Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Last year and This year

Recently, I scrolled through my sent box to read some old emails from one year ago—just because.

It was one year ago that Sara joined me at Nahumba. One year ago that we got lost out in the bush taking a back route to Sikalongo with a friend. A year now since we started meeting with two Choma friends for a refreshing women’s Bible study. And also a year since the first time we hosted our Zambian youth Bible study group.

On 23 January 2014 I sent a letter home as I sipped mint tea, listened to the train whistle through Shampande, and soaked in the peaceful morning before the craziness of the day. We were confirming details of an upcoming visit from friends in February. I had also recently test-driven a friend’s Toyota HiLux (I was vehicle shopping)...

a youth Bible study in our home at Nahumba one year ago

The past couple months I haven’t been sending regular update letters home (I figure they’d probably just get boring).

If I were to send an update home just now, I’d probably talk about stuff like the recent meetings I've attended for work, drinking tea from the new teapot mom gave me for my birthday, how happy it is to have Sara, Susanna, and Sharon all home now, the weekly prayer group I've been attending, what we’re going to serve to our guests tomorrow, the fact that our neighbor cleared ALL of our steps and sidewalks this morning after the four inches of snow we received last night (yes, I baked him cookies), as well as a few other news items, like Zambia’s presidential elections last week, and the fact that my car is parked in the garage (I love.love.love garages).

This year is off to a much different start than last year, but I’m looking forward to the adventures it will hold. Likely I won’t find myself lost out in the bush (however, I did find myself LOST in my own town a couple weeks ago when I returned from Michigan…). This year I can’t get together with my good Bible-study friend in Choma, but… I’ve been enjoying fellowship at a Spanish church in the area. Also, I am once again blessed to share a house with Sara (who would have ever guessed?!). This season of life isn’t as much a “hosting” season as my time at Nahumba, because working full-time doesn’t leave much time for inviting folks over, but we’ve still managed to invite a few periodic guests to our old half-a-house—and those are good times.

Guess this is all for today’s compare-and-contrast musings.


Monday, January 26, 2015


When we moved into our house, all of the twenty windows were bare. 
Needless to say, our life here is an open book for the entire neighborhood…

Grandpa would be proud of my handy job using my hammer and a few tiny tacks he left for my toolbox in 2008. Though my curtains aren't hung properly yet, at least I now have some privacy in my bedroom!

I love productive Saturdays :)

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


pictures from white Michigan

Currently we have a white Pennsylvania
(but it's dark outside right now so I can't take pictures)

it was pretty cold my last week or two in Michigan...

Friday, January 16, 2015

Michigan Meat Pies (Pasties)

Naomi and I have fun times creating things together in the kitchen. Before I flew back to the States at the end of October, I was already planning to have a pasty-making day. When I shared the idea with Naomi, she was more than happy to celebrate this part of our Michigan heritage with me (even though we're southerners). Unfortunately, we didn't have enough time to make pasties together those few days before I moved to Pennsylvania in November.

We postponed our pasty date until Christmas break. Finally, two days before I had to leave our mitten state, we made pasties.

oh yes we did (we wanted enough for the freezer-- they reheat beautifully)

No one in Michigan calls pasties meat pies, but... to me they're our Michigan variation of a food trail that's well-known and loved all over the world. Meat, veggies, spices-- wrapped in delicious dough (baked. fried -EEK!- roasted, or boiled). In Zambia we called them meat pies. In Michigan we call them pasties [pass-teas]. I call these food pockets YUM-- though I don't recommend the steak and kidney version (a Livingstone special), and I love the homemade versions way more than the King Pie versions...

Michigan pasties are a remnant of yooper [you-per] (um, that's a U.P. term... and UP is short for Upper Peninsula) miners. As history goes, the hearty pies were especially satisfying for hard-working miners on lunch break underground.

Traditional pasty recipes often have rutabaga. Although some folks enjoy their pasties with gravy, authentic pasties are served just as they are-- heated on a shovel in a mine if you please. As far as flavor inside the pie, the potato/carrot/rutabaga/meat filling is generously seasoned with black pepper.

I'd love to share our recipe with you, but, well... we didn't really use a recipe for the filling. We did however follow a recipe for the dough. [disclaimer: pasty dough is NOT health-food. This wonderful crust does make delicious, golden pies though!]

Naomi and I had lots of fun on our pasty day and we all enjoyed our pasty dinner, and I know the future (frozen) meals  will be well-enjoyed as well.

and... a little bit of Michigan cherry delight for dessert! yummm.

Thursday, January 15, 2015


just some of the items that found their way into my car...

I dislike packing and am always happy to have the task over.

Last week I packed my car with so much stuff I didn't think it would all fit!

Miraculously, everything in my piles found a space in my new wheels.

Monday, January 12, 2015


This week I returned to my staff accounting job in Pennsylvania.

These little beaded guys are a gift from my Nahumba neighbors...
whom I miss a lot.

The wirey, fun-colored animals remind me of
happy Zambian days.

It's good to have a touch of Zambia right here in my Pennsylvanian office.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

a little bit of Africa

a car almost identical to the one I recently purchased

The day after Christmas I bought a little bit of Africa right here in Michigan. You might be wondering how a used Chevy automobile reminds me of life in Southern Africa... but if you know your car facts you won't be wondering for long :).

*images compliments of Google. It's TOO cold to be out taking nicely arranged pictures of my "new" car. 
This morning it was 9F not factoring in the windchill.

ps- what I really wanted to buy was a Toyota Prado like Amos, but... there just weren't many used Prados for sale in Michigan...