We are back in Uganda! Highlights from the US…

We have been back in Uganda for three weeks now, and it’s been a crazy three weeks!  We ended up having 5 “bonus days” in the US because our travel agent mixed up our tickets and had Muigai and Natalie traveling on a different day than Nathan and I, and the only tickets available were on the later date.  Then, when we were at the airport at 1030pm waiting to board our flight, they announced that the plane had been hit by lightning on the way to DC and they had to run some extra tests, so the flight was cancelled!  The 5 bonus days were a lot of fun and quite relaxing, but it did make the return to Uganda a lot more stressful since Muigai had to travel to Kenya for work the morning after we got back and I had to deal with two jet lagged children all by myself, plus try to catch up from being out of the office for a month!

In the last three weeks since we got back, we’ve also welcomed and oriented three new volunteers, tried to sort out numerous issues with a district scholarship that was given to one of our Ik sponsored students to study at University, and prepared for a team of 11 MCC senior staff and board members who arrive this afternoon for a week long learning tour of MCC’s work in Uganda.  But more about all those things in future posts….

For this post I want to write about some highlights from our vacation in the US:

“Don’t forget to bring me to the US!”
With my mom at her surprise party

My mom’s 60th birthday celebrations – technically, my mom is still 59, and she doesn’t turn 60 until the end of this month.  However, since Kelly and I will be on different continents, we thought it would be fun to celebrate over the summer when we were all home.  My sisters and I planned a surprise party for my mom with both local and out of town friends, and we actually managed to keep it a secret – it’s not a small feat to keep a secret like that from our mom!  Because the party was two months earlier than her birthday, she was genuinely surprised.  As a gift, we got her a complete family photo shoot in Harpers Ferry.  The children were all surprisinly cooperative and it was great to get some nice shots of all of us.  My mother is such a generous and giving person, she is always doing things for other people, so it was really great to have an opportunity to plan something meaningful for her.

All of us from our photo shoot in Harpers Ferry

My Dad’s retirement luncheon – at the end of March, my dad retired from Exxon Mobil after working for the company for over 37 years, although he is not completely retired from working and already has a job with a consulting firm.  It was very touching to hear my dad’s colleagues talk not just about his expertise and commitment to the job that he did, but also his integrity, his willingness to help his colleagues, and his reputation for always keeping his word.  On the day he retired, I wrote him a letter thanking him for his 37 years of hard work and explaining what his job meant to me – the stability it provided, the income that allowed my mom to stay at home for several years, and the example he gave us of hard work, responsibility, and humility.  Most importantly, even though he was very committed to his work, he always made his family a priority and that is definitely a value I hold dearly now that I have a family of my own.  Even though I’m 32, my parents are still my heroes in so many ways.

At my Dad’s retirement luncheon

Virginia Beach –  My parents took all of us (three daughters, two son in laws, and five grandchildren) to a few days at Virginia Beach, which was so much fun.  Natalie and Nathan LOVED playing in the sand and the ocean and we had a great time riding along the boardwalk in a four person bicycle.

Spending time with friends and family – this was definitely the biggest highlight of the trip – Natalie and Nathan had a great time playing with their cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and friends, and it was great for Muigai and I to have a chance to visit with and catch up with many people.  Although there were several people we were not able to see that we would have loved to – three weeks is too short!

So many other things…..my neice Briana’s baptism (Muigai was the proud Godfather), a trip to Six Flags with my mom, sisters, and our kids, visiting our home church (Church of the Incarnation), mint chocolate chip ice cream (I think I had this almost every day…yum!), Chipotle, Bowl of Good, grapefruits, summer berries, riding bikes and scooters, swimming, relaxing, good conversations, and many other things!!!

Heading to church for Briana’s baptism
Sidewalks are great!  Wish we had some of those in our neighborhood in Uganda
Playing on the slip n slide at Nana’s house
Natalie playing “church” with good friends Amina and Ivana – we had a great time staying with this family for several days – big thanks to Chris and Biliana for hosting us!
At Six Flags – even Nathan was able to go on some rides

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