Monthly Archives: March 2016

A cup of African tea


I’ve mentioned that I have recently started working at a refugee center where I help teach English.  It has been a rewarding experience and a place that I am happy to spend my time – the students and the staff are amazing.  I always thought by this time in my life I would be preparing to move across the globe where I would become a long-term missionary teaching ESL…I had hoped to be in Sudan, I do believe a big part of my heart stayed there.  Life is good at throwing us curve balls though, so obviously I am not exactly across the globe – I’m planted firmly in the suburbs of DFW.  Back to the tea story though…  Last week, a student asked if I could come to her apt. and tutor her.  She needs some extra help studying for her citizenship test.  She and her family are Sudanese refugees.  I have loved visiting her in her home over the last week and getting to know her and her family!  We have shared stories of Sudan and I have felt like I was right back there. But the best part?  The first day I was there she made me African tea from Sudan – the same tea I drank every single day when I was there.  It was my FAVORITE part of the day.  Sometimes I’d even manage to get someone to make it for me twice a day.  The conditions in Sudan were pretty bad…and we didn’t get to eat much…  At the end of long teaching days we were often SO hungry…  I had actually forgotten how hungry we were until I recently reread through my journal from that time.  But that tea?  It was divine.  I did not care that it was over 100 degrees outside – I’d sip that tea like I was drinking iced sweet tea on a front porch in a rocking chair.  And I didn’t care that it was always served in a glass and I’d burn my fingers and tongue every.single.time because I was too impatient to wait for it to cool.  I was all about the “tea time”.  My fellow missionaries didn’t share my love of the tea, but they went along with it most days because it’s “what you did” in the afternoons! ha!  When I think of my time in Sudan, I mostly have fond memories…(these are pictures of pictures from a photo album).

The classes we taught…




Check out the window on the right.  There were always village kids looking in!


Going to church or hanging in the village and being surrounded my all these beautiful kids that would sing and sing!  And also, try to look cool to have their pic taken…  They were fascinated when they would look at the pics on my digital camera after I’d take them.




And sometimes when I was teaching I’d get the strangest visitors outside the window…


We’d walk over to the banks of the Nile and watch the boats come in…you can see some crazy stuff down at the river!


And I even found this old rusty bike at our compound and I’d ride it around and around where we lived.  I was really into triathlons back then so this bike was one of my favorite things to do!


The day we left, I had someone take a pic of me and the other teachers drinking our tea.  I remember them laughing at me because I knew I was going to miss that tea so much!


Who knows if I’ll ever get back there…Maybe some day.  For now, I’m lucky.  Parts of Sudan have been brought to me in the forms of my students.  I recognize the smiles and languages and best of all… that TEA!


So Texas skipped winter this year…

Now that it’s March, I think all of us Texans are realizing we just aren’t going to have winter this year.  We’ve had 70s and even some 80s consistently since the beginning of February.  It is usually snowing around my birthday and Valentine’s Day – this year it was like 78 and perfect patio weather.  Oh well, that’s ok – as long as we don’t get killed with mosquitos this summer…


Yep, that’s us in the pool on February 1st.  What the heck?!

I rarely get my laptop out these days.  And when I do it’s usually to pay bills or work on our budget.  I’ve stopped reading all my favorite blogs and I even forget to check social media some days.  Weird, huh?  This last month our whole family got sick.  It started with Gage then moved to Cady then Milo and I both got sick at the same time (I was literally stuck in bed for almost a week) and then Matt.  Matt is actually just now getting over it.  I *think* we are all wholly healthy now so I’m counting my blessings for that.  Next week is Spring Break (seems early this year, right?).  The outreach center where I help teach ESL is also closed for Spring Break so I’m off, Milo is off, Cady is off and even Gage is off from school!  Matt is the only sucker that has to work – which is probably a good thing since we need to pay the electric bill and all.  We have ZERO plans because it is actually supposed to rain – just like last year.  Last year Cady and I went on a road trip and had the best time (posts about that here and here).  This year I think we will be home for the most part – watching movies, reading library books and working on a few organization projects.

Without further adieu, here are a few pics taken since the last time I posted:

Birthday Dinner for moi!



Bowling and hiking with my handsome huz:



Matt and Cady and their movie making shenanigans.  I will share a link to their “movies” soon.  I’m not sure if they have uploaded them to youtube yet.  I do know that another is planned for spring break.   They are HILARIOUS.



Spending my days with this little guy:


BINGO game from the dollar spot, library time, practicing letters, and a fun shadow puppet theater we made.



Hanging with the “bigs” when their schedules are free…  We actually had the chance to have dinner (just the 3 of us) recently – it was fun!


And also, we are in a competition to get the most steps during Lent.  Gage is our unofficial score keeper.  I’m winning even though I was down a week when I was sick.  I am so competitive and will crush those kids!



I’ve also been continuing my photography challenge.  I missed a week (week 8).  The only reason I missed was because 1. I was so sick that week and 2. the challenge was shoot a panoramic.  Meaning take a pic and then post process several pictures and stitch them together.  I’m NOT good at post processing.  Most of my photos are unedited and raw – what you see is what I took.  Hopefully I’ll keep learning tho!


Week 5:  Landscape – Black and White


Week 6:  Artistic – Candy (I love Reese’s peanut butter cups!)


Week 7:  Portrait – Faceless  Tell someone’s story without showing their face.  Obvi, this is Matt, my movie critic hubby…watching a movie. 🙂


Week 9:  Artistic – Shadows.  I created those shadows on the wall (this one is called Calvary for apparent reasons) by staging those craft supplies in a very specific and meticulous way.  This was a fun shoot.

Well, like many recent days, the forecast for today is sunny and in the 70s so I think Milo and I will head to our neighborhood park for a bit.  Tomorrow will be 80 – I’m thinking picnic at the nature preserve?  I want to soak up the sun before the rain starts next week.

Happy March!  And happy early spring to most of us in the South! ha!

Thanks for reading!