It was go-go-go all last week. In the best possible way. That would have been the only way to fit all that had been planned in to the few days I had. I was on four planes, two trains, countless shuttles/buses/undergrounds. I slept in five different beds within six days.
I was traveling on my own, which meant I had to be alert nearly every minute--not in case of attack, though I'm pretty much always prepared for that anyway (I watch a lot of TV and have a pretty active imagination)--but watching for my bus/train/tube stop, watching the clock so I didn't miss my flight, watching for ways I could help my hosts around the house and really, truly show gratitude for the meals and beds and friendships I was given. (I could write a separate post on the things I learned about hospitality over this last week because these folks were truly outrageous...hmmm...maybe I will.)
I got to Nairobi ready to keep going. But, when I arrived at the hotel, thinking I'd meet the team around lunchtime and we'd pick up those who were flying in later and be off, I found out that we wouldn't be leaving for another day and a half--and crazier still: I'd have the entire day to myself. I don't know Nairobi super well, and I wasn't thrilled with the idea of exploring alone, so I sat down. Intending to sit for a few minutes before repacking my suitcase (to put the winter clothes at the bottom and change from a purse to a backpack.) And then I could feel it.
I could feel the throbbing pain in every single muscle in my neck, back, and legs from carrying a suitcase marked HEAVY by two airlines, a carry-on, and purse up and down stairs in to apartments, in and out of tube stations, to and from airports, on and off buses. Holy moly did I feel it. (Incidentally, I've decided it's probably in my best interest to get married before I take another trip like this. Only those willing and able to travel long distances and carry heavy bags without complaints while eating good food and making me laugh need apply.)
I could feel the spinning of my heart and brain from all that I had seen and experienced. All of the friendships that I had stepped back in to after nine years apart that sort of fell in to place without skipping a beat. (On more than one occasion, someone said, 'it feels so natural, you're being here." which is lovely to hear and felt really, really true.) All of the conversations I had, things I learned--about myself, about my friends, about trafficking, about UK/US governments, about God. All of the things that I had heard God say or felt the Holy Spirit affirm.
I could feel myself beginning to think/worry about what happens after this trip. Felt the urgency to process as much as I could, as quickly as I could, so I could develop answers, a strategy, a game plan!
So I sat in silence all afternoon, breathing deeply, listening, thinking, reading, writing, googling details of some of the subjects that had come up this week, stretching, and drinking lots of water.
And realized I have four more weeks...
Four more weeks of not really needing to know what day it is.
Four more weeks of rekindling old, and beginning new, friendships.
Four weeks without television.
Four weeks of spontaneous dance parties.
Four weeks of being gently nudged by the Holy Spirit to ask questions of myself and others, affirm the things seen and unseen, encourage those bravely tackling life and justice and their own brokenness.
Four weeks to use all of the space to read, journal, and respond to God.
Four weeks before I have to figure out an answer to the question 'so, what's next for you?'
Four weeks to figure out how to wrap much of this kind of lifestyle in to my life rhythm when I return to California. And begin--but by no means finish--considering the implications of this trip on the upcoming pieces of my life.
And, if this last week is any indication of the amount of friendship and adventure and learning and peace that is possible in seven days, then I really can't wait to see all that these next four weeks will hold.