Last week I reflected at the end of the week how many things we had done that were new experiences...really amazing new experiences that made for a full week! You might enjoy the list:
1. Saturday morning when we went jogging at 6:30am, we decided to try a new trail at the Hahamongna Watershed park. It is always nice to have some new scenery while jogging, and we pushed ourselves a few extra minutes since it was a longer trail than we were used to.
2. Saturday evening we went to hear the California Philharmonic Orchestra at the LA Arboretum. What a fabulous combination! This was on our list of 'things to do before we leave LA'. It was beautiful weather to enjoy a picnic on the lawn in one of our favorite spots in LA. I was enjoying the wonderful music and scenery, and the thought occurred to me, "This is the life! This feels so good...why are we moving to Congo??". I was glad that it was just a fleeting thought...and glad that we have more significant reasons for going to Congo than good music or food! :)
3. Sunday afternoon we had our first 'Tshiluba lesson'. We recently met a man who spent some of his childhood in the region we will be in, and speaks Tshiluba, so he offerred to give us an introduction to pronounciation. It was fun to learn a few phrases, and realize what a challenge the language learning process will be!
4. On Wednesday of that week, we organized a spontaneous star-gazing outing with a few friends. We got to see the Perseid meteor shower for the first time (that I'm aware of). We hiked up a trail in the dark, spread out a blanket on the dirt, and watched the meteors streak across the sky. It was amazing! I'm so glad that we risked the late night to admire the events in the heavens. Here's a picture of our crew in action:
5. Friday morning of that week, we took a short bike ride at 6am, with the goal of ensuring that our bike muscles were present enough to take a longer bike ride the following week with some friends (which happened yesterday). Since the bike ride last week was not nearly as interesting as the bikeride along the beach yesterday, I'll give you a picture from yesterday.
6. Saturday night, we had dinner with some friends, and when they asked if there was anything we wanted to do afterward, I half-jokingly said that there was a Michael Jackson tribute concert happening a few blocks from where we were, and perhaps we could stop by. They were very enthusiastic, so we walked over to the park where the concert was, wondering how we would kill time since we were a little early. We were amazed to see a completely full lawn, with what turned out to be a record of 4600 people at the park. I knew almost none of the songs, but fortunately Bob and our friends knew most of them and we all had fun grooving to the music and reminiscing. I almost had to pinch myself--"I'm at a Michael Jackson tribute concert??!" Despite my personal shock, we thoroughly enjoyed it.
7. Sunday afternoon, we visited a church whose members are largely from Congo or with strong connections to Congo. We found out about the church when I met someone from Congo while jogging at the Rose Bowl (definitely a divine connection; very random!). We loved the African feel to the worship and hearing the mix of English, French, and Lingala in the service. The people were very friendly and happy to hear that we are moving to Congo. Amazing--we had no idea this church existed, and it is only 1 block from our house! (they meet in the building of another church, which explains why we had not seen any signs)
I think that is enough firsts for one week! I was a little overwhelmed at the end of the week...it is hard to take it all in when these amazing experiences keep happening!