Nothing Like Friends and Family…

(David, Siham, Sami & Jazzy)

After three glorious weeks of catching up with friends and family during my Mid-Western tour across the USA, I’m finally back in Lilongwe. Granted, Boss (my black lab) managed to reak havoc while I was away, creating unnecessary drama immediately upon my arrival.

(Everett – one of my dearest friends…)

As I literally pulled into my drive, I was greeted by a new guard who informed me that Boss ‘got out’ and killed several chickens while terrorizing anyone who happened to be roaming the streets. The neighbors have been coming by my yard daily, waiting to speak to the owner of these dangerous beasts. Meanwhile, I now have two chicken carcasses hanging in my tree as proof of Boss’ destruction. Oh what a joy to be back in Africa !?!

(Shani, Idrissa, Ajhalei, Amy & Daveon)

However, I’m still on a natural high from my trip to the states. I must say, I feel fortunate having so many loving people in my life. My only regret is that I wasn’t able to see all the people that I wanted to during my brief stay.

(Amy & Steve – hiking @ Enchanted Rock)

My first stop, St. Louis, highlighted two very special occasions – my grandmother’s 95th birthday and my cousin’s Bar Mitzvah! I was beaming with pride as Brian ‘became a man’ and as I watched my grandmother being showered with love and affection from family and loved ones from around the globe. She’s led an amazing life and has had a profound impact on so many.

(Amy, Sami & Gram on her 95th B-day)

(first cousins)

(Congrats Brian!)

I loved seeing the extended family, all the aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews, along with all the other relatives that require a family tree to see just how we’re related. I had quite a few genealogy lessons over the course of my stay.

(Extended Relatives)

(Gram with all her great grandkids)

We all had a great time in St. Louis hanging out, eating (or shall I say feasting at every meal), catching up and enjoying each other’s comapany.

(Scott and Ben Bowling)

Next stop, Kansas City! All the Gottlieb’s and their families caravanned from St. Louis to Kansas City where we spent several days with Mom and Steve hiking in the woods, looking for insects, feeding birds and fishing in nearby ponds. Their home is truly a kid’s delight – granted I’m not sure who has more energy, my mom or all the grandkids!

(Mayday reading to the grandkids)

(Jazzy, Sami Amir, Ben & Maia)

Maia and Jasmine are a joy to watch…they are incredibly close and simply adorable. And Ben and Sami Amir are equally adorable. I was thrilled to spend quality time with all my nieces and nephews. Video skyping just isn’t the same.

(Jazzy and Maia swimming with David)

(Davo with Sami Amir)

Another beautiful surprise was reconnecting with Kristen Popplewell, my next door neighbor from when I was two years old thru elementary school. While looking at Jazzy and Maia, I marveled over the fact that Kristen and I were the same way at their age, inseperable and lost in our own little world.

(Kristen, Sherri, Marilyn & Amy)

I honestly haven’t seen Kristen (or her mom, Sherri) in close to thirty years! We reminisced about growing up on Delmar – and all the wonders we experienced as children.

Kristen & Amy
(Kristen and Amy circa 1975)

(Kristen and Amy)

And I had an opportunity to catch up with several of my old high school friends, some of which I hadn’t seen in over twenty years (thanks again, Robin, for organizing the happy hour at the Power and Light District)! After traveling and living overseas for so long, it’s incredible to reconnect with people with whom you have a shared history.

(Happy Hour)

(Tavish, Camille and Amy)

Plus, no trip to Kansas would be complete without heading to Lawrence where so many of my friends still reside. I truly love Lawrence, another amazing college town.

(Brendan & Amy)

A special thanks goes to Craig and Regina, who not only graciously hosted a lovely bbq but also allowed me to stay at their home. Plus, I reconnected with one of my favorites from KU – Larry!


What I found truly remarkable was that even after twenty years our time together was seamless – as if we were all hanging out just yesterday! That’s the beauty of true friendships.

(Thanks Craig and Regina!)

Finally, I spent the majority of my holiday in Austin. Despite feeling as if I didn’t have enough time to see all the people that I wanted to catch up with, the timing of my stay happened to align with Elvis Perkins and his band performing at The Parish!

(Amy & Tina)

(Kat and Amy)

Now Elvis is the son of my dear friend, Berry, who was killed on September 11th. In fact, she was flying from Boston to LA on American Airlines, Flight 11 (the first plane that struck the World Trade Center) in order to see Elvis play one of his first gigs.

Elvis, Amy & Wyndham
(Elvis, Amy & Wyndham)

I’ve met Elvis on numerous occasions, both in Jamaica and in the states, so seeing him was truly a highlight. I can’t help but think how proud Berry would be to see him now.

(Camille, Andreas, Amy & Chris)

By in large, this trip was exactly what I needed – renourishment of my soul while reconnecting with friends and family!

(Davo, Siham, Jazzy and Sami)

I just renewed my contract for one more year. Hopefully, I’ll get some more visitors before I leave next May.

Matt, Brandy and Lily
(I was excited to meet Lily for the first time!!)

Sending much love as well as many thanks to all my friends near and far.
(I miss all my nieces and nephews!!!)


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