was glad that my flight wasn't until 1 pm, but wasn't happy that
I hadn't found anyone to give me an airport ride. Once again I
had to order a shuttle.
I pack the night before, but since I had more time than usual
I left it for the morning. And then Christian told me that Paul
had to talk to me - before I was even done packing. And so I did,
and the news he gave me was shattering. I was sobbing and trembling
as I tried to concentrate on finishing packing, and getting it
done before I had to leave. The conversation had taken up time
I didn't have. Still, I needed to email out a prayer alert.
was hoping it wasn't too obvious that I had cried. I paid, and
waited for my shuttle. It came rather late. There was no radio
on, and I sat in the silence reflecting on the news and holding
back the tears.
at the airport, I had the challenge of having 4 bags to transport
to the check-in counter - no easy feat. I moved two bags, then
ran back and got the other two, etc. I was glad when they were
went through security, and still had quite a bit of time until
boarding. I could not get online, and so I talked to a trusted
friend and adviser on the phone.
arrived in Salt Lake City on time, but that's where I had to sit
at my gate waiting. Our crew was late coming in, and so we ended
up leaving half an hour late. The first flight was 2 hours, the
second to Denver 1.5 hours. Before we even took off, the pilot
told us that we would land in Grand Junction if we were unable
to land in Denver because of the weather. So I looked into the
Delta magazine to see where that was; still a long way from Colorado
Springs. I was just hoping we'd made it to Denver.
was tired and rested during the flight. It was dark when we arrived
in Denver, but it didn't snow. It was sure cold though! Minus
25 Celsius, i.e. minus 13 F. I picked up my bags, and had the
same problem of transporting them again. I had never rented a
car in Denver before, and was not happy that I had to take a shuttle
bus. I put one bag on top of another on each side, but it wasn't
working very well. And then I was outside in the freezing cold
weather. Two airport employees saw me struggling and came over
to help. I was so thankful! And then my shuttle stop ended up
being even on the very other end of the curb. I couldn't have
done it without them.
off the shuttle, I was glad I was at the right place. Thanks to
my Gold status with the rental agency, I could go straight to
the car. It was so cold! I had to move two bags at the time again.
Arriving at the car, I was very positively surprised to see the
car already running and all warm inside. Praise God! All I had
to do was to put my stuff in and my GPS up.
I pulled away I noticed that both side rear mirrors were covered
in ice, and it could not be moved. Not a good feeling to drive
without them. It was 8 pm, and I supposedly had a 1 h 15 m drive
ahead of me, from the north of Denver to Colorado Springs.
was not snowing at first, though the roads were partly covered
in snow. I couldn't tell whether there was ice, but billboards
warned drivers to go slowly. And so I stayed under the speed limit,
though I was faster than most cars. I had worship music going
and prayed the whole time. I just wanted to arrive, and the drive
seemed to go on forever. As I approached Colorado Springs, it
started snowing. It was an amazing sight as I drove slowly on
the streets of the city; the wind was moving the snow across the
street, and you couldn't see any lines on the ground. I stopped
at a gas station to get some basic stuff, and then went to find
my hotel; thankfully it wasn't too hard. I parked my car (not
realizing it was handicapped parking as the ground was covered
in snow), and went to the reception desk. A nice man worked there
who told me he worked also for a Christian ministry where he oversaw
got my room card, and realized that the rooms were really little
apartments, all with access from the outside. So I had to move
my 4 bags once again - 2 by 2 - from the car all the way to my
room. I was so glad when I was done. I was really impressed with
my room/apartment, though the first thing I had to do was turn
the heat up. It was 9:30 pm, and I was sure glad to finally have
arrived. I had some time left of enjoying my room before I went
to bed at a reasonable time.
past four days I've been attending the conference at H-Rock Church
in Pasadena every day, and it's been a tiring few days. In fact,
I have not been able to keep my eyes open even one meeting. And
for that reason I've missed some of what the speakers have said,
and twice I left early to get home.
I did get was that these next few months we'll be finishing our
transition, and June is the month for it to end. The importance
of relationships was also reiterated. Many more great things were
said that are now in my subconscious mind ;-).
met some friends again that I usually see here, plus unexpected
ones. Also, I'm always reminded of my spiritual mom Jill Austin
when I'm in Pasadena as I'd always see her here. She died two
I had lunch with the friends in these pictures. I enjoyed our
time of fellowship at the Cheesecake Factory.
it's late once again and I have to leave for snowy Colorado in
the morning. Maybe I'll be more inspired to add more next time
time in my beloved Harrisburg has come to an end, once again.
