So, Tall, Dark Handsome (TDH) just left after a whirlwind 36 hours in Beira. He took a bus and hitchhiked across Zambia and Mozambique to get here. We spent yesterday at the beach and this morning walked to the airport so he could fly on to the next stop. He’s got a bit of vacation time before wrapping up his work in Lusaka.
The beach was perfect. The water was probably 80 degrees and it was maybe 75 degrees in the shade. We spent a couple hours lounging on towels talking about our respective health projects. I didn’t realize how much this last week was eating at me until we started talking. He’s got many months of frustration under his belt and gave me a great perspective: it’s easy to let this kill you. It is much harder and more rewarding to find the joy in life when death is around every corner. He said he loves the way the Africans deal with the tragedies in their lives — it is always okay to move forward, find your happiness and celebrate it while you have it in hand. If anything, he said living here has taught him to appreciate living in the moment.
We walked to a beachside cafe and split a bottle of wine and a grilled fish. A mosque nearby was just finishing services and we watched humorously a few of the men trickled into the bar to have a beer afterward, trying to be as discrete as a Muslim in a bar on the beach can be. Ice cream vendors across the street pushed their small insulated carts, ringing the bell at every pedestrian. Fishermen in the sea wiggled large bed nets, catching tiny shrimp and fish to later sell in the market. We enjoyed every drop of tropical sun and cool breeze knowing we’ll both be back in the Arizona heat before we know it.
Several hours later we took a minibus back to the volunteer house and ended up eating fried chicken, brownies and ice cream for dessert and watching “Nacho Libre” with the other Americans. It was a strangely familiar way to end an otherwise perfect African day.
Walking home from the airport today, I realized how conflicted I was to see him leave. I am sad because I have so few friends who want to talk about Africa, health, faith. Then again, I hadn’t expected to see him at all. And so, I will celebrate the happiness while I have it.
I have this cadre of sweet, smart, good looking men in my life who are all simply my friends. At times it is confusing, but I’d rather have their friendships than avoid them all together. I learn from each of them (and often something annoying about myself too), including TDH and Salty Senor, that the occasional nervous flutter is manageable. I still think it is better to put yourself out there and be willing to love no matter how silly the circumstances than remain safely on the sidewalk, emotionless.


14 Replies to “Journey”

  1. Oh, yes. Open your heart but keep it in perspective. Celebrate the moment – for it may not come again. That last line should be in a novel, Kel.

    And you have no idea how much your posts from Africa have made me want to grab my passport to come set up a nutrition program and a preschool in some remote village or the middle of a slum. Your presence matters. The work you are doing matters. You are a glimmer of hope for the people there and a dose of realilty for those of us at home. Hugs, my friend.

    Safe journey! L

  2. I agree with Senor Salty & TDH, live in the moment and find beauty and happiness at that time.

    It is tough to live by but I have learned in the past 2 years that I can’t change the past nor control the future but I can be happy in today and what today brings.

    Love, opening your heart and being vulnerable is a tough place for strong women to be but I have learned that opening your heart to what is before you and appreciate TODAY not what you can’t control about tomorrow is a very wonderful thing. Oh, and patience, that too is tough to be but again, I have learned that patience and finding beauty every day is truly a wonderful thing and also a blessing.

    Here’s to hoping you see TDH back in AZ.

  3. What an amazing post Kelli. Your posts lately have been like chapters in a book, I guess a book of your amazing life. I’m glad you had such a great day – even if it was conflicting. It sounds like you found a friend to help you work out what has been bothering you. Many hugs to you!!!

  4. Hope both those men read your blog!!! Sounds like you have great friends though. Keep the faith–and an open heart!

  5. I’m curious to know more about TDH. *giggle*

    But like laeroport says, it makes me want to come over and help. Though I don’t know what I could do and still maintain my marriage and get paid! lol! *sigh*

    I’ll find something here and continue to live vicariously through you.
    be safe

  6. Now is really all we have. And aren’t men wonderful? Even (especially?) if they aren’t our lovers. They have so much to give us, if we let them.

    Travel mercies and blessings!

  7. Sounds like a great day of enjoying the moment!

    It has been interesting watching Africans deal with tragedy. There is great sorrow, but acceptance as well. It’s almost like they don’t expect anything more.

    Kind of a flip side – while their low expectations keep them from “moving ahead” much to the frustration of some of us Americanos here, it also enables them to be happy whatever their lot and keeps them from the frustration and stress we experience.

    Big generalities here – there are major exceptions I know.

    Anyway, enjoy your time and best wishes on your trip back.

  8. i always enjoy reading your posts – and this was no different. its funny b/c i was just on the phone at 4am with my 84 yo aunt in india – and she told me the same thing – enjoy today! and she told me to remember that even after the longest darkest night there is always dawn. anyways – just serendipity – that conversation and your post. and i would love to have someone to talk to about other places, health, and faith 🙂

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