Rwanda

Chris and I are finally in Africa!

As some of you know, I’ve loved Africa since undergrad and have visited three times before (South Africa and Swaziland in ’95, Kenya in 2002, and Rwanda and Kenya in 2005). Since my last trip I’ve been plotting, planning and looking forward to my next trip. I didn’t think it would take 8 years but a lot has happened in between.

We arrived last Friday night (after leaving at noon on Thursday) and have been on the go ever since. We are here with 3 friends from our church visiting the school we support (The Sonrise School), touring other ministries of the local diocese, and visiting other local attractions (like the mountain gorillas and Lake Kivu).

One week in and so far it has been an amazing trip. Below are a few iPhone camera highlights.

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Moving Day – Live Blog

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We got the keys to the new house this past Friday, November 16!!! Its sooooo exciting and sooooo pretty, if I may say so.

We spent the weekend leisurely moving stuff from the rental to the new house. (James sure has accumulated a LOT of new things in the last 14 months!) This is the strangest move…and neat at the same time.

We have 7 vendors and 1 utility lined up for today, with all but one scheduled between 9am and 2pm.
Blackmon Mooring – the recovery and restoration people
Star Furniture – sofa
Crate & Barrel – bar stools, desks, end table
High Fashion Home – 2 chairs, 3 side tables, 2 lamps, 1 desk chair
Best Buy – washer & dryer
Standout Designs – tv console
Mattress Firm – 5 mattress and box spring sets (1 king, 2 double, 2 twin)
Centerpoint Energy – gas utility

There is an equally long (maybe longer) list of deliveries almost daily between now and December 19.

But today is gonna be a bit crazy. Check back periodically for updates. Who knows, I may even figure out how to add pictures as it happens :)

UPDATE 1: Centerpoint man wins for first on site. Blackmon called and they’re on their way.

UPDATE 2: They put everything they took out on the truck. Even all the things we rejected (smoke, damage, safety for James. This is hard y’all. :(

UPDATE 3, 10:20am: Best Buy just arrived.

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UPDATE 4, 12:30pm: Blackmon Mooring just left. 3 hours to deliver, unpack, and frame up the beds. Amazing. Star Furniture also delivered the new sofa, and Best Buy installed the washer and dryer. It’s starting to feel more like we live here already, especially as there are piles everywhere ;)

Chris and I are relaxing for a little while. We’re still taking 4 more deliveries today. This is fun. What a way to spend Thanksgiving week!!

UPDATE 5, 12:40: No rest for the weary. The delivery truck just pulled up for the entertainment console (Standout Design) and High Fashion just called. They’re 30 minutes out. Just two more after that. One soonish and mattresses this evening. Oh I can’t wait to sleep in my own bed, in my own house. It’s been 418 days since we’ve done that!!!!

UPDATE 6, 7pm: Mattress Firm just left. Deliveries all done. Friends dropped of Thai dinner take out. I’m off to buy light bulbs, pick up the bedding from the rental and come back. We’ve gotten a LOT done today. The kitchen in 80% settled, Chris is hooking up the tv as we speak. Life is sweet.

I’ll post pictures in a while. Thanks for checking in today. The Phoenix has risen! :)

UPDATE 7, 9pm: The bed is made. The day is done. I love our new home. Good night all.

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PS. The tv is also set up. Clearly we’ve covered all the important bases.

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Overwhelmed with Choices

Like most people I have spent the last several months listening to the presidential candidates debate (though primary season was much more exciting in Texas, where the red meat of the primaries frankly mattered more, assuming you were registered to vote in The Party primary). And today I went to my local precinct to vote with James – where there we no lines and no waiting. It seemed surprisingly anti-climactic, given all the hype.

But what actual voting lacked in excitement, it made up for in seemingly never ending choices. Here is the poster of our sample ballot.Image

Not much has changed since Sarah visited on Election Day 2010, when she took a picture of a similarly sized ballot poster and said, “The sample ballot in Harris County, Texas is 2 feet by 3 feet in size and has approx. 150 races. It’s a little insane.”

It is insane.Insane because I like to think of myself as an engaged and informed voter. But I don’t stand a chance against that ballot. In reading the paper and watching the news over the last several weeks and months I can honestly say I have heard of very few of the people running for any of these down ballot races.

When doing some last minute research on my choices, I was reminded how difficult, actually how futile it can feel when trying to be an informed voter on a six page with three columns per page paper ballot (though the format is irrelevant).

Assuming you could actually find data on all these races – what the office is, what is its role in my life; then who the candidates are and what is there position/stance on relevant issues – there is honestly no way you could even remember all of the names and offices you had studied. And of course there isn’t that type of information readily available to the voting public.

I was also saddened to see that in many of these races apparently there aren’t even enough people that care to have each major party field a candidate. This state wide list of candidates makes me wonder is voting on all these offices really necessary? I’m not doubting the need for the office itself, just the cost and efficacy of voting on it.

There are many other (procedural) things about this election that have emerged for me this year, and maybe I’ll write about them later, but I just wanted to share my exhaustion at trying to be a responsible citizen today. (Btw, I refuse on principle to do a straight party line vote in the booth, too passive.)

But let me leave you with a happier thought. I hope we can all be proud to be Americans and be grateful for our freedom to vote, and for the men and women who have given their time, talents, and lives to preserve, protect, and defend this right for all of us. I am. Happy Election Day everyone.

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