Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Quick Update

I’m so exhausted right now! Good news is that I did okay on my second equine exam (not as high as I had hoped, but decent). Now finals will be just a tiny bit less stressful. I still have a ton to get done this week, especially since I’m going home again this weekend! I’ve got a quiz and a test, plus starting to study for next week’s big food animal cumulative final!

Things with Remington are going well. I’m getting more and more of my questions answered. He’s so sweet and we really get along well. He’s been attending a new weekly Bible study with some other people from my church back home. I like that he’s a part of it even though I’m not there and didn’t suggest it or anything – it’s totally his initiative and interest. I wish there was someone more spiritually mature he could trust and talk to. I don’t think he’s had much input from godly men with Christian worldviews in his life and no offense, but the young adults in our class just don’t cut it either.

I still haven’t let my heart go completely, although it’s on a much longer leash these days! :) I think I’ve come to a realization. All of my past experiences have just been crushes (some of them very big and serious crushes). The fun thing about a crush is that a relationship with that person is highly unlikely or nearly impossible for various reasons. Because of this, it’s a lot less risky to let your emotions have a foothold. You don’t have a real relationship with the other person (at least not a romantic one) and things aren’t going to escalate to a point where any major decisions need to be made.

I think part of the reason that I am so hesitant is that this relationship is REAL. I’m not dating Rem just to have a boyfriend. I’m asking myself questions that eventually all lead to “can I marry this man?” The possibility that the decisions I make now could have a huge impact on my future weigh heavily on my mind. And who says love has to strike you like lightning? Maybe an attractive, sweet, quiet man will let you know he cares for you. Maybe you’ll get to know him and want to care for him too. Maybe you’ll be good partners; maybe you’ll become best friends. Maybe sometimes love grows slowly. And maybe, being the careful and serious girl that I am, that is what is best for me.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Lots of Life

Whew!  It has been so long since I've blogged!  Sorry!  I just couldn't get all the Africa blogs up, so I decided just to publish the titles so I could write about what all has gone on since then!  It's only been a little over a month since I got back but, boy, have there been some changes! 

Remington, a guy from Oasis that I thought might be interested in me, invited a group of us out to the lake for the weekend.  It was so much fun!  I really like the jet skis!  When we were in the hot tub Friday night, he totally grabbed my hand!  Ok!  So those vibes were definitely real and not figments of my imagination!  Saturday night he and I were talking on the couch and he kissed me!!!  It was unexpected, but sweet.  My mind was working overtime that weekend!  It was a little difficult for me to digest, having just gotten back from South Africa as I was still getting over my little flirtation with Andre. 

We didn't really get to settle much that weekend, but were finally able to talk over dinner at Pei Wei on Monday night.  He said that he's always thought I was cute, but really started becoming interested in me when I went to lunch with him and his ex-girlfriend last spring!  And I've always thought he was cute, but didn't know him that well or always thought of him as someone else's boyfriend!  He asked how I wanted to handle things and I told him that I'd like to take things really slow due to my inexperience and the fact that school would be starting in 2 weeks!

Anyway, to make a long story well, shorter, we've been hanging out and talking for about a month now.  We said we were "casually dating", but neither of us were seeing other people and we basically treated eachother like boyfriend/girlfriend.  He is adorable and even got me a going away present when I left for school! :)  This past Sunday while I was at home for the Labor Day holiday, he asked me if I would be his girlfriend and I said "yes"!  I really like him, and while there are still some things I need to know more about before I let my heart go, I feel like it is going really well and am excited to learn more about him!

He is a wonderful, smart, and sweet man who totally took me by surprise.  I can't believe he really likes me!!!

Wednesday, August 4th

2:30pm (Missouri)
          Well, I made it back to the US in one piece!  The flights weren't too bad.  Colleen and I took some dramamine during our longest flight and got some pretty good sleep.  The food was worse this time, but the movies were working.  I watched Flicka 2 and Clash of the Titans and also listened to Keisha's album.
          As we got closer and closer to home, I got more anxious to be there.  I still would rather be back in South Africa, but if I can't, then I'd rather be back in Kansas City ASAP!  Two more hours of driving and we'll be there and I'll get to love on my precious puppy once more!!!

