If traveling has given me anything, it's given me this: the ability to float gently down the river of events--to relinquish control. In Africa, the boat leaves when it's full. You might wait an hour; you might wait two weeks. If you spend that time tipping forward into the future, you sink. The best thing to do is just to sit on the boat and look around at the other humans who are sitting there with you. You might discover you like the view.
My birthday consisted of small, magical wonders. Wonders that might not look like much to others, but to me, they have been a realization that 'I like the view' here in Seleka. I went into today expecting nothing out of the ordinary. However, I woke up to a wonderful cookbook Paul found for me (I've been searching for months to find it), a great cup of coffee from Superior, Wisconsin, a chalkboard decorated in my honor, cake, seventh grade girls looking for a little help with their homework, and a barrage of phone calls, emails, and sms from Peace Corps Volunteers, South African and American friends and family. It has been a day filled with an appreciation of what our life here is, and an acceptance that we have had to relinquish control of a number of things---special birthday dinners at a restaurant that serves more than chicken, etc., but I've come to take joy in the here and now. Often times back home we try so hard to do something special or extraordinary on occasions like birthdays, but today I was able to enjoy the ordinary routines of my life here, through the lens of greater appreciation we tend to put with birthdays, and see just how special they truly are.