Onwards & Upwards (or South-wards)!

We moved!

Actually, we moved back in January. We are still in Tanzania, we’ve just relocated to the Southern part of the country. To put in perspective from where we lived in Arusha…it takes no less than 2 days of traveling, either by car or plane (after landing there is still 6hrs of driving) to get to our new home. So basically, we are in the middle of nowhere.

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Area near where we live – Southern highlands, TZ

Ironically, our ‘new’ home is actually a home Colton’s Dad built back in the 90’s when they first moved to Africa. Colton spent the first half of his childhood in this house. The house has since been lived in and modified in the past decades by other missionaries. The family that was in this house before us were moving back to the States, and so it was available for us to live in. This was actually a huge blessing for us for a number of reasons, but I will try to briefly explain the story.

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Colton with his Dad – Africa 1990

First of all, the relocation was for Colton’s job. The opportunity first came up last summer. Having been to the area a few times (its near by Colton’s parents), I was well aware of the fact the location is less than desirable for anyone, even Tanzanians.

Although the town has a few nice shops and a produce market, the nearest place to get ‘luxury’ items such as butter, cheese, yogurt, canned chickpeas and ‘western’ produce like broccoli, cauliflower, squash, apples, green beans, is 6 hours away.

The area, Sumbawanga, is known throughout the whole country for its strong and effective witchcraft. That’s not to say everyone down here is involved in witchcraft, but rather some of the most powerful witch doctors have lived here for generations.

Since Colton grew up down here, and his company already had a presence here, Colton was the obvious choice to move to Sumbawanga.

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Colton with his Dad and younger sister – Africa 1990’s

So when Colton presented me with this opportunity, my first thought was ‘we have to go’. My response might be surprising given the location and my knowledge of it, but I knew in my heart that this was our next step. It was too ironic to be a coincidence – that Colton would be asked to move back to where he grew up – for work. Not to mention we would be only 2.5hrs from his parents as appose to 2-3days. In his later life of boarding school and college this would be the closest Colton has lived to his parents since he was 15.

I’ve always believed that if an opportunity is presented to you, take it. I also believe that we were not given this life to make decisions based on friends and comfort. Over the past 4 years we have made a lot of good friends in Arusha. Im not saying I don’t care about them or miss them. But what is life if we never take opportunities only because we are scared to leave our friends, comfortable home, and start over?

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Good friends in Arusha

To make a long story short, there were a lot of ups and downs after the initial decision of moving. Around October last year the decision was final, but no final moving date. There was a lot of moving pieces that needed to come into place first before we packed up our home and moved across country where communications are not reliable.

We went on our Christmas vacation still not quite knowing when the move would be, but expecting it to be ASAP.

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Christmas Vacay

When we returned from holiday it was finally decided that middle-end of January we would move…that was in like 2-3 weeks! We were able to get a home lined up to live in only to have it fall through the week before we moved. Colton’s parents generously spent 2 full days looking for houses for us to rent in Sumbawanga. Nothing. So only a few days until we moved and we did not have a place to live.

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Clearing out the house and packing the moving truck – Arusha

The house was basically packed. We were moving no matter what. House or no house. We knew this was what we had to do and believed it would all work out. We just had to have faith. Literally 2 days before we moved this house opened up for us to live in. We could not be more thankful or blessed.

We had a few more ‘last’ get-togethers with friends before making the long drive. We sent the moving truck on its way then stayed the night with two of our good friends. We are so thankful for friends like them.

We left before the sun was up. Colton drove his company car and I followed in our ‘new’ car. Both packed to the brim. 12 hrs to Iringa, where we stayed the night, and another 12 to our new home. We made it without any problems.

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The move – Day 2

Colton’s parents arrived at the house a few days before us to clean and do some touch up work. When we arrived the truck was just unloading its last item. It arrived half an hour before despite leaving an entire day before us! I don’t know what we would have done without the help of Colton’s parents. They stayed with us a few days to help get things settled, sew curtains, make dinner while we unpacked, etc.

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The new bathroom all set up – very important!

It has been non-stop since we moved. Colton’s work has picked up in full force and we have been able to spend some great quality time with Colton’s parents and youngest sister. Life has been so crazy these past few months but we have had no doubt we made the right decision to take the opportunity and move here.

Christmas – The New ‘Normal’

I realize I only post about the bigger events in my life. One day I hope to make a few random posts about everyday life here, or maybe do ‘A Day in the Life of Us’ post every now and then, but that might be reaching a bit too far for me at the moment! So until then, you will just keep getting one big post about a big event in my life every few months or so.

