It's kind of funny though; when I told people that we would be camping, a few of them responded with Oh, but well, you are used to that.
Oh my goodness.
I seriously wonder sometimes if people imagine me hunting my own antelope with a bow and arrow, putting the meat into a pot over an open fire, turning the skin into clothes and then wearing them as I stir my antelope stew....
So let's just get one thing clear: My life in Tanzania is not like camping.
In Tanzania, I have a kitchen, walls and a floor, and most importantly, an indoor bathroom. Sure, there are many people in Africa who would consider the American camping experience to be downright luxurious, with the little gas stoves and water sources just a few feet away, but rest assured, that's not how everyone lives there--myself included.
Ahem. Anyway. Back to the hating camping part.
The church where I grew up has a Family Camp at Lake Tahoe every year. I went many times as a kid and loved it. But now, eh, not so much. Something to do with the dirt and cold and lack of showers and permeating smell of smoke. And did I mention dirt? Dirt.
But Gil kept saying, We should go, Amy. Sigh...yeah, I knew he was right. After all, the whole point of this Home Assignment is to reconnect with people, and what better way to reconnect than with lots and lots of dirt? Plus, I read somewhere that the closest families are those that camp together. Oh, the guilt of parenting! So we went.
On the first day, the elevation caused the mustard to explode all over Grace. Seriously, all over. I was freezing at night and curled up like a pill bug in my sleeping bag on the mattress which kept losing air, willing my body to please, please, stop producing urine. And oh yes, there was dirt. But don't worry, the smoky smell covered up all the B.O.
But. There was also the glorious open night sky and the perfectly crystal lake, the smell of the mountain trees which I had forgotten over so many years away and the joy of watching my kids ride bikes hour after hour--just as I did in the exact same place, so many years ago.
Most importantly, there were the great conversations with old friends, with so many who have loved us and supported us and looked after us year after year.....some who have known me since I too was a child at Family Camp.
The hugs and the laughter and the new memories....
....and I was so, so glad that we went.
Look, Mom, No training wheels!
Josiah said, "Kiss on the lips and we'll take your picture!"
And raucous laughter proceeded.
I would definitely do it again. Next time I'll just be much more careful with the mustard.