The last few weeks in Africa were amazing and filled with events including several HIV testing days and community teachings in various villages. Our volunteer program dinner was wonderful and we were all sad to say goodbye. While the volunteers were great, I will especially miss our Tanzanian staff of field officers and community health workers; they're the heart and soul of our organization! I'm hoping to be back in Tanzania sometime in the near future... stay tuned for more details...
Suz and I are determined to see all of London in 72 hours... we're making good progress so far! She did most of the touristy sight-seeing when she arrived in September, but is being a great sport about playing tour guide will I take everything in for the first time. On Monday we saw Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, visited Westminster Abbey, rode the London Eye, toured the Globe Theatre (which as far as I'm concerned is reason enough to come to London all by itself!!!), and viewed the art in the National Gallery (travel tip -- free admission here and enough amazing artwork to occupy several hours of your day). Suz wanted me to experience Harrod's, despite neither of us being able to afford anything there. She was very patient with me as I ranted about the excessive waste of $900 handbags and how many African children could be fed with that kind of money ... I'd been doing so well all day, but reverse culture shock was bound to set in at some point, and a city block devoted to a store boasting about multiple rooms of luxury was just too much to handle. I'm sure my family in TX will be grateful that I'm going through this now rather than in their presence later this week. Anyway, we ended the night with London's best attempt at Mexican food, which is better than Tanzania's best attempt but still not up to AZ standards and then some time at the Globe pub near Suz's residence hall (when in Rome...).
Today we toured the Tower of London, where we happened to run into our friend Doug who had spent the semester studying in Norwich. We had no idea he was spending the week in London, and we were all shocked to see each other in the same tour group! We then visited King's Cross station, home of Platform 9 3/4, the entry way to Hogwarts. (If this makes no sense to you, pick up a Harry Potter book...) Tonight Suz and I are going to Spamalot with some of her friends. Our plan for tomorrow includes St. Paul's Cathedral, Buckingham Palace, and the British Museum.
I miss you all! I currently want to somehow be in Tanzania, London, and the U.S. simultaneously but know I'll be thrilled to be home as soon as I arrive. The feeling of cold weather, the sight of Christmas trees, the sound of Christmas carols, and the taste of candy canes have put me in a wonderful mood. Merry Christmas!!