And once again it's time to say good-bye, until next time. For
a short 4 months our ministry office made its home there too (Bethel
is nearby), and I loved that. But now we're entering a new season,
and our office is in Colorado Springs now; hopefully for longer
I had the whole day at home, doing office work for the moving
of our office, plus some other needed paperwork - and packing
for my departure. I had the box with all our records to put into
my suitcase as well.
another short night, I finished packing this morning and said
my good-byes to the great hosts I'd had. My good friend Carol
showed up at 9:15 am, together with another friend, so we could
go have breakfast before going to the airport.
went to my favorite breakfast place (Bob Evans) and had a wonderful
time there. Then we went on to the nearby airport. After check-in
we still had time to sit down at the McDonald's there and talk.
Their love and concern for me touched my heart. They made great
suggestions that blessed my heart, and made me wish and dream
those could be put into reality. Then it was time for good-byes.
plane left just after 1 pm for Atlanta, 2 hours away. And I had
the most unique person sitting next to me than I've ever had.
It was a transsexual - I assume - who had not finished his transformation
yet. It was really weird to see this man in women's clothing,
jewelry and make-up, and he even talked to me as any normal person
would. I have never met anyone like that before, but it made me
kind of napped on this plane as I was very tired. When it was
time to land in Atlanta, it was pretty scary. The air was pretty
turbulent, and visibility was zero. I heard the wheels come out,
but you could still not see anything. I was praying! Just before
we touched the ground, the fog lifted. Relief!
we were late, and then our gate needed some time to be ready.
My hopes to make my connection started dwindling. Plus, I had
to wait for my carry-on plane-side.
soon as I had it, I started walking fast/running. Of course, we
had docked at the end of the D concourse, and my gate was at the
A concourse. Unbelievable. My hopes dwindled even more. I kept
on running, then took the train to the other terminal, then was
stuck on the escalator, and continued running. Out of breath I
arrived at the empy gate - but it was still open. I'd made it!
I sat down in my seat - I had an empty one right next to me. Since
I was late, I had to put my carry-on in the overhead bin a little
they had individual TV screens on board, and so I enjoyed this
opportunity for "cultural immersion" though I was tired.
And again, I had interesting people around me. The guy in front
of me had a big cage next to him; he had actually purchased a
ticket for his special cat that was on the way to a TV show in
LA. The one flight attendant knew him. I heard him share on how
many shows the cat has already been. Interesting.
we arrived in LA - finally nice weather - I went to get my carry-on
and wanted to return to my seat. However, this business-man looking
guy would not let me pass by. He was the only one blocking me.
His words were pretty mean. I then grabbed my shawl off my seat
from behind so I could put it away, and he punched me with his
ellbow on purpose because he had already told me I should wait
to get to my seat. I could not believe my eyes and ears! Incredible.
I was stunned.
the terminal I picked up my favorite McDonald's salad and filled
my water bottle and made my way to the luggage carrousel. I had
so much luggage I didn't have a choice but pay $5 (!) to get a
cart. Thankfully it was the first to come out, thanks to my frequent
made my way to the location of the supershuttle pick-up and got
my stuff off the cart. Then I had to wait for my shuttle.
was the only one on the shuttle, and so the driver did another
whole tour of all the terminals before heading towards Pasadena.
We left at 7:15 pm. I was amazed at how slow the lady drove. Everyone
passed by her, including other shuttles from the same company.
It was frustrating. Since I was tired, I decided to close my eyes
rather than be frustrated by her driving. It took us longer than
she had said to arrive at the hotel in Pasadena - about 50 minutes.
then I was really tired, but glad to be at the hotel. I checked
in, and had to pay another $5 for the guy to bring my luggage
to my room - which I was thankful for. I was so relieved to be
in my room! And so looking forward to taking my first bath on
this trip! I miss having a bathtub in Mali.
enjoyed the warm room, the peace, and the internet connection
and went to bed later than I thought I would. It was 1 am - which
is 4 am Pennsylvanian time.
I'm going to be transparent. If you can't take it, don't read
on. If you want to criticize me, don't bother. If I can encourage
anyone, it will have been worth it.
months of November and December were two "months from hell".
Attack after attack, crises after crisis, problem after problem.
