I am prone to brood on occasion and yesterday I had given in without so much as an iota of resistance, I was just circling the drain. No, nothing happened per se, but I could not seem to shake feeling lonely and disconnected. Just then I received an email from my friend Michelle. She was saying that sometimes you get bogged down by the little things. What you need in such a situation is someone with whom you can really chew through an issue with to get down to the gristle of the matter. She is spot on. I have been missing my girlfriends terribly and it was starting to get to me. You know how guys tend to offer up simplified remedies that seem like a logical ‘fix’ but they rarely allow you to ‘get to the gristle.’ I was feeling a bit depleted. I miss my ladies and nothing recharges my batteries like a good dose of girl time. Glenn is a lot of things to me, but he isn’t a girlfriend.
So this morning I woke early enough to give myself a good talking to before Glenn got up. New day, new attitude, was my mantra. I walked down to the lake where I had intermittent cell service, opened up Facebook and the first message on my home page was from Charles Draghi. It read:
Four weary, cold, hungry travelers spent over three hours driving to our restaurant from Maine this evening. We're closed for business on Monday nights. But I turned on the ovens, fired up some pans, and gave them four courses of Christmas cheer. I had more fun tonight than I have in some time. Man, I love what we do!Top of Form
Now talk about generosity of heart, Chuck, is the chef owner of one of my favorite restaurants. To those of you traveling through Boston, check out Erbaluce near the theatre district; I can guarantee it will be one of the tastiest meals you’ll ever eat. Chuck, you made my morning. I am honored to call you a friend.
Then, I opened my email and read a letter from Jessica, my sister-in-law (I really don’t like that term, it sounds so stiff. She is more like a sister so that is how I think of her). Jess graciously went above and beyond helping us get Christmas presents out to our nephews on time. I am indebted.
And if that wasn’t enough heart-warming generosity for one morning, my other sister, Darcy (same sentiment as above, different sister), calls her sister in DC to help procure our visas which have been collecting dust on the desk of an overworked and under enthusiastic agent in the Ethiopian Embassy for a week now (despite their next day turn around claim), rendering us stationary and waiting it out in Kenya for an extra couple of weeks. Her sister in Washington made a couple calls and within minutes, we were receiving emails from DC saying that a guy is heading over to the Ethiopian Embassy (thank you O. H.) to “see what he can do.” It is a little nerve wracking to post your passports half way around the world with 4+ countries left on your itinerary, so you can imagine our relief when we learned that not only had the visas been acquired, but our passports were being posted directly from Washington DC back to us in Nairobi! B. M. S. you are the best; we are indebted to you. Thank you for helping us out, your generosity is so appreciated. Three cheers for you and your DC team! You’ve been instrumental in our continuing north and we can’t thank you enough.
So here you have it, just when I was beginning to wallow around in sadness, generosity, love and kindness dried up the muddy bog in my head.
These three examples are just a fraction of the love that has helped sustain us on our long journey. There are so many of you who have joyfully taken up the responsibilities we left behind. Michelle and Trent, I can hardly wait to see your beautiful, shining faces and soak in your love. Thank you for taking care of our house and running our cars, and charging batteries and everything else… and Trent, thank you so much for fixing the dishwasher. Holy smokes, what a blessing you have been and we haven’t even met yet. You love one of the most incredible women I know, for that I already love you and I so look forward to the day I get to thank you in person. Jeff and Lisa, thank you for sorting through the endless supply of campaign fliers and junk mail, turning off the water so our pipes don’t freeze and jumping to our rescue at a moment’s notice. Wow. You’re always there to help, we so appreciate you.
My girlfriend Mendy is responsible for keeping my garden alive, paying the bills I forgot about (oops) and keeping me abreast with pictures of the kiddos and updates from home. Your emails are always cherished. Thank you for blurring the distance between us. And to my dear childhood friend Jenny, you’ve been my recharge for months now. I would have never imagined reconnecting after almost 28 years, in Africa no less, but we did. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your letters, they were much needed. I can’t wait to hug your neck, slug down those bottles we’ve been writing about and meet your darling family. You are a delight.
Denise, my chicken savior, not only cared lovingly for my lady-birds - driving across town to do so - but moved them into a newly built Coop Mahal at her house and shepherded a new batch of chicks to boot! Under your watchful eye I have not worried about them one bit, thank you. Wow. I only hope to be able to repay you with a regular supply of homemade bagels, preserves and weed pulling, because I know you are going to have you hands full come summer. I can't wait to see your farm.
Aleeta and Dayl you are the best chicken rustlers I know…sorry about the poison oak.
Jessica, thank you for relaying all of my emails to Nana and Granddad. My Nana hasn’t been feeling well so knowing that my Granddad, Mom, niece Maria and Jess are stopping by and helping out while I am away has been such a comfort. Thank you all for your love and updates from home.
I haven’t even begun to scratch the surface when it comes to expressing our gratitude for the love and kindness that we’ve received while here in Africa. Toni and Lee, you guys warmed our hearts, setting the tone for the rest of our trip, thank you. We love you and hope that we’ll be reunited one of these days. Megan, Ryan, Nicholas, Molly, Vince, Wayne, Jennifer, Russell, Georges, Chris, Lyn, Stan, The Frenchies, Craig, Nelson, Sophia, Greer we are so glad to have met each one of you. Not to mention the countless Africans from South Africa on up through Kenya, who have made us laugh, think and question our way of being in this world. You have had a tremendous impact on us, changing how we’ve approached this beautiful continent and I can’t imagine a more varied and colorful experience. Thank you. We’ve heeded your advice and you’ve pretty much dictated our entire path. We’ve felt your love and hospitality every step of the way…thank you.
And to our Aussies, the two devilishly handsome young men who made our year, we love you. We had so much fun with you and we can’t wait to continue the adventure, summer 2012: Burning Man!?! Our door is always open for you and we better get invites to your weddings. I know, I know, I am jumping the gun, especially for Steve-o (given you are single and all...ladies!?!), but I am just saying that we don’t want the distance between us to matter anymore than a plane ride. Besides, we give good wedding presents.
And for the many, many kind letters, comments and messages from home. You know who you are but special thanks to: C. J., C. W., K. W., D. P., M. M., M. G., L. P., D. P., D. L., J. C., C. C., J. C., S. B., S.T., M. J., S. W., L. D., A. C., G. W., J. H., M. M., E. E., N. E., J. DM., R MG. and J. G. you’ve really touched our hearts. Your enthusiasm for following along on our journey has made all of the failed internet connections, uploads and technological mishaps somehow worthwhile.
Louise and Bill, you’re always up for a challenge. We certainly put you to the test more than once but we really appreciate you jumping to our rescue immediately after arriving home from a cross Americas flight. We appreciate you so much. And thank you for sending our favorite toothpaste all the way around the world (among other Christmas goodies). I couldn’t imagine being married into a better family.
And to my Mom, thank you for your candid letters, you have no idea how much that means to me...you give me hope. I am excited to spend time with you and Dad when we return. Thanks for all of the photos, emails and checking in on our little casa. We really appreciate it.
So my sadness, loneliness, longing, whatever you want to call it was quickly usurped with a good dose of love, unexpected generosity and goodness. I am extremely grateful for each one of you and don’t want you for a minute to think I have forgotten all that you do for us. You fill our hearts with love.
Thank you, thank you, thank you!