Friday, February 7, 2014

different kinds of love languages

Remember the time when Jerem, Joel and I TPed our friends' apartment as a surprise GIFT for when they returned from their honeymoon? Did I ever tell you what they did as revenge? :)

I came back from our trip to Burkina Faso, walked into my apartment and found this sign and several little gifts wrapped up. There was a note, and it was from several people saying how much they missed me and how they had wanted to get me something was sooooo sweet.

The gifts were a bit strange...
- a small package of needles "because I like to sew"
- several garbage bags "because I like to keep things clean"
- ear plugs for the future "because apparently Joel snores"

They were "unique" gifts but I just figured my friends were being creative... I texted them all, thanking them for their kindness and throughtfulness and how wonderful it was to come home to that. 

And then...

And then I went to my bedroom and opened the door -- actually, I TRIED to open the door, and managed only a bit. You know why? 

There were balloons everywhere! 

My room was covered. 401 to be exact. The gifts suddenly seemed quite useful, and I suddenly realized I should have waited to text them... :)  

And how did they get into the apartment, you might ask? Sneaky Joel had grabbed my spare key without me seeing before I left! 

The culprits hard at work... they made themselves quite at home, it seemed. :) Thanks for the photos, Popo!!!

Innocent faces?! I think not.

But the story doesn't end there. Just a couple days ago, Joel and I were taking a walk, and we walked by these dumpsters next to a clothing store. And right next to the dumpster was a shopping cart, with different mannequin pieces...what a sweet opportunity to give a gift to our friends Bob and Pauline, we thought. Plus, Joel was having trouble walking, kind of leg-ing behind (haha), so we did what any normal person would do. We picked up a white leg. 

I was trying to look evil and mischievous, and really, just trying not to laugh. Can you tell? And Joel was...well, I am not sure. I think it was a special face just for Bob.

We wrote them a sweet note, not signing our names of course, and asked one of the neighbors to let us in, which they gladly did.

We propped her up against their door and admired our handiwork. 

Who WOULDN'T want to come home to this?!

They were SOOO happy to find this when they got home. Oh, and Bob -- we wanted to make sure you appreciated the fact that it was white. To match your walls :) 

The moral of the story is...KNOW your friends and how you can best love them! 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

hip hip hip hippopotamus!

Oops... kind of a lengthy blog absence, after capturing your heart and mind over Christmas break day after day. Hahaha, KIDDING. But I do hope I can do better again. I enjoy taking pictures and writing about random, yet meaningful things that make up life, and well, I just got really behind. The good news is, I have tons of stuff to blog about!

I know it was over a month ago, but I wanted to write about seeing the wild hippos. It was on one of the last days that I was in Niger, and such a relaxing trip. 

Well, mostly. When we got to the little place where we had made the canoe reservation, I noticed their entrance decor: 
Yeah, some hippo bones on a stick...welcoming. 

We all piled into the little canoe,

taking our shoes off at the front. 

There were two little boys in the back that had very specific jobs (get to that in a minute) and our quietly confident guide who sat at the very front, and would attentively watch for hippos.

We were quite close to the water, and it was a very comfortable ride, with mats and mattresses lining the canoe bed.

Mom, Linds and I rode shotgun, the not-yet-but-soon-to-be-engaged couple was next, brother and Dad after them, and then the two little boys.

Notice Shorty's face. A little bit of panic you might say? Well, shortly after we started meandering through the waters, we heard what sounded like water being scooped out of the canoe. Much to our surprise and disconcertment, it was actually the case. One of the little boys had the very important job of scooping water out that was coming in through a leak, every 5 minutes or so. Hmmm... Linds and I were glad to be sitting way in the front, as Ando and Dad were sitting in an inch of water at the end. Haha. Just kidding. He was a super duper water scooper and managed to keep us all afloat.

It was indeed quite relaxing, and so fun to see a different part of Niamey and life on the river. It was sooooo peaceful.

Heavy traffic

And then, just like that. our guide motioned for the second boy (who was steering the boat) to slow down and for us all to be quiet. And then we saw a "lone male". Hello big guy!

Have you heard of how dangerous hippos are!? How they topple over your boat and drag you underwater? They don't eat you, as they are herbivores (relief!) but chances of survival are slim...and they have incredible hearing and memory skills. As I was sitting there pondering these things, and thankful he was sleeping and couldn't see us...

his eyes opened! Gulp. We saw another lone male and then the herd with babies. Quite interesting and cool. 

An hour or so later, it was already time to turn back around, and we all sat back and enjoyed cruising down the river. 


It was right as the sun was setting, and sooooo pretty. 

Great family excursion, Dad and Mom!