By the time Christmas came around, I was barely holding on to
sanity. I was very disillusioned by people, and was done communicating.
I stopped blogging, facebooking and communicating. It didn't seem
worth it. I was done with people. And I was done with ministry.
I wanted to cancel my trip to the US in January. I didn't feel
like I could face people, including people that had hurt me. I
didn't want to see anyone, just wanted to hide in the mountains
of Austria somewhere.
I'm not the kind of person who acts upon her wants or feelings.
I act according to what is right, and I knew I had to come to
the US. I did not cancel my trip. But I traveled to America with
not only no hope, but no desire to find hope. I was tired of the
many prophecies that things would get better etc., people prophesying
what they want for you rather than what God is saying. I didn't
want any more of those "words from God".
Wednesday night I went to the service at Life Center. I was looking
forward to it, but when it started, I realized how bankrupt I
was spiritually. I still loved God with my whole being, but that
was all I had left. During worship I just stood there, unable
to sing aloud, though silently I told God how much I loved him.
Still, I was sick and tired of "church" and all that
a little jetlagged maybe, plus a few busy days behind me, I was
very tired and listened to most of the sermon with my eyes closed.
When the altar call came, I did not want to go forward at first.
However, after a potty break, I went straight forward joining
the others waiting for prayer.
had no expectations. However, surprisingly I could feel the presence
of God and my heart's longing for Him. The pastor's wife came
over and prayed for me, then the pastor, then the speaker, and
two ministry team members. The undesired prophetic words came.
flowed freely. At one point I felt the power of God come strongly
upon me and I managed to keep standing.
I sat back down, I knew I had been touched by God, but I felt
as discouraged and ready to quit the ministry as before.
something had happened within me. By the time I got back home,
I realized something changed. I discovered a seed of hope that
had not been there before, and that I had not even asked for (though
I had definitely asked God to intervene, save me and restore me).
I was looking forward to going back to Life Center for the first
meeting of a Youth conference. I chose a seat towards the back.
When worship started, I worshiped God with my everything, raising
my arms to heaven and singing out loud. I couldn't help but smile
at how wonderful He is. And His sweet presence started filling
me and flowing over me. It was so wonderful.
then the Lord showed me His heart for all the many people who've
hurt me over the past two months. He showed me that they are hurting,
broken people, and that it was not true that I was 100% responsible
for every bad thing that has occurred.
had compassion for them, and then the Lord showed me that it was
BECAUSE of His people hurting so much that I needed to continue
ministering - pouring out His heart and His healing and bring
restoration to His beloved church in the nations of this world.
And then I said YES to Him all over again, that I would do it.
With more attacks coming, more criticism coming, more people who
will hurt me, I said yes.
felt His pleasure sweeping over me. While I was wondering before
how I would minister in Europe in March and April, I suddenly
was excited again at the opportunities to pour out His heart and
see His people meet Him and be restored. There's nothing more
exciting! Where the vision for my book had died, I was suddenly
excited about its release again and the way it's going to bring
hope to people.
heart was filled with joy, and I just wanted to stay in His presence
forever. After an hour of worship, they transitioned to the next
thing of the agenda, but I felt I was done for tonight, and so
I went home, still worshiping God and loving on Him. He's so awesome!
I love Him so much. And I love the church here in Harrisburg.
Thank you, Life Center, for being such a blessing to me.
returning from New York last night, I was able to sleep in this
morning. At 11:30 I had to leave the house to meet up with my
good friends Carol & Terri in Londonderry. We went to an Italian
place for lunch, and then drove to Amish country together... to
Intercourse, PA, to be specific.
was a picturesque little town with Amish buggies on the street.
We stopped in an area with several shops and went into quite a
few of them. Unfortunately the Amish don't like pictures, and
so I could not take a few I would have loved to take.
three of us went into a little self-service restaurant to have
the famous SHOOFLY PIE that Carold had been telling me about for
a while. My curiosity had grown quite a bit, though she had also
made me skeptical whether I would like it at all. Terri didn't.
they had it in the restaurant, and this is what it looks like.
And if you can make the picture of the explanation bigger, you
can actually read it.
was nervous as I took my first bite, but then I liked it. I can't
say it's special in any way, but it's not bad. I should definitely
not have eaten the whole thing as it was surely many hundreds
the pie, we drove on to see whether I could see an Amish house
from the inside. But it's winter, and the middle of the week,
and everything was closed. However, it was time to return to Harrisburg
anyway as it was getting dark, and we had a meeting at church
to go to at night. And so they dropped me off at my parked car
and went on to church where I saw them again little time later.