Tuesday, August 3rd

Monday, August 2nd

Sunday, August 1st

Saturday, July 31st

Friday, July 30th

Thursday, July 29th

Wednesday, July 28th

Monday, July 26th

5:56pm (SA)
          We woke up early to drive out to a farm to dart and skin test 9 buffalo.  I got to treat one buffalo's dart wound and get a blood sample from another one.  It was pretty cool.  We then drove about 3 hours to our next destination.  On our way there, we stopped at the world's tallest bungee bridge and both Kim and Colleen jumped!!!   There was also some really good shopping there and I bought 2 beautiful statues.
          Our accomodations here at Plattenburg Bay are amazing!  Probably one of the nicest places I've ever stayed in!  We have a heated 4 poster bed with curtains, a rustic tub and an incredible view of the mountains!  And the best part is that all the rooms here (and most everywhere in SA) take skeleton keys!  I love skeleton keys!!! All of the rooms are equally beautiful and unique.  I think I may want to honeymoon here!  There were drinks and a large bonfire out in the boma before dinner was served in a very classy, candle-lit dining room.  The staff here are super friendly and accomodating.  I am so in love with South Africa and may never want to return home!

Tuesday, July 27th

5:36pm (SA)
          This morning we worked for 5 hours darting and transporting 10 golden wildebeast!  They sell for around $50,000 US dollars each, so the staff were very unsure about having students help.  At one point, the general manager said to us, "I know you guys are just students, but we really need to hurry this along."  This just totally made him look like a jerk and a retard who had obviously never done this before!  Our work wasn't slow by any means and Bredan hadn't even darted another wildebeast to work on at that point!  Moron! 
          While we were waiting for the rest of the group to bring us the first wildebeast, we saw 2 ostriches mating!  The male did this silly little dance to get the female's attention and then totally ran away once it was all over!  Typical male!  And I guess after Brendan darted the final wildebeast, she decided to go across the dam!  Brendan was already whipping off his jacket to go after her in the hippo infested water!!!  She made it across okay though and I think we were all relieved that Brendan was able to stay dry!
          They also tried to send us out on a game drive without lunch!!!  We asserted ourselves at this point and ordered something before we left - we'd been working for them all morning and were starving!  This reserve is much smaller than Kwandwe and not as natural.  We saw rhinos (one with a baby!), zebra, waterbok, spring bok, wildebeast, giraffe, lions, nyala, antelope, and hippos!  I think I got some really great pictures!!!  Now I'm just trying to warm up from the drive before dinner.
          PS - there were 3 nyala at our door when we got back to the room - so beautiful!

9:41pm (SA)
          We had another braai tonight - lamb, chicken, and I even got to try a little ostrich meat!  We have to be ready early again tomorrow, so I'm headed to bed!

Sunday, July 25th

11:55am (SA)
          Brendan's family is so adorable!  Billie really took to Kim and she helped him make a pretty arrangements out of some nearby grass/weeds with his empty juice box.  Whenever he pulled something that he didn't particularly like or didn't want to use, he'd throw it towards the pond with all his might while yelling, "rubbish"!!!  So cute!
          This morning we got to do the elephant back safaris!  We each got to ride the elephants for about 20-30 minutes (shorter than normal since we had such a big group).  Vicki and I rode behind Corbin on Mokwa.  He is a 21 year old bull elephant who loves to cause trouble!  He is super stubborn and is constantly challenging the handler's authority!  He was named after a type of hardwood tree here in South Africa.  There are 2 other elephants here as well.  Taba means "happy" and he definitely lives up to his name!  Duma means "rumbling thunder" and he is the peacekeeper in the group.
          After our rides we took a walk with the elephants down to the feeding area/watering hole.  We stopped a few times to let the elephants munch on some sweet thorn and so we could take lots of pictures!  Feeding the elephants got quite messy!  There are 2 ways to give them their feed.  You can either drop a handful of pellets down their trunk (and they will get it to their mouths) or you can give them the "trunk up" command and they will happily lift their trunks and open their mouths wide so that you can actually place the food right onto their tongues!!!  It was quite a sight looking between two large tusks into a giant elephant mouth!
          We also visited the AEBS gift shop while we were waiting for the rest of our group to finish their rides.  I purchase a lot of beautiful things for entertaining at home in the future.  I can't wait to use them!

10:42pm (SA)
          After a very late breakfast, we had 2 lectures given by Brenden, followed by lunch.  His entire family is here and his mom made a wonderful chicken soup which we ate outside in the sunshine!  We had another lecture after lunch about bomas (corrals) and then headed out for a game drive.  We saw giraffe, wildebeast, blesbok, and antelope.  The drive ended at a beautiful lookout spot with drinks and fun conversation.  Andre pointed out some constellations and then we went to dinner where Brenden's mom prepared traditional boboti which was like a kudu mince meat pie.  It was pretty good, but dessert was even better!  A scoop of homemade ice cream surrounded by passion fruit yogurt!  Yum!
          We're leaving early tomorrow for another reserve so I'd better get to sleep!