Sunday, December 7, 2008

Back in the USA

So I'm back in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, until January 8th. The first day was a bit of a shock to the system. It took a while to get off of Mozambican time and I hadn't managed to catch a wink of sleep on the 18 hour flight. As soon as I reached South Africa and everyone was speaking English, it felt like an alternate universe. People would say something and I would still be thinking of how I would respond in Portuguese. Hopefully I don't lose that in a month and a half. JFK was a good place to transition to American life. I bought myself a peppermint mocha chiller in the airport and thought to myself "welcome to America" while watching children with light-up tennis shoes and business men on cell phones. Only one word can sum it up - weird. I knew I was home though when I couldn't feel my face walking outside into the airport parking garage and I didn't have to sit above a herd of chickens on the drive to Wisconsin.

I had good news before I left Mozambique. I got my library grant proposal passed. This means that when I get back to Monapo in the middle of January, I need to start getting the secondary school library ready for renovation. We will be getting new bookshelves, desks, chairs, books, maps, a bulletin board, a filing cabinet, an HIV/AIDS mural and other security-enhancing features. Hopefully we can set the library up so that it's easier to research topics and have more space for the materials. Right now they have textbooks but not a lot more than that. I'm pretty excited to get that project started. It will be a lot of work but it'll be great to provide students with more resources and a better environment to study in.

I'm pretty excited about next year's projects and have been looking into getting material while I'm here in the U.S. I got a self-defense book to teach to my REDES girls - which is sure to produce quality stories in the future. I think they'll really be into it though and who knows when they'll need it. I am also going to try to get soccer balls, art supplies and just use the internet til my fingertips are sore.

Besides doing a bit of work though, it's amazing to be home for Christmas with friends and family. Both a lot and a few things change in one year. People look different, new buildings and businesses have sprouted in the city, a new president has been elected, new musicians and movies are all the rage. I still don't know what this Twilight and Robert Pattinson deal is all about. I love listening to the Christmas music, decorating the tree, putting up the lights and wrapping gifts. I really missed those things last year and realized how much I took the holidays for granted before. But this year, it's "A Lynum Christmas, Double Time." We are going on a family trip to DisneyWorld (I know) in January. We haven't taken a family trip for about eight or nine years so it should be interesting to see how the four of us coexist in a hotel room - which I'm thinking might be far more entertaining than anything Walt Disney could have thrown at a person. I just want to go on the Pirates of the Carribean ride. The trip promises to be anything but dull - especially since my sister gained my agreement to the trip by promising to tackle the Disney character of my choice.