Wednesday, July 11, 2018

are we ready for Africa yet? // pt .2

By far, the most stressful part of the entire trip were the days leading up to actually leaving.

Pre-trip anxiety. It's too real. There was a time or two when I just had to stop, take a short walk, and pray. That helped.

Those days entailed:

- Staying on my empty university campus because almost everyone else had left.
- Trying to stay sane despite of the above fact.
- Trying to set up a team bank account with my co-leader. (adulting at it's worst)
- Running to Walgreen's for Malaria pills and mosquito repellent.
- Many stops at Wal-mart for last minute supplies/gifts for the missionaries.
- Paaackinggg alll offf thooose thiiingsss.
- Weighing the baggage.
- Waiting for my team to arrive.
- Saying, "Okay, NOW we are ready for Africa!" but then realizing we had ten more things to do.
- Hoping that my new phone would arrive before we left for the trip, because my previous one got RUN OVER BY A LITERAL CAR.
- (it did arrive)
- Being driven to the airport and remembering why I hate LAX.

It wasn't until we successfully had our baggage checked in that I felt a wave of relief, immediately followed by excitement.

Guys. We're, like, heading to Africa.

It took a while to get there.

Los Angeles ⟶ Dublin
Dublin ⟶ Ethiopia
Ethiopia ⟶  Malawi

The plane was comfortable, nobody got lost, and I got to watch Black Panther again. Can't complain.

I don't think I'll ever forget my first hour in Malawi. Walking off the plane, getting our Visas stamped and seeing a giant grasshopper thing on the wall that nobody seemed to care about, and meeting our hosts for the first time at baggage claim.

Oh, and then there was the drive to Lilongwe (the capital city, where we'd be staying).

First of all, it was beautiful. Second, everyone was in the road. 

I unfortunately don't have any pictures of the highways. Children, goats, bicyclists, chickens, women carrying things on their heads, and businessmen wearing suits were all just walking right along the roadside. Men were selling things right on the highway, hoping a car would pull over and make a purchase. They were selling things like roasted mice on sticks (a special treat over there), little puppies (those were alive, don't worry), and sugar cane.

I saw some villages for the first time, too. Communities of small thatched huts built with red brick, complete with outhouses, goat pens, and roaming chickens.

I don't know what I was expecting before I landed in Malawi. I knew it was a third-world country. Wikipedia had told me it was one of the least-developed countries in the world. But, even knowing that, I was still stunned by what I was seeing.

And then, we arrived at our host's home in the heart of Lilongwe. We fell in love with Matt, Rachel, and their two precious daughters right away - and we felt right at home after being nomads for 35 hours (give or take).

Jet lag soon hit us like a ton of bricks, but we managed to stay up until 7:30pm. Finally, we got to climb in under our mosquito nets and lay our weary heads on our pillows.


Photo Credit: Mark B.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Malawi (not Maui) // pt.1

Muli Bwanji. 

This summer, I spent six weeks in Malawi, a country in southeastern Africa. 

It was quite an adventure.

Now, it's been a while since I've written on here. I'm certainly out of the blogsphere loop now. I'm not really sure if anyone will read this, outside of the handful of family members and friends I'll send a link to. But that's okay. I just want a little space to write about my time in Malawi. I need to write about it before the memories start fading and I start forgetting things that I'd do better to remember. I've been home just a little over a week, and that's already started happening to me. 

I want to remember the taste of nsima, the staple food of Malawi. The taste of locust that Dennis, a Malawian seminary student, brought to the library one day for us to try. The taste of Rachel F.'s cooking.

I want to remember the smell of hard-packed dirt that we sat on while playing games with children in the villages, and the smell of the pineapple sobo that we served them. The smell of Mama Rieben's brownies in the oven.

Then there's the feeling of cichlids (small, colorful freshwater fish) in Lake Malawi biting our toes. The feeling of riding truck-bed along the bumpy dirt roads, and the feeling of a Malawian handshake.The feeling of a chitengi tied around my waist.

The sound of women singing in Chichewa. Palibe ofana ndi yesu, palibe ofana naye. The sound of the call to prayer and roosters in the morning. The sound of children excitedly shouting "Mzungu!" (white foreigner). The sound of each of my team member's laugh.

I don't want to forget the sight of women carrying their mwana (baby) on their backs, tied on with a chitengi. The sight of a goat in his newly constructed goat pen. The children's smiles when we greeted them in Chichewa and asked for their names. 

At the time, I didn't realize those things were significant or even realize I was noticing them. But now, thinking of them bring me right back to Africa. Thinking of the taste Rachel's crocodile ravioli, the smell of the roads after it rained, or the sound of little Ammie's voice transports me right back to Lilongwe and Ntcheu, and reminds me of what I was doing and what I was learning.