If you want to know what happened at church, you'll have to read
the January 21 blog.
had two days for my first visit to New York City - Monday and
Tuesday - and my choice of January as the month to visit did not
seem very smart. On Monday the temperatures were in the 20s, and
so we were extremely cold. On Tuesday it was just above freezing,
but then it was raining all day and the snow everywhere turned
to water, and my feet were totally wet and cold; not a good feeling.
It's a miracle I didn't get sick as a result.
is my 4th time in Pennsylvania over the past two years, and every
time the topic of New York came up, as it's only a few hours away.
This time, it finally worked out. And my new friends Mim &
Ray were so kind to make it possible.
Monday morning we drove the 3 hours from PA to NY, leaving at
7 am. On the way, we dropped off my stuff in Harrisburg, at my
hosts' house where I'd stay after our return. We drove straight
to the Bronx where we'd stay over night and park the car. We unloaded
and then took the bus to go to the subway station, and then the
subway to go downtown.
was exciting to finally be in New York. We went to Manhattan and
met up with their friend who'd be our tour guide. We started walking
towards the Rockefeller Center. While many Christmas decorations
were still up everywhere, the Christmas tree there was gone; but
the skating rink was still there.
then made our way up to the top of Rockefeller Center to enjoy
the great view of the city. Then we visited Radio Music Hall,
and a little church, and went on to see the unimpressive UN building.
We made our way up 42nd street to go eat at Dallas BBQ. I was
amazed at the many lights and signs everywhere. It was exciting.
I wished I could have gone to a Broadway show. We had great food,
and then continued on to Times Square which was very impressive.
I loved it - including Hard Rock Café and Planet Hollywood
and an amazing Toys R Us. It was time to make our way home - after
picking up cheesecake from a recommended place at Grand Central
Station. Back home, I was thankful for a hot cup of tea and piece
we woke up in the morning, there was snow everywhere. After breakfast
we left relatively early to go see the Statue of Liberty. However,
Mim and I were separated from Ray, and it took us a while to be
reunited. No cell coverage in the NY subway!!!
time delay, plus more delays due to weather, meant that we arrived
at the port pretty late - thank God! Because instead of the first
ferry leaving at 8:30 am, it now was 11 am. It was very foggy,
and raining and cold. Unfortunately we had to stand in the rain
and wait in line - probably my lowest point that day as my shoes
were not watertight and I was wet and cold.
finally we got our tickets and went through security - worse than
the airport! We took the ferry over to Bedloe's island where the
Statue of Liberty is. There we had to go through security AGAIN
to be able to go inside the pedestal of the statue. If you want
to go up into the crown, you have to order tickets online three
months in advance.
security there was even worse - no backpacks, no food, no water.
There were lockers, but there was a malfunction and so we tried
to get in with our stuff; unsuccessfully. Mim sacrificed herself
and stayed behind at the restaurant.
remaining three of us went inside the pedestal where there is
a museum, telling the story of the statue. It was quite interesting.
We could also go up a little bit, though there was nothing to
went back out into the freezing weather and manged to take a picture
of the statue. Then we joined Mim in the restaurant to have a
cup of hot chocolate and warm up.
returned to the mainland and walked by Wall Street - it was way
too cold. I bought some socks and plastic bags - both to put on
and keep my feet dry in my wet shoes. We continued on our way
to Ground Zero. It's one huge construction site now since they're
building a new tower and who knows what else.
the time we were done there, we were pretty hungry and went into
a NY deli for lunch. It was an enjoyable experience.
heading home we tried unsuccessfully to find some postcards; should
have bought them on Monday when we saw them everywhere. In any
case, it was way later than planned, and our host was eager to
have us leave as she had an errand to run. I was disappointed
not to be able to have that hot cup of tea and slice of cheesecake
before starting our 3-hour journey home. Instead we stopped at
a fast food place and got the hot tea there - and had the cheesecake
upon arrival in Harrisburg.
