- having more than one kind of cheese on board. (When every recipe that calls for cheese is made with Swiss... yeah... and, btw I HATE Swiss cheese... always have, probably always will)
- saying "Howdy!"
- the food here has absolutely no flavor and most of the produce tastes like water... I really never thought I was attached to my food... guess I am!
- safety. Here, everything you want to do that's "safe" costs extra money. If you want to pay for a taxi instead of a ride on the back of a moped it costs extra money. If you want a bottled drink instead of a cup of tea or "bottled water" it costs extra. If you want to go to a safe beach that's not known for riptides and muggings, it costs extra...
- shelf-stable milk and yogurt. Enough said.
- not being able to shop. OK, not like I went to the mall with Daddy's credit card before I left... but still, even a trip to the grocery store would be nice! I'd like to pick up something off the shelf and pay for it with real money! Everything on board the ship just gets deducted from my crew bank account so I never actually pay cash for anything.
- seeing the sun rise! It's usually been up for almost 2 hours by the time my alarm goes off
Things I don't miss...
- always carrying my cell phone around... checking the time, checking for texts, feeling obligated to text back
- eating dinner in the Sbisa dining hall and getting to know the student sitting down a couple seats... and knowing you'll probably never see them again. Here, you're bound to run into them several more times by the end of the day!
- the time wasted driving everywhere! Here I can eat, go to the bank, attend church, visit "Starbucks," go to "the gym," do my laundry, watch movies on a big screen, and hang out with people... within 6 decks and 500'!
- the one-hemisphere-ness of Americans. If it doesn't happen in the US, Canada, Mexico, or perhaps a well-known South American country, then it's not really important. Here, people talk about so many countries and have been so many places; my experiences and travels have helped me relate to so many crew members!
Things I love about Africa/Mercy Ships/the Africa Mercy...
- my boss Kathy. She's an incredible lady with a ton of stories and every day I learn something new about how she got to Mercy Ships and a random fact about what life was like after the Liberian civil war
- mangos and pineapple in abundance... family, these mangos put the little yellow Asian ones to shame!
- deck 8, standing at the rail with the morning/evening breezes... most of the time I take my A&M hoodie up there with me at night!
- wearing my Chacos everyday, everywhere. Ah, life is good
- walking down the corridor and hearing 15 versions of English!
- watching the Tour de France and World Cup via satellite TV. Who ever thought watching the back of a pack of cyclists could be a crowd-generating event!
- the ocean, the beach, and the soft sand between my toes
- saying "'mornin', Guten Morgen, or Hallo!" (depending on the person's nationality) to at least 10 people before I even get to breakfast
- my 8 year-old little girl British accent is back!
- a morning cup of tea with toast and Nutella (sorry, they don't drink Milo here, Dad!)
- testing all the cookie dough batches for botulism... I mean, someone's gotta do it!
- after this, I have to conquer only 2 more continents before I've been to them all! (I've heard there are Antarctic cruises that set sail from South America; I'd kill two birds with one stone! Anyone interested?)
Things I would love your prayers for...
- energy. The last week and a half have been really tough. I'm getting 7-9 hours of good sleep a night, but I wake up exhausted and have barely enough energy to stay awake through dinner. Don't think I'm getting sick, but idk what's up.
- patience and kind words with one of my co-hostesses. We don't see eye-to-eye on a lot of things and we have differing work ethics, so often I work alone and she works with the other girl left in the department. I don't mind--I'm getting a chance to listen to some good MP3 sermons and great music--but things are also a bit tense outside of work hours
- open heart to hear from God. He's teaching me a lot, talking to me a lot, and we're getting to know each other better... pray for faith that I can trust Him and follow Him where He's leading and I'm not sure I want to go!