With that being said this post is about Christmas 2016 – Yes its a few months late, and yes, I feel like I recently just wrote about last Christmas with my sister here. But regardless, here is Christmas 2016…

As Americans, and Westerners, when most of us think of Christmas the thoughts of cold weather and snow, twinkling Christmas lights, gingerbread houses, Christmas music, hot chocolate, warm fires, cozy blankets, family gatherings and decorating of trees, the smells of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and other ‘comfort’ scents all come rushing into our minds in reminiscence.

Every year since moving to Africa (for 4 Christmas’s now) I have dreamed in slight hope that we will experience a Western-world festive Christmas season with my family. Every year I think ‘maybe this year we will have a ‘real’ Christmas again’, and every year the thought gets put aside until the next year.

Although there will always be a small part of me that wishes to spend the Christmas season back home with my family, and in a country that thrives from the holiday madness and festivities, I am so thankful and blessed for the life I have been given with my husband and his wonderful family.

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Stonetown, Zanzibar

The truth is, for most our holidays we are privileged to spend them in a tropical paradise, which has become ‘normal’ for our holidays. Thats just what you do. In fact, there aren’t many other options here! For Christmas our go-to holiday vacation is Zanzibar…and this is ‘normal’.  Who would ever have imagined?

Its easy to think of it as ‘just another trip to Z-bar’ and forget about how incredibly blessed we are that this is ‘normal’ for us. We realize this is a privilege that a lot of people will never experience in their life, and we hope to never take that for granted.

This last Christmas, we met up with Colton’s parents (who also live in Tanzania) in Dar es Salaam and spent a few days enjoying nice ‘Western’ restaurants that we don’t have down where we live, and laying on the beach.

On Christmas Eve day took a ferry through the Indian Ocean to Zanzibar where we stayed across the island at a simple Japanese-owned bungalow. The Bungalows were situated overlooking the white sand beaches and turquoise blue waters of the Indian Ocean. The food was home-cooked and fresh (fish, sushi, pasta). Special ‘family’ dinners were prepared for all guests on Christmas day and New Years Eve. We all enjoyed a home-cooked buffet, explanations of the traditional Japanese foods, live traditional Tanzanian entertainment, and personal greetings by the owner.

From there we spent a few days wondering the narrow, winding and historical streets of Stonetown. Each doorway has a story – most probably heartbreaking as they looked upon the beginning, middle and end of the Arabic slave trade and its after effects.

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Streets of Stonetown

The highlight of Stonetown, for us at least, is dinner at the open-air food market located on the ocean front. This is a perfect place to watch the sun sink down into the Indian Ocean while getting a taste of Zanzibar flavor.

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Sunset in Stonetown

We took far too many pictures on our Christmas holiday….no surprise there! Enjoy some of the highlights from our ‘normal’ Christmas holiday.

 

Worlds Collide

As I mentioned in my previous post, my parents came to visit back in August. Now, for most people, having their parents come visit is not that big of deal. Maybe if they are visiting you in a new city, or coming to see you and your new home for the first time after being married, even just hosting them overnight instead of them hosting you for the first time, or coming to visit you while studying abroad for a semester and seeing your new but only temporary life over seas.

Imagine all those scenarios combined into one.

This was a very big deal.

Although we have traveled back to visit my parents multiple times since living here, they had yet to journey across the large expanse of ocean and land to see our new lives and where we live.

So, I hosted my parents for the first time ever in my life (having them visit my apartment for the day while in college doesn’t really count). We (Colton and I) welcomed them for the first time as a married couple into our home we ‘built’ together. They came to see our new and not so temporary lives over seas for the first time…after 3 years of living abroad. We were able to share with them a large part of our lives that not only helped build our relationship when we were first dating, but has also built our marriage for the past 3 years. For the first time in 3 years we were really able to share experiences and stories with my parents that had no grounding to them before. They have always been supportive of us, but for the first time they finally understand our relationship. For the first time since being married (and living overseas) they can hear and see our stories without them being just words, pictures, and random places in the middle of Africa.

This was a big deal.

Of course, being the organized and planned person I enjoy being, I put together several itinerary options for them to chose from taking in consideration time, budget, intensity, and sanity. They chose the option I hoped they would choose. This involved literally doing everything we could possibly do from day 1 of arrival to the day they got back on the plane. It involved multiple forms of transportation from 10 hour car drives (in a little car with very loud tires), to domestic plane flights across the country, and ferry rides through the Indian Ocean.