Mim missed our conversation by sleeping half our travel time,
Ray learned a lot about Mali as we were talking for 3 hours. I
kept him awake so he could drive ;-). It was 9 pm when we arrived
at Mim's sister's place. Poor Mim & Ray had another 45 minutes
or so to drive home. I was glad to be in my new home and settle
into my room.
arrived in Shippensburg late Friday night after a long 20 hour
journey from Austria, including quite a few hassles at immigration
and customs. I was tired enough to go straight to bed - at a decent
US time, meaning it was morning in Austria. As it is with jetlag,
you wake up a couple of times during the night, but I still had
a good night's rest.
was thankful for a slow-going day on Saturday - except that I
had to go to someone's birthday party with my hosts at 1 pm. The
tiredness caught up with me there. I then spent the rest of the
day relaxing and catching up on computer stuff - which was nice
- as well as talking with my hosts.
Sunday morning I was thankful to sleep in and catch a ride to
church later. Arriving at church, I found out that I could show
a few pictures and give an update on the work in Mali for a couple
of minutes, which I did. I also showed them the toy car my kids
had made out of sardine cans and bottle caps to see whether people
would be interested to buy those, and that was very much the case.
So I later told my kids who were excited and started making more.
the service my hosts and I were invited to the family's house
that is coming to Mali later this year. We had a good time of
food and fellowship.
are our new friends joining us in Mali: Ray & Mim and youngest
daugther Julie. They'll be a great asset and blessing.
then returned home for a much needed nap, and later returned to
their house. They had their home group meeting, but due to different
circumstances only one person was there. So we had a nice evening
of just talking - and finding tickets to Mali for a great price.
returned home for a rather short night, looking forward to the
adventure of going to New York City tomorrow.
I finally went to the hair dresser's for my hair to be cut to
the right length again. They were already way too long. I feel
so much better with my new old haircut.
was nice to be walking around town for a while. I kept thinking
what I needed to buy to take to Mali, but there wasn't really
I went to my Mom's house, where I had dinner with her and her
husband. She later took me home to my grandmother's house.
was set aside for a day of rest, enjoying German television, and
packing. I've enjoyed the day, and wished I had a few more days
like this. However, I'm leaving early in the morning to fly to
construction manager is FINALLY working again after half a year
of no work. He's been working on putting up the roof between the
two houses, and then the tiles are next.
have also started putting in the pipes for the new bathroom up
on the dining hall building.
morning getting up late; it helps getting ready for the time difference
in the US, I guess.
had breakfast with my friend Beate whose birthday it was. It was
a rare treat to be there for her birthday; maybe the first time
ever. Her husband had made her a cake, but had to go to the office
and couldn't be there when another friend and I lit the candles
and sang for her.
gift for Beate was festive clothes from Mali that she put on right
away; she definitely wasn't used to wearing clothes like that!
friends came by, and time went by. I had planned to leave by noon,
but that wasn't the case. Then I remembered I had to go to my
brother's at night. So I said good-bye at 4 pm. But it won't be
long before I'm back to visit since my few weeks of ministry in
Austria are coming up in March & April.
was very foggy as I drove the one hour back to Vienna, but it's
a nice change to the constant sunshine in Mali so I actually enjoy
it. I went to a supermarket and bought some Austrian goodies,
and then to my brother's house. I enjoyed another evening with
my two nephews. At 8 pm I said my good-byes.
was glad to be home again, and to be able to settle down in front
of the TV set with my computer for an evening of watching German
TV and being online. The only downside was the freezing cold in
the room. I put on my one pullover, and constantly drank tea to
stay reasonably warm; the computer on my lap helped too. I went
to bed at my typical time of 2 am; by then it was 18.5 C (65 F)
in my bedroom since my grandmother turns the heating off over
night. Definitely time to go to bed!
morning our 11-year-old Daouda ran away because some of our other
boys had threatened him that they would beat him up once they
get to school. They're mean to him because of his stuttering problem,
and their behavior shocks me. It's really sad. In any case, Daouda
went to his family's house, and they called us. Paul went there
and Daouda came back home with him. Paul and Christian had a very
serious talk with all the boys, and I can only hope it brings
had gone to bed late, and was glad I could get up late. My friend
did not have to work, and so we were able to have breakfast together
and enjoy each other's company.
noon her husband came over with some lunch; Beate had a doctor's
appointment and couldn't stay. At 1 pm Sepp and I left to drive
to the school where he teaches an ethics class, and where he had
invited me to do a presentation. There were close to 30 students
in the class, all adults. I showed the video, and then we had
a Q & A time that went pretty well, though some didn't like
the Christian angle of the work. Most of them took a brochure,
returned home where we had about an hour before having to leave
again. We were both tired and lay down for a little bit.
