Jamesport, MO Part 1.

I took a quick day trip to Jamesport, MO about 90 miles Northeast of Kansas City. I knew that Jamesport was an Amish community who lived a simpler way of life and handmade many artifacts, crafts and materials.

So on a whim, I booked a room and yesterday after lunch, I hit the road and 90 minutes later I was there!

As I checked in, the Bed and Breakfast owner, a friendly outgoing older man showed me a CD about the Amish that I could come down and watch in my own time.

So after I rested a while, I went and sat down to watch. And it was fascinating! The Amish have a whole separate way of living which I knew but some things did surprise me. I did not know that they recite the Bible in what is known as High German. Who knew there was a High Germanic language? I didn’t.

Other suprising things were that children go to school till the 8th grade. Their schools are one room schools taught by unmarried young women. After 8th grade, the boys go into apprenticeships to learn a trade. It may be farming, carpentry, silversmithing and so on and so forth that will allow them to support a family when they get older.

That tape was so fascinating that I watched it twice. But that was before I discovered that the tape was played pretty much everywhere. Most of the stores I visited today had the tape playing in the background.


The Introvert’s Dilemma

Many introverts, myself included, greatly enjoy solitary activities. I mean what’s not to enjoy: time to unwind and re-charge, solitude, a good book or walk, a cup of tea, a favorite program, a cozy nook, a comfortable bed..the list is long. All this is much appreciated especially at the end of a work week.

What I’ve found though is that it can be a thin line between solitude and aloneness. You have to constantly balance the very real need for that solitary time with time spent with family and friends. I find that when I dont, when the scales tip too much into solitude, aloneness and loneliness does set in..for me. This may not be the case for other introverts off course.

And the reverse is true. Too many social activities and I am totally and completely drained. So balance is what is needed and it is indeed a delicate balance.

As I’ve grown older, I’ve gotten better at this. So, for example, I am about to leave for a solitary road trip that I’m very much looking forward to but will be back tomorrow to continue celebrating my birthday with a few friends and family.



So usually I have very elaborate travel plans for my birthday which falls on August 19. I have often been able to take a week or more off from work and spend 3 or 4 nights away. I’ve traveled to the Ozarks, Colorado, Arizona, Nairobi, Oklahoma, Utah and New Mexico for my birthday in past years.

This year, I had planned to travel to Estes Park, CO for a few days which would have included Monday’s total eclipse. But I failed to make plans early enough (with good reason I think). This year has felt quite rough for me..with my early morning work schedule, severe insomnia, grieving my long time neighbor, and other life stuff.

By the time, I roused myself enough to make plans, a lot of places were already booked up due to Monday’s total solar eclipse.

So other than a day trip planned for overnight Friday that I just planned on a whim 3 days ago, I am letting my birthday just unfurl in whichever way or form it will. I have a 5 day weekend which will include Monday with none of my usual conrete plans!

This impromptu manner is not like me at all but I’m trying to embrace it. I think it will be good for me to just go with the flow for a change.


Karibu! karibu chai.

Welcome! Welcome to tea.

That’s the welcome given to most everyone who knocked on our door when we were growing up in Nairobi, Kenya. When we were younger, one of us would be sent off to the kiosk to buy milk and bread, and perhaps sugar if there was none in the house.

Infact guests often brought milk and bread with them. Not because they expected tea but as a tradition, a gesture of respect. You don’t visit a home empty handed.

Invitating guests to tea was like the chorus of our young lives. Sometimes welcome, sometimes not. You could have just sat down after your chores and here comes an announced guest. (English translations in parenthesis or brackets depending on where you are)

Hodi (Knock Knock)


Karibu chai (Welcome to tea)

And for us girls, that meant heading into the kitchen to make tea and serve the guests.

All these are some of the interwoven rituals that exist in many post colonial African countries.

But back to the tea, I never truly appreciated this simple gesture of hospitality. But I truly do now.

This tradition does continue to a large extent and when I do visit home and I’m visiting relatives and friends, that is the first thing I hear often accompanied by a hug or hearty handshake.

Karibu, karibu! Karibu chai! (Welcome! Welcome. Welcome to tea)


The best words

I shall not claim to have the best words as a recent presidential candidate did. But there’s a thing about words: how beautiful and eloquent they are, how they spring to your mind, how perfectly suitable a specific word can be. I remember reading the dictionary as a young girl and not as homework either. I mean who does that right? But I digress. My point is that words are..uhm.. interesting.

Let’s take a word such as caper. Who would think one of it’s meanings is to skip playfully? I wouldn’t have. It sounded more like someone who caps something that needs capping I guess. But that would be capper and apparently capper is a word too. A capper is someone or device that caps stuff such as caps onto bottles. It also means finale, ending and so on and forth. 

I just realized something else, this playing around with words is sort of capering too isn’t it? I would submit that it is indeed a type of capering, only with words not a skipping rope or game.