I have no idea how I am possibly going to write about everything that we did while they were here. But there is one thing I can for sure mention about the trip…it was amazing. Completely wonderful. Not one thing went wrong (aside from finding out upon arrival after 10hrs of driving that our one hotel had no record of our reservation for some reason…not really an issue as we stayed at the place next door, which ended up being nicer and a better price)…so no issues…which for Tanzania is very impressive, especially considering the amount of traveling and cross country traversing we did.

I can also say with out a doubt that my parents are amazing.

Let me try to ‘briefly’ write everything we did…first of all, my parents arrived on the Turkish Air flight. This flight arrives once a day at 1:30am…thats 1:30 in the morning! Very early, or late. So with my heart pounding out of my chest with a mix of excitement and disbelief we picked up my parents from the airport. We arrived back at the house and went to bed around 3am. After a good nights sleep and once we all woke up, had breakfast and plenty coffee we started the journey. Keep in mind this technically is still the same day they arrived. It happened to be a Tanzanian holiday as well. Colton thought it would be a good cultural experience and ‘break-the-ice’ event to attend the local festival. This had every potential to be too much for someone who has literally just got off the plane and in a foreign, and very African country (we were the only ‘Wazungus’ (white people) at the festival),  but my parents loved it and we all had a great time!

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Waiting in line at the local festival for the Tanzanian holiday Nane-Nane, meaning 8-8 (August 8)

The first day here was a full day but definitely a good one! The following days we drove around Arusha, visited the sites and did some shopping. We spent a day at Maji Moto, a beautiful natural spring in the middle of a dessert.

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Maji Moto (Hot Water)

Colton had work obligations so couldn’t join us when we went on safari. We went to Tarangire National Park (about a 2hr drive from Arusha) and stayed at a beautiful tented camp that one of our good friends in Arusha organized for us.

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Getting ready to head back to Arusha with our wonderful driver and guide

 

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Mom and Dad enjoying the Safari!

We also saw lots of animals on the game drive including this amazing lion…

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Photo taken on my iphone looking through the binoculars!

The following day we drove 10hrs to Dar Es Salaam, ate amazing Chinese food, stayed over night and flew to Mbeya the following morning. We arrived by 8:30 am and were welcomed by Coltons parents. We piled in the car and began the long drive to their house…about 6hrs total!

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Excited to be seeing Colton’s family! First time since our wedding 3 years ago that our parents were able to be together again

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The whole crew in the car driving to Ted & Kim’s house! 6hrs of stories, laughter, snacks & a few bad roads

We made it down to their house without any issues and spent just a couple of days there. Everyone had such a great time together. I cant even explain how amazing this occasion was; my parents being hosted in Colton’s family’s home, in the middle of the bush of Africa, and having an incredible time. I had to take a step back and just take it all in. It was a strange overwhelming mix of emotions for me and a very humbling occasion of God’s blessings.

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Our parents all together at the top of the waterfall behind the Rabenold’s house!

We hiked the river behind the Rabenold’s house and had a picnic, Dad road with Ted on his motorcycle to visit some local farmers, Colton took my parents and I to the piece of land we own and ate fresh papayas, we visited with friends, and my parents for the first time got a glimpse of Colton’s childhood.

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Walking through Ted’s land in the Rukwa Valley

Time with Colton’s family went by so fast. They drove us back to Mbeya where we all stayed the night with some missionary friends after all going out for Indian food. The following morning we were on a plane flying back to Dar. We went straight from the airport to the ferry and went on our way to Zanzibar.

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Mom and Dad on the ferry to Zanzibar

Zanzibar of course was amazing. We spent 2 nights there and 1 full day walking around Stonetown.

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Love this picture! Mom and I outside our hotel in Zanzibar

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Dad on the tower of the old fort in Zanzibar overlooking the harbor and Indian Ocean

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A little dark but this is where we ate delicious seafood dinner our last night in Zbar! Beautiful view of the ocean, the old temple, the fort, and the most amazing moon rise I have ever seen!

We left on the early morning ferry and arrived back to our hotel in dar. After dropping off our stuff we went for the day to Mbudya Island (about a 20 min boat ride off the coast of Dar).

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Mom and Dad enjoying their well deserved vacation on Mbudya Island! 

That night we went to dinner at an authentic Ethiopian restaurant in Dar. This was my first time there. It was so good and had such a cool atmosphere. The following day we were up early to start our drive back to Arusha.

