Jun 27, 2010

Hopecoming Hijinks

This journey started with a visit to a place so unique, so off-the-beaten-path, that most travelers will have never heard of it.

Erin and I visited it for several reasons, but one of those was that this place like our future home in Tanzania.  It has a pre-British Colonial history that still has an influence on life today. In it's day this relatively small city was the capital of one of the wealthiest empire states the world has ever seen.  But even today, it's possible to be attacked by wild animals in the heart of the downtown.   

The other reason to visit Albany, NY is that it's been the launching point for every trip I've ever made.  My folks, and many of my oldest friends still live there.  We had a few other rounds of frantic 'Oh my God, this is the last chance to buy___ before moving to Africa' shopping sprees (following similar runs in Colorado, and followed by others in Amsterdam, Paris, and yet another 'last chance' opportunity in the cosmopolitan Cape Town. ).

We had a wonderful time, and it was the first chance Erin and I had to breath after our frantic departure from Denver.  We went hiking in the Adirondacks,  Mom threw us a Bon Voyage party, and Dad took us to a spectacular bridge over the Hudson river.  In Colorado they call it a river if you can't jump over it, so its nice to see what a river that nearly a mile across looks like. 

It was great to see so many old friends, and even better to see them doing well. 

PS) Getting pictures uploaded and organized from the road is still a challenge.  These pictures aren't linked to a broader album yet.  I'll fix these, and breath new life into my Flickr account , when I can sit down with a laptop and quicker connection.   

Jun 20, 2010

Dramatic Departure Demonstrates Devotion

We always knew leaving Colorado would be hard but we had no idea how hard.  A couple months before, when I put in notice at work, we debated whether I should take the last week off.  We thought it through, confident in the fact that we were already both better prepared than either of us had been before.  We weighed having the time to say goodbye to our home state casually versus the economics that one weeks income in Colorado is roughly comparable to one years rent in Tanzania.

So, it turned out, I made the first spectacularly bad decision of the trip two months before we even left the country.

Somehow life accumulates.  When Tyler and I moved to Colorado we both fit everything we owned comfortably in a small minivan but somewhere along the way I picked up enough things to fill up a small mountain kingdom.  Erin had even longer to collect things, including a small house that we simply could not fit in either backpack.

Suddenly two months was two weeks and we just barely got someone to agree to rent the house.  We both have tons of family and friends in Colorado to say goodbye to, and only one small box tentatively packed. Recognizing our predicament, I did the most logical thing... get into the worst bike accident of my life.  My right elbow hurt to even think about picking up anything the same week we had to pack an entire household into storage, which immediately preceded carrying our whole life halfway around the planet, all while scrambling to tie up loose ends from a full time job.

It was while drowning under this massive sea of stress that we discovered what we will really miss about life in Colorado.  While we started wondering if what would happen if we simply missed the flight, our people came out of the woodwork.  Neighbors, family and friends stepped up and spent long hours packing, cleaning, moving and keeping us alive.  We couldn't possibly have done it without their help.  As it was, we weren't able to stop moving for the last week, and even then it came down to packing our backpacks the morning our flight left.  If any one of our heros hadn't offered to help, we literally would not have made it.

It was an awe inspiring display of spontaneous community, and by the time we finally got to breath a sigh of relief on a plane flying out of Denver we were both in tears.  Thank you all so much, and you are why we already miss Colorado.