A journey of firsts

So I wanted to take a little time and explore the number of first things that have happened on this trip.  I was going to throw in some pictures, but the internet connection is a little sketchy and temperamental, so I thought that it would be better to go with a list.  I’ll try and get pictures up soon though.

1.  I saw my first black bear on the way to Akron, PA.  It was stuffed and sitting in the middle of the tourist center, but it was still my first.

2.  It was my first time on the east coast.  While Akron is not on the ocean, it is the closest that I have ever been to this area of the country, so I thought it would count on this list.

3.  It’s my first trip with MCC, and the first time that I have been gone from home for a year.

4.   It was the first time that I have been on a plane ever.  The first ride was ok, but the second on the big jet was awesome.  This flying experience also carries many other firsts, including airplane food, finding luggage, passports, customs, visas, and more.

5.  It is my first time out of the country besides crossing the border into Canada once.  I have been in Senegal, South Africa, and now Lesotho.

6.  It’s the first time that I have been gone from home somewhere for a whole year.  I was gone to college in Minnesota for several months at a time, but not anything like this.

7.  I swam in my first ocean, the Indian.  It was great.  The waves were enormous and the water was not as cold as expected from my previous experience in the Atlantic when I was little.  We did not really swim then, so I would not consider that time in the Atlantic the first time swimming in an ocean.

8.  I climbed my first mountain, and it was more difficult than I expected because I’m from the plains of the US.

9.  It was my first time formally teaching a classroom full of students (61 fifth graders in a classroom that is the same size, if not smaller, than the classrooms that I’ve seen in the US.  It’s been a little crazy).

10.  Sesotho is the first language that I have spoken on a day-to-day basis with native speakers.  I have the greeting down, but more than that gets difficult quickly, especially when someone does not realize how quickly that he or she is speaking.  This experience reminds of the IVEPers when they would often tell me to slow down my speech because I often speak quickly.  One young woman told me that I needed to “get the potato out of my mouth and speak.”  She told me this in her native spanish, so i did not understand at first, but it was still a humbling experience.  We do not often realize how difficult we are to understand to an outsider, especially someone with a different language.

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~ by randallkoehler on September 15, 2011.

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