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Watching the sunset on our last night in Dar before going to Ethiopian food

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‘Addis in Dar’ Ethiopian restaurant was so good!

We had about 2 full days in Arusha to finish shopping, visiting, and meeting friends before my parents left.

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Dad and Colton enjoying some coffee at the Arusha Coffee Lodge

 

Coming to Africa for the first time can  be very intimidating and even scary to most Americans. It can be very difficult and challenging culturally, mentally, physically, and spiritually. Driving through villages of Masai living in mud huts and herding cows, having to use squatty toilets with no toilet paper and only a bucket of water to clean yourself, seeing children playing along the side of the highway in the middle of no where, (at times) having no power or water, being selflessly invited into a families house and offered chai while sitting on their more than worn-down couch and watching the children play on their dirt floor, swatting flies off the large pot of Ugali cooking over the fire. Seeing all these things for the first time after arriving from a place where everything is in the grasp of your hand, really messes with some people. They have mental breakdowns from not knowing how to process such a different world they never knew existed. This is what they call ‘culture shock’.

I never doubted my parents ability to handle this new world, although I was curious to see exactly how they would handle it. My dad has been to third-world countries multiple times so I knew he would have some familiarity with it. My mom, however, had never been to a developing, and in some areas under-developed, country. They both were champs at it. No culture shock. Full of questions and open minds to learn about the culture and life instead of trying to block it out and deny it, as so often is the case.

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My parents truly are amazing and I am overwhelmed by the blessings in life that we are so undeserving of every day. The fact that my parents were able to come visit and share part of our lives with us really is a miracle and I couldn’t be more thankful. This trip is something I will cherish forever.

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At the airport saying goodbye to my parents

There are so many great pictures from my parents trip out here and I wish I could share them all! Here are a few more from the trip.

A Few Months of Living Life

Arriving back from the US to Africa I flew into Nairobi, Kenya (instead of Kilimanjaro, TZ). There were several reasons for this: 1. The plane tickets are literally hundreds of dollars less to fly into Nairobi as opposed to Kili. 2. We were attending a wedding just North of Nairobi a few days after my arrival.

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In Naivasha, Kenya  (venue/Lodge for wedding guests) the day after arriving from the US…just a bit tired, but happy to be back with my man.

Colton drove the 6 hours up to Nairobi to pick me up. We stayed the night in town then headed up to the wedding the next day. It was a beautiful wedding with a lot of tradition as it was a marriage between a Kenyan and a Congolese. Lots of singing, dancing, toasts, and laughter.

We drove back to Arusha the day after the wedding and immediately started work the next day. Not much time to get over jet lag!

What is normally considered ‘summer time’ is actually our ‘winter’. Now we don’t get snow or below freezing temperatures, but living below a mountain during winter time does keep the air damp, cool & overcast. Houses out here are built out of cinderblocks and cement so although the actual temperature outside might be high 60’s the houses trap in the cool air. I end up spending most my morning wrapped up in a fuzzy blanket and wearing socks so I don’t freeze!

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Project I worked on during those ‘freezing’ days at home!

May through June were busy with work. Not too much excitement. Colton’s birthday was the 27th of June. I made him his favorite meals and dessert and (finally) was able to give him all the fun goodies I bought in the US for his birthday.

Colton’s parents and youngest sister arrived the beginning of July. They were moving back to TZ after being in Kenya for 2 years, then the US for 2 years. We had them for a couple of weeks before they went back to their home in the south.

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Not the best quality pic but only one I had of all of us!

At the end of July Colton had to make a last minute business trip to the South. I was able to go with him and meet up with his family. I stayed with the family while Colton visited work sites. We were gone for about a week. On our return we stopped and stayed a couple of nights in Mbeya to celebrate our (few days late) 3rd wedding anniversary.

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Utengule Coffee Plantation & Lodge – Mbeya, Tanzania. We stayed here to celebrate our anniversary 

Upon returning to Arusha I had one day to plan and organize my friends bridal shower. I held it in our yard and despite the party starting a couple hours late (due to transportation issues) it went great.

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Chocolate cake with raspberry buttercream and fresh raspberries & cake pops made from crumbs of cake and leftover raspberry buttercream. Yum!

The day after the bridal shower was spent getting nails done, picking up last minute printing (menus, placemats, programs), helping set up the venue and the rehearsal.

