(Wrote this yesterday, then my computer crashed in the airport, but here it is now)
Today, exactly a year ago, I landed in Africa. I swear I have lived a thousand lives since that day. I’m not even sure I remember who that girl was that landed here a year ago. I was scared to leave all that I knew and loved, but sure of the Lord’s leading. Here I sit one year later and I’m not sure what to think about it all anymore. So much has happened since then – three different homes (not including the one I left in America), a language learned (well, sort of), visits from family, adventures learning to drive stick shift, overnight stays in a mud hut – heck, you’ve read all about them no need repeating. A world so different from my home and yet in a way it has become my home – I can’t even tell you how much of America I can’t remember anymore…and that is probably a good thing because the remembering just makes it harder.
To mark my one year away from home, I am going to visit some friends in Jordan. This is my first trip to the Middle East and I am told that Jordan is a 1st world country, so that plus the accompaniment of good friends is enough to draw me at the moment. Pretty soon I will be forgetting that Africa and Hyena town even exist 🙂
Just stepped off the plane in Bahrain. The plane where I was the only person whose skin was not “colored.” Don’t know the politically correct way to word that, but lets just say I was the one and only white girl on that plane. It was full of African girls around my age headed to the middle east to work as housekeepers. It was kind of mind boggling to see. As we stepped off the plane into the airport, I was immediately engulfed in a sea of black robes and head coverings. As if my skin color didn’t already cause me to stand out just a tad, the fact that I was wearing pants and my head was uncovered drew me a little bit more attention. Yay! I had been wondering what it would feel like to have everyone stare at you and identify you as the foreigner (**sarcasm** as this is my daily life in Africa).
Bahrain itself, which I admit I’m not really sure I knew existed as a country until I booked my ticket, is just a little itty bitty island, apparently an oil rich island in the Middle East. I am pretty sure I saw the whole country in one view from the plane window as we landed – it looked sandy and white. I googled it and technically it is 33 different islands with a total population of about 1 million. So vastly different from the country I just left. So, now I am in a country that looks nothing like the one I come from and nothing like the one I just left. I thought I had seen it all when I moved to Africa…and then I stop here and realize that I haven’t even breached the surface.
I have a 9 hour layover here and my first task was to check out which Western restaurants were available to me. The ones spotted: Chili’s, Starbucks, Caribou Coffee, and McDonald’s. As evidence of my very low class taste in food, I chose McDonald’s over Chili’s as my first Western chain restaurant meal in exactly a year. Oh, me and McDonald’s such a sweet reunion. I would have taken a picture of me devouring my quarter pounder with cheese, fries, and fountain drink (the ice of which I am pretty sure I shouldn’t have drank), but considering the amount of attention already drawn to me, I decided not to draw any more.
Now, off to Jordan!