great need in the country.  But what I love to see when I go back is that the country is taking ownership in developing and supporting the areas and people that need assistance.  It’s not easy.  Nor is it perfect.  It will take time.  But I feel honored that I’ve had the opportunity to continue to see the changes that will take shape over the days and weeks and years ahead. 

I suppose you always have a little bit of your heart that stays in the places you call home.  With the families and friends you have met.  That’s how I feel about South Africa.  So continue your walk towards freedom my beloved South Africa. 


Here are just a few pictures from my visit.  Love to you all!

Monday, June 29, 2015

People.

 So I’ve been thinking about my life and wondering.  You know how you just wonder sometimes.  Is this where I’m supposed to be?  Did I make the right decisions?  I was reading something in People (yes, this very highly intelligent reading material…) and they were asking about the sort of advice you might go back and give the younger version of yourself if you could.  I guess one of the things I wonder about is if I made enough mistakes…and not just small mistakes but big, ugly mistakes.  I know it seems crazy but I want to make sure that my life isn't too clean or easy.  I am already living a life that is way too good in comparison to most.  And it makes me crazy to think that I wouldn’t take a risk or fail in some way that made me a better person?  Maybe I’m feeling like this because I’m on the verge of making a big mistake (yes, it does seem strange to vocalize).   Maybe not.  Maybe I’m just feeling crazy because we are experiencing rolling blackouts here in Zambia.  It’s hard to say.  But I hope that I continue to make a few big mistakes in my lifetime.  And I hope you all do too. 


And all this from reading People.