The following day was the wedding. I arrived early to help finish setting up the venue along with the other bridesmaids and friends. The bridal party retreated to a beautiful house to get ready, eat lunch, and take pictures.

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The bridal party’s dresses & shoes

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The bride & groom’s ‘first look’ before the wedding ceremony

The ceremony itself was short but very sweet. The rest of the evening was full of food, drinks, laughter, speeches, dancing, and special memories.

We left ‘early’ so we could get some sleep and prep for the arrival of my parents the following night…but more on that in a later post!

Here are just a few more pics from the last couple of months.

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Date hike with my husband

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Lake Duluti. We spent an afternoon here one day with some our friends in a little motor boat. You would never know a huge mountain is looming over us behind those clouds.

Goodbye’s, Hello’s & I love You So’s

Traveling from East Africa to the US is a long haul, and somewhat expensive. Fortunately, we have been able to make this an annual trip since moving out here 3 years ago. A few months back ( April to be precise) the annual trip home was at our doorstep. The past few times home have been for our siblings weddings and time has had to be split between States and families. This year things were a little different..

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Love looking out the window and seeing the world below me…there is so much to see and explore!

Due to work obligations Colton was not able to make the trip this year. There were no weddings to attend and no splitting time between families. Although I was bummed Colton couldn’t be with me, it was a great trip. For the first time in 3 years I was able to spend more than 1 week with my family. I had a whole month with just my family (and a few friends). It was so nice being back in Tulsa and seeing how much the city is developing and changing. A place that wasn’t quite the ‘cool place to be’ is now looking more and more urban, hip, and fun to live in.

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Tulsa 🙂 Not pictured: a million cool and awesome coffee shops, tea houses, food trucks, art galleries, beautiful Oklahoma spring weather 😉

My flight home first landed in New York. Since there are a limited amount of flights to Tulsa each day I stayed the night in a near by hotel and flew to Tulsa the next day. I arrived mid afternoon and was welcomed by the whole family, including my grandma and Aunt. We left the airport and went straight to my sisters soccer game. It was senior night- which means after the game all the seniors gather on the field with their parents and are recognized for their accomplishments. They all receive flowers and have their pictures taken. Its a very special night and I was so happy I was able to be there for my sister (especially since I wasn’t going to be able to attend her graduation in May).

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The family at Abby’s senior soccer game! (Just missing Colton, my brother and his wife)

The rest of my trip was full of different activities from spending the day with mom and helping her with a student pizza fund raiser at her school to hanging out, going to a concert, running the Color Run, and watching movies with my younger sisters and their highschool friends. I spent some good time with my other sister who is in college and starting her own baking/wedding cake business. She is very impressive and makes the most amazing cakes! I was also able to spend time with my brother and his wife, my sister-in-law and her husband (who drove up from Houston to see me), and my older brother. Of course quality time was spent with my parents, grandparents and a few close friends. We celebrated my birthday and of course, it wouldn’t be Oklahoma without some sever weather! Overall the whole trip was amazing and the only thing missing was Colton. He was missed by everyone but especially by me!

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All the sisters! (plus their friend creep’n in the corner). They surprised me with a ticket to the concert so I could go with them…best sisters in the world! 🙂

There were so many great photos from my trip home that it will be hard to share all of them. Here are my favorites. Enjoy!

Old Friends, New Ventures

March was a pretty full month for us. We moved houses, became first-time pet owners since being married, and my first college room mate and good friend came out to visit for a few days.

Moving houses was pretty straight forward. We love the new place, and although it has been several months since moving in, I think I will always be moving, arranging or decorating to make it feel more like home.

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The new house and yard. We love all the trees and space!

The dogs were bought from a vet in town. Since the new house has such a big yard, Colton wanted a German Shepherd for a guard dog . After being persuaded by friends that having only one dog is not a good idea because he will get lonely, we bought the 2nd dog..a little white fluffy Japanese Spitzer. He’s pretty cute.

My friend who came to visit works at a boarding school in Germany and since its not too far (compared to flying from the U.S.) she and one her co-teacher decided to pop down to Tanzania on their spring break.

Random fact…her co-teacher’s family (who are American) happened to know a mutual acquaintance of my family back home in Tulsa. But they only know this mutual acquaintance from meeting him while in South America on missions. What a small world!

The girls arrived on the KLM flight and we were so excited to pick them up! The last time I saw my friend was at our wedding, which doesn’t really count because we were hardly able to visit during all the festivities.

