Saturday, January 12, 2008
For my birthday, Holly gave me a ticket for "one young, good-lookin' cow" (just what I wanted). Today I woke up very early and went to the cattle market and waded through thousands of cows and people to find Jelly, my new cow! She is one and a half years old, weighs about 200 pounds, eats a ton, and has a nice loud voice.
Ogiko and Jelly are still working out their relationship. (Jelly has kicked Ogiko in the head several times, and he hasn't seemed to learn the lesson.)
A Ugandan friend told us his impression of snow the first time he saw it in the UK, “It’s like beautiful popcorn floating slowly.” We remembered his description watching the snow fall in the Porter backyard, enjoying a white Christmas with new perspectives that have changed our appreciation of snow and everything else.
It has been over two years since seeing the Porter family. Our family grew by two people since we've been in Uganda. Meeting and getting to know Anya and Dmitri (our niece and nephew) were highlights of our visit to Colorado. We even saw our soon-to-come niece on a 4D ultrasound and felt her kicking. We celebrated something almost every night (Dmitri’s 2nd birthday and Ben & Josh’s 30th, Christmas, Baby showers, breaking through the ceiling, New Years, etc…).
Evenings were filled with good food (thanks to Mom Porter’s mouth-watering culinary skills), conversation and music. We also had a chance to stop by Celebration and reconnect with dear friends. Though all of us have experienced profound change in our lives we clasped hands again with deep appreciation for a community of friends that continues to march to the same beat. We witnessed the beautiful transformation of friends becoming parents. Holly held Kellen’s hand and recalled the Acholi saying, Dako nywal ki nyeke—a woman gives birth more easily when her friend is with her. Ben accompanied the Kents playing their songs wrestling with mortality and outrage about injustice in northern Uganda. We entered the New Year with Ben playing cello with other classical musicians and Austrian New Year traditions with his former cello teacher. On our way back to Uganda we saw the Randall clan in the UK, went wedding dress shopping with Tina (who looks absolutely beautiful in everything she puts on), discussed theology, community and gender with her fiancé, ran around London looking at possible PhD sites with Travis, and had sweet conversation with mom over tea and with dad in a local pub.
As per the Austrian New Year’s tradition, Holly dropped melted led into a cold bowl of water. The shape it takes is supposed to show your fortune for the year. It looked to us like a funky clump of metal—but we’re sure it meant that 2008 will be a great year. It was nice to play in the snow, but our feet are happy to be in sandals walking near the Equator again.