Hello from Zambia! Today’s adventure started with an eight and a half hour flight from Qatar to Johannesburg, South Africa which left at the lovely time of 2:00 am. However, since my internal clock was all thrown off and I felt like I should be awake, I took advantage of the in-flight entertainment system to watch quite a few movies. As a side note, I really appreciate the efforts by most airlines to censor the more explicit films that they make available for their passengers. There are certainly some fantastic films that I would otherwise not have watched because of the unnecessary explicit content in the original version. That being said, not all films are edited for content equally, so I would definitely always recommend viewer discretion when watching.
From there, we busted our bums practically sprinting to the other side of the Joe-burg airport (apparently Joe-burg is what locals call Johannesburg? We learned that tidbit from a lovely older woman who chatted with us during our flight from Johannesburg to Livingstone) in order to make our flight to Livingstone. An hour later we deplaned on the tarmac of the Livingstone airport. Let’s just say, the sun was definitely shining today! We had a nice wait with our travel companions to get our visas to enter the country, and a surreal feeling descended as we exited the airport into the country we’d been talking about visiting for months! We’re finally here!
As someone who has never been to a country where the “English” way of driving is the norm, it was a little disconcerting to be riding in a car driving on the LEFT HAND side of the road! Intellectually, I knew that people actually drove that way, but knowing something and actually seeing something are entirely different concepts. Driving through the town, I realized that Livingstone is actually a lot smaller than my initial imaginations of the city, but it was still fun to drive through and see some of the place we will call home for the next four weeks.
Then came our introduction to the compound/hostel we will be staying in. It’s so cute! The rooms have fun curly-que numbers on the doors, there are sofa loungers everywhere, and even better, not one but TWO very friendly cats that live around the main building! However, after about five minutes sitting in one of the cushy couches, the previous 35+ hours of travel hit like a freight train, and we ended up taking two naps before having dinner, which was a nummy salad, gluten free pan fried chicken, and french fries.
While we did get to shower in the lounge in Qatar, there’s nothing quite like taking a shower, changing into comfy clothes and then curling up on a lounger to listen to the crickets. Besides the mosquitos that tend to swarm when you do this (because if you’re like me, your hair ends up smelling pretty fruity after a shower, thus attracting some undesirable insect friends) it’s quite pleasant. And so far we’ve found that throughly dousing oneself in insect repellant tends to do the trick of at least keeping them from landing on your exposed skin, so that’s something.
We also took some time to Skype with our parents while winding down for the evening, and as we said good bye at the end of each call, we were reminded of how much love and support we have been fortunate enough to receive as we’ve set out on our adventure–both of being on a study abroad, but even more so of being married to one another. I think one of the most special things about being able to come together is that we have the opportunity to see each other in a different light. We get to struggle together in a new ways, learn in new ways, and work as a team in new ways to accomplish our shared goals. These are skills that I firmly believe will be of benefit to us later in our marriage, and I’m grateful for the experience we are fortunate enough to have while studying and volunteering here.
Tomorrow, the real work begins, and I couldn’t be more excited or nervous all at the same time. We have an early morning though (breakfast is from 6:45-7:30-ish) so it’s time to hit the sack and get some much needed rest. ¡Adios amigos!