Since it was their spring break they only had a few days to spend with us before heading back to Germany. We made the most of it by taking them to the Masai Market for souvenir shopping, my friends bridal shower plus dinner out, a safari/game drive and a day trip out of town to Maji Moto.

‘Maji Moto’ means ‘hot water’. This is a natural spring in the middle of the dessert that is considered ‘hot’. The truth is the water really isn’t hot, or warm for that matter. But its not ice cold. Every now and then there is a current of warmish water that comes out of the underground cave/volcanic vent.

This is one of the most beautiful and natural places Ive seen here in Tanzania.

The safari was quite eventful. We were able to see several lions, including two female lions climbing a tree right next to the road. Tree-climbing lions (a rarity) have been rumored to exist in this park, but we, along with most people, had never seen them…until that day. It was very exciting for us all!

It was so great having old and new friends come out to visit. We love being able to share our lives with friends and family.

Crossing the Finish Line

At the beginning of this year we ran into some friends at the gym. After the casual chit-chat they asked if we were running the Kilimanjaro Marathon. Colton and I laughed and said no. I knew quite a few people participating in this event but since we are not runners there was no reason to entertain the idea….until our friends started explaining how fun it is and that really its more of a social event than a race. There is a 5k, a half marathon (21k, or around 13 miles – which most people run), and then the full marathon.

We left the gym feeling stoked up and confident about running the half marathon…which was in just over a month.

The training began.

To clarify ‘training’, what I really mean is of the 4 treadmills at the gym, the only 2 that actually work started seeing a lot more action. Unfortunately, running outside here is a bit culturally awkward. If I really wanted to run along the road it would be fine, but not being able to wear shorts...only long leggings (out of respect for the culture) is enough to make me stick with the treadmill indoors.

Since the treadmills have a 30 min limit, and there always seems to be a line waiting for the 2 treadmills that work, the most I was able to run was 3 miles/5k. This was my training for the race. Never mind that it was taking place at the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro with a higher altitude than where we live.

My goal for the half marathon was never to run the whole thing. Knowing my own ability I thought if I make it half of the half marathon I would be proud of my accomplishment.

The weekend of the race arrived. We were excited, slightly nervous, and seriously questioning our mental reasoning for why on earth we thought this was a good idea.

The race was in Moshi, the next town over. We drove over the evening before to pick up our registration, find our little hotel, and have dinner with a group of friends that were also running the half. They were much more serious about the race than us as they were all runners in high school/college.

The morning of the half marathon we put on our running gear, covered ourselves in sunscreen, and put vaseline on all the necessary places (according to all the marathon tips I read on blogs before hand, this was a necessary step).

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Colton pumped up at the beginning of the race!

Thousands of people participated in the race. The horn went off and the race began. I made sure to stay at a nice slow jog so we didn’t use all our energy in the first 15 min….especially since the entire first half (11k) were up hill. We made it to the top of the hill and the surprisingly hilly descent started. After 13k I finally needed to take a break. I had already surpassed my personal goal and was feeling quite accomplished. Colton kept the motivation up to continue running. Determined to make a decent time on the race I thought letting gravity help me run down hill would be a good idea. After several downward hills my knees were telling me this was probably not a good idea afterall. This was around the 16k mark. The rest of the race I walked 1k then ran 1k. My husband could have easily run the whole race but stayed with me and kept encouraging me to push a little further.

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The final stretch

We finally made it to the finish line. Most of our friends had finished long before us and were enjoying nice cold beverages and snacks. Our official time for the half marathon was 2hrs and 40min. Thats pretty slow but I was happy and proud of ourselves for finishing in that time since the most I had ever run was 5k and this was our first half marathon. There was a pool near by so the afternoon was spent swimming and recovering before driving 2hrs back to Arusha.

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So happy to be reaching the finish line!

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Just after crossing the finish line we received a medal, shirt, and water and I felt like I had forgotten how to walk!

We were a bit sore for a few days after the race but nothing that some good stretching couldn’t fix. The race was very enjoyable and I think we will run it again next year, but hopefully with a little bit more training!

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After the race relaxing by the pool. The water felt so nice after the 2.5hours of running/walking!

It doesn’t matter what goals you have set for yourself, whether big or small, as long as you cross that finish line and keep your head held high knowing you have done something amazing – you reached your goal!

I love setting goals and being able to look back and see where I started, where I ended, what I learned in between, and the inner pride I now have knowing I accomplished something that for me was a big goal, even if to others it might seem small.

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Proudly sporting our new shirts after the Kili Half Marathon 2016!