4 pm Beate and I left to drive the half hour to Christian's home
just outside of St. Pölten. I've known some of his family
members for yeards, though I had never spent more time with them.
This picture shows Christian's Mom and sister. They had baked
beautiful Austrian "Apfelkuchen", and we had a great
time talking. Christian's Dad also showed up, though he had to
leave again, and then came back later.
so we just kept talking and talking and having a great time. We
also talked with Christian via skype, which was funny - him in
Mali, me in his house.
had a wonderful Austrian dinner, and some champagne to celebrate
Beate's birthday tomorrow. At 11 pm we finally decided it was
time to leave.
was amazed how foggy it was outside. It was a beautiful winter
(or fall) night. I had my GPS with me, but no power cable. After
a short time, it turned off, but we already knew the way home
- where we arrived pretty late. We had had a wonderful night.
all slowly made our way to bed; for me it was after 2 am when
I turned the lights off.
8 hours I woke up at 9:30 am in a very cold room. I was glad I
had the morning off. I was able to take a shower, unpack and get
settled, and write yesterday's blog. Time was going by too fast.
At noon I left the house to drive to my parents'. My Mom was cooking
one of my favorite dishes for me. I had a nice afternoon with
her and her husband. Just after 3 pm I left there to drive the
5 minutes to my brother's house, and finally see my new nephew
for the first time.
here he is - 20 days old Christopher Erik. A cute little bundle!
his big brother Maximilian who is now 2.5 years old. I had a lovely
time with my nephews and their parents.
6:15 pm I left to pick up Eva, and drive with her to Sankt Pölten,
which took about 40 minutes. It was pretty foggy, but we still
had a good time in the car. Before we knew it, we had arrived.
enjoyed introducing Eva to my friends Sepp & Beate and vice
verse. They are Amadou's sponsors, and so we talked quite a bit
about Mali, while we were having dinner together. At 9:30 pm we
had to leave to take Eva to the train station. We saw her off,
and then returned home where they showed me where I could park
the car for free for the next 36 hours.
home, we kept talking and talking until they went to bed and I
got on the computer to read and write. It's 2 am, so it's going
to be another late night, but thankfully I can sleep in in the
4:30 am Malian time they woke us up again and gave us a cup of
tea/coffee with a tiny pastry for breakfast. At 6:15 am local
time we touched down in Paris. My plane to Austria was leaving
at 7:15 am, which is extremely little time for the Paris airport.
Thankfully, we walked straight into the terminal - which is only
the case like 50% of the time coming from Mali.
then the mad dash across the airport started. In Paris you always
feel like you're going in circles. Going from terminal E to D
seems so straight forward, but it wasn't at all. I walked and
walked and ran to make it. I had to go through security, and then
they wanted to check my carry-on by hand as well. Thankfully they
were quick. I made it to my gate while they were still boarding.
I was happy.
sat down in my seat, and we were about to leave, when the captain
told us that there was so much fog in Vienna, that we would not
be able to land, and therefore we were staying in Paris for another
so I landed in Vienna just before 10 am. I always love coming
back to my home country, and it had been quite a while since my
last time. However, I was just passing through really, on my way
to the US.
Mom was waiting for me, and together we drove to her apartment.
There, a young man who visited us in Mali was already waiting
for me, since he had forgotten his cellphone at our place, and
so I delivered it to him.
Mom, her husband and I then went to my favorite pizza place, and
had a good time there. Then we returned to their place where I
showed them some Mali pictures. I was getting pretty tired from
my nearly sleepless night, and I still had plans for the evening.
So my Mom dropped me off at my grandmother's house at 4 pm.
spent some time talking with my grandmother - and the tiredness
really hit me full force. I had to pick up Eva at the sbway station
just before 6 pm, and so I excused myself and lay down for half
an hour, leaving the lights on, since I knew I'd sleep till the
morning if I'd really slept.
last looked at my watch 15 minutes later. Another 15 minutes later
a text message from Eva - my phone right by my head - woke me
up. She was nearly there, and I had to get her. I had slept very
deeply those 15 minutes, and felt a lot better.
drove my grandmother's car to pick her up and take her back to
the house. Earlier I had bought some lovely Austrian cake for
both of us. My grandmother was with us for another hour, before
she left to go to the theater. Then we sat down and talked and
talked, even solving some issues we have in Mali. At 10 pm I took
her back to the subway station.
then I still stayed up till 1:30 am. I had not been online for
a while, and wanted to get as much done as possible. I was writing
my blog, when my eyes kept closing, and I forced myself to finish
it. It was very cold in my room, since my grandmother turns the
heating off over night, and I snuggled under my comforter and
quickly fell asleep.
the seventh day of the new year, and I have not blogged yet this
year. So HAPPY NEW YEAR!
images were in my latest email newsletter from yesterday. For
those of you who don't know, I write it in English, and then translate
it to German and French. So we actually have three email lists
respectively. I'm actually looking for someone who could do the
French translation, as it's too much work for me.