I'm hoping to write an entry about each week we spent in Malawi. So - if you're reading this - stay tuned for those?

Zikomo <3


Photo Credit: Mark B. 

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Changes // announcement

Hey pretty peoples.

I have an announcement of sorts. Maybe it's an exciting one, maybe it's a sort of sad one - maybe it's just a sort of "meh whatever bruh" one. I dunno. To me it's a mix of those.

For the time being, The Daisy Tree is moving to Instagram.

In this stage of my life (college and boring things like that), I just can't seem to be able to fit blogging into the equation. It's been sad for me. I love blogging, and I've missed documenting my life, working on projects, and hearing from all of my lovely blogging buddies.

Without meaning it to, blogging has slowly faded out of my life during the last two years. I don't read blogs on the regular anymore, and it's pretty evident I haven't been keeping mine up very well. I tried and tried to get back into it, but I can't seem to.

I had to find a way from keeping my blog from dying a slow, painful death. 

I've been thinking lately that I shouldn't try to force myself to get back into blogging. Cuz that doesn't really work.  Maybe, instead, I should keep doing what I love doing - working on diy/baking projects, writing, documenting, and sharing it with friends - but on a platform that would be more natural to use in this time of my life. After thinking about the options that opened up, I realized that Instagram would be a good fit for me. Instagram is easy to use (as I can post directly from my phone), I can still do a lot of the things I've been doing on my blog, and a lot of you guys are on there.

I know this isn't good news for everyone - I know not everybody has an Instagram account. I'm super sorry about that :(

By the way, this is not me saying that I'm quitting this blog. 

An actual blog is obviously the best platform to - well - blog. Which is what I love doing. This is just me saying that for the time being, I'm moving the blog somewhere where I'll be able to keep it from tragically dying. I will be back.

(I still dream of someday being one of those cool homeschooler mom bloggers who makes green smoothies lol)

So, if possible - please join me over at my blog's Instagram! There will be fictional feasts, DIYs, bookish lists, too many photos of my cats, and other nice things. Don't leave me there all alone!




Monday, February 27, 2017

In Which Jewish You Were Here

Fam. These past few weeks have been a whirlwind. 

On one hand, it feels like I just got here. But on the other hand, I'm so used to being here, it's like I've lived here my whole life.


Every day has been an adventure. Even those days when we literally just sit in class all day.

On Mondays and Tuesdays and Thursdays and Fridays, we just sit in class. The classes are pretty, rad, though. I love learning about the history and geography of the land of Israel and being like, dude: I'm currently sitting in the land of Israel.

I work in the little library here on the IBEX campus a couple evenings a week. I find books for people and clean up the mess they make trying to make instant coffee in the wood lounge. It's pretty fun.

Wednesdays are field trip days. Lots of walking. Lots of photo-taking. Lots of laughter on the bus. Lots of PB&J sandwiches. These days are tiring, but also the greatest part of being here.

 On Fridays, after classes, we have our Shabbat (Sabbath) meal. We dress up a little bit for it (meaning, we don't wear sweatpants and tshirts like we wear 99% of the time), and before we eat we have a little devotional and we sing "Shabbat Shalom". Afterwards, we have chapel.

On Shabbat, we go into Jerusalem to attend the congregation there. We attempt to sing in Hebrew but nobody does a very good job.

Afterwards, we split into groups and wander around the Old City in search of lunch. Guys, I'm sort of in love with the Old City streets.

Sunday is our day off. We usually do laundry and catch up on reading. Or have random dance parties in the miklat. Or watch anime.

Being here has been both better and harder than I expected. Better, because I had no idea how much I would grow to love this country and how much fun it would be to adventure every inch of it. I've learned so much already. But it's also a little harder than expected, because I really miss my family and I really miss my friends back at school. I feel really far away from them all. Cuz I sort of am, I guess.

I can't wait to post more about where we're actually going on our field trips and what we're learning. But for now, I'll just leave you with this little update post full of snapchat screenshots and pictures from my phone.


Let me know how you all are doing. And also, please let me know what kind of fruit or vegetable you would be if you were a fruit or vegetable. I'm curious.


Tuesday, January 31, 2017

In Which I Visit Jerusalem

Today, we hopped on a bus (at 7:59am on the dot) and drove a couple miles down the road to a little place called Jerusalem.