"7 weeks of hell" in Nov and Dec ended at Christmas
with an awful bang that left me in quite a bad place. I did not
want to open another email or communicate with another person,
as there was so much negative stuff. So that's why I chose to
be silent for a while - on Facebook as well as blogging.
new year has started, and even with everything going on, I'm amazed
that I still find hope on the inside of me. Looking back over
my life, I realized that it is those sparks of hope that always
kept me going even when life was the most horrible imaginable.
It's a powerful force.
past few days I've been struggling with being sick and trying
to get rid of it before it really breaks out. So far, I've been
able to hold it at bay with Airborne, and have only had fever
and headaches. I pray I'll win without the rest of this cold breaking
was a very tough day because of an incident, and then yesterday
we discovered a serious situation. Thankfully, we were able to
sort it out with wisdom and grace and have made good choices,
at 11:30 pm my plane leaves Bamako to take me to Paris where I
arrive in the early morning hours. I have VERY little time to
catch my connection to Vienna, and the chance are pretty low I'll
make it. My Mom & her husband pick me up and take me to my
favorite pizza restaurant. Later I meet with Eva - the one who
was with us for half a year. On Sunday I finally get to meet my
new nephew Christoper.
pray for a safe, smooth trip, and especially for my health.
- Just before 9 pm I was finally done with my preparations;
I had needed every minute of it. One last time all the kids gathered.
First they prayed for me, and then I prayed for them. Then it
was time for good-byes and to leave for the airport. Paul and
Christian came with me, though I was driving. At the airport I
hoped out, and Christian drove themselves back home.
first Paul went to get me a cart, and I loaded my luggage onto
it. I pushed it towards the terminal entrance, noticing it was
a little hard to push. I then saw that one wheel was missing;
so I transfered my bags to another cart. Paul hadn't noticed!
inside the terminal, I was amazed at the long lines, and thankful
for my elite Air France status that allowed me cut straight to
the front of the line. I didn't have to wait too long.
immigration, they had their new security machine, and then the
new gate area. I went straight to the lounge, where the lady claimed
I had another hour until boarding, but I had reason not to believe
her. This is the only airport I know of where elite customers
get to board last, rather than first. And so I left the lounge
just in time. Only minutes after getting to the gate area they
started boarding, and I ended up far up front in the line.
was amazed when an escalator transported me down to the tarmac.
This is the first one I've ever seen in Mali! Another security
checkpoint awaited me at the bottom, and the bus right behind
it. So I waited for the bus to fill up and take us to the plane.
family of four entered the bus, and I realized they were Austrian.
So I addressed them and found out that they had done a round trip
in Mali. They didn't ask me what I was doing. Oh well. I gave
them some free tips about the Paris airport anyway.
was glad when I settled into my seat - 21A. After a while a couple
came, and they asked me to move up to 20A so they could sit together.
Of course! So I moved up. I stayed alone for a while until another
man came. He had 21B, as well as the other man who already sat
in21B. So the flight attendant went away with both tickets, and
came back telling the guy to sit in 20B, next to me.
the meantime I had noticed that the volume of my entertainment
system wasn't working. So I asked the new man whether he would
mind sitting in 21B, so I could also retake my old seat 21A, and
let the couple sit together in 20. Thankfully they all agreed
after I showed the couple the broken volume. I thought all the
moving around was funny.
had been waiting so long for the plane to fill up, that I was
actually done reading TIME magazine by the time we took off. Plus,
they had some issues with the conveyer belt for the luggage, and
so we left over 30 minutes late. It was after midnight. My hope
for catching my early connection in Paris dwindled.
was excited to find a movie in the list that I had wanted to see
- THE SOCIAL NETWORK. I really liked it! I was done watching at
2:30 pm, that is 3:30 am in Paris. I had two hours to catch a