Folks, I think I'll remember today for the rest of my life.

|Jaffa Gate, through which we entered the Old City|

I've been reading about the of city Jerusalem ever since I was old enough to read those storybook Bibles for kids. I knew it was a pretty special place, seeing as King David lived there and Jesus rode through it on a donkey and such. I never realized how significant this city is until today. Like, God chose this city - this real, concrete, actual place - to be the place that Jesus would conquer sin and death. Um, that's sort of cool?

|"Tower of David", a medieval fortress with a great view|

Because our field days are part of our class "The Land and the Bible", our professor, Bill, lectured as we walked through the Old City. He talked about the history of the wall that surrounds the city, and about what the city was like during David, Solomon, and Hezekiah's times...aaand about a million other things that I wish I had a brain big enough to remember. 

There were a lot of great parts about the day. Here's a couple of them.

#1. Jerusalem is like a Cat Utopia. THERE ARE CATS EVERYWHERE. (they are what most people would call "mangy strays" but they are what I call "precious babies")

#2. I got to explore with my friends. Old ones and new ones. We got excited about everything. Mostly food.

#3. Speaking of food! Israeli pizza is a national treasure. 

#4. A lot of the place locations or artifacts that people traditionally believe are the REAL THINGS aren't actually the real thing, but it's still pretty cool. Like, that is NOT actually a stone slab from Jesus' tomb that Mary Magdalene wept on, but it was probably a rock just like that very near this spot, so I dig it.

(if my sentences are not making sense anymore it's because it is very late at night and I should be sleeping right now)

#5. THE MARKETS. Narrow streets filled to the brim with scarves, sandals, pastries, pick-pockets, and yamakas. Goals.

#6. We saw so many things I've heard so much about. It makes it so real to actually see it in person. (that's what everyone says, I know...but it's true)

#7. It rained and I didn't have a rain jacket. That's not a good thing, but I wanted to mention it.

This post is a little crazy and all over the place, and my pictures are completely raw and unedited cuz who has time for that, but I hope you enjoyed this anyway.

Thank you SO much for reading. I think it's pretty cool that there are people who are willing to brave my midnight rambles in order to see what I'm up to.


Sunday, January 29, 2017

In Which I Arrive in Israel




So after a goodbye to my cats (and my family, too), an airplane ride in a tiny french plane, a layover in Paris (where people kept trying to talk to me in French), and another airplane ride full of lot of snoring people, I made it to the airport in Tel Aviv at 4:45am.

In the taxi on the way to campus, the sun started to come up over the hills and the road-signs were all in Hebrew and I saw Jerusalem lit up in the distance AND IT WAS JUST TOO MUCH. Then I arrived here at the "Moshav", which is this little hotel village thingy on the hilltop. Not a bad place to call home for the semester.

The rest of the group are flying together from California, and they won't be here until later today. It's super weird being here by myself, not gonna lie. But it's also kind of nice, because I can get used to being here a bit before I have to start being all social and such.

Here's what I did to keep myself occupied since I arrived:

6:13am: I arrived at Moshav and was shown to my room by Jessy (who is this sweet girl who lives here to take care of us hooligans)
7:30am-ish: I fell asleep. (I was traveling ALL night, okay?)
9:30am: My alarm went off and I was just like "lol no" and turned it off.
11:23am: Hunger woke me up.
12:30pm: I went to the cafeteria/restaurant/thing, and I ate by the window and the view killed me. And the food was really nice.
1:14pm: I unpacked whilst listening to Hamilton. (it's an addiction, folks)
2:15pm: I realized I had wifi on my laptop.
2:16pm: I started blogging.
3:54pm: I talked to my fam back home.
4:10pm: I am sitting here finishing this post.
4:30pm: I dunno cuz that's in the future.
5:00pm: Exploring outside probably.
6:00pm: Hopefully people will arrive to save me from this strange alone-ness.

This has already been an adventure and all I've done really is sleep and hide out in my room. So that's cool.


Tuesday, January 24, 2017

In Which I Look Ahead

This year is going to be a little different.

Some of you guys know this, but most of you don't: I'm not going back to Southern California this semester. I'm going to Israel.


My university has this pretty cool study abroad program. I'll be gone for three months, living on a campus outside of Jerusalem with around 35 other students from uni. I'll be taking classes, exploring the country, and hopefully eating lots of falafel. 

I'm a little nervous. It's just going to be so different. I don't really know what to expect. I guess that's usually the way with adventures?

I really want to document this whole Israel thing. And I need to drag you all into this with me, k?

I'm leaving in 4 days. Meep.


P.S. Please give me any traveling tips you might have, or tips on how to blog while traveling, or tips on how to survive three months without bacon. kthanksbye
P.P.S. Or give me some music suggestions because I've just been listening to Hamilton all the time and I to need branch out a little.
P.P.P.S I don't have anything else to say but I wanted three postscripts lol