• Love in Tanzania

    The beginning of feeling homesick for Africa

    Before I made my way to Athens, I had layovers in Addis Ababa and Istanbul. And although it’s been less than 24 hours, I already felt an urge to check my e-mail to see if Sam had sent me anything, as he promised he would. When I was connected to a stable WI-FI at Addis, sure enough, I find a message from him. The email was very brief—short and sweet—and I thought to myself—“This is crazy,” and then sat down and wrote a reply. Back in college, I had a lenghty crush on a guy who was on the other side of Canada, and for the longest time, the new…

  • Love in Tanzania

    The end of one journey, and the beginning of another.

    If someone had asked me on that day what was going through my mind during the drive to the airport, I would tell them that I was so focused on talking to Sam, making the most of our conversation, that I hadn’t really thought about the “afterwards”. And who plans a future with a person they’ve met only a handful of times, especially with someone who was a thousand miles away? You’d have to be deliriously crazy to want to do that, right? Well, shortly after Sam dropped me off at the airport, I found myself bewilderedly stuck in that category. To this day, I am not sure what was…

  • Love in Tanzania

    Waiting for my ride

    It took me awhile to fall asleep, seeing how unexpected my last night in Tanzania had turned out. I only had one beer at the party and technically only half, since Sam accidentally spilled half of the content on me. And I was still thinking about what a great time I had and feeling simultaneously anxious and jittery about seeing him again later. Somewhere between my ambivalence and the anticipation of my Europe trip, I dozed off to sleep. When I awoke, I remember feeling extremely well-rested, and a bit jittery, for two reasons; one, my big Europe trip was about to begin, and second—I was going to meet Sam…

  • Love in Tanzania

    The World Cup Party (II)

    When I joined Greg and Sam, they each had a beer in their hand, a proudly Tanzanian brew that was quite popular—aptly branded as ‘Kilimanjaro’. They were both laughing at something when I stepped into this familiar circle, and Sam said something like—“You’re here!” with a wide grin on his face. I remember we all stood there and chatted for a while, and then Greg gallantly offered to get us both a round of beers on him. When he left, I didn’t recall any awkward silence, but rather that our conversation just flowed naturally. And while the content escapes me now, I still vividly recall the “feeling” of being very much…

  • Love in Tanzania

    The World Cup Party (I)

    It was the last night before I was going to leave for Addis Ababa and connect to Istanbal, where I’d then fly to Athens to meet up with my friend and co-worker Emily. My very last night in Tanzania. We were planning this vacation since the winter months in Vancouver, a most exciting itinerary for two single women in their 20s. We had steady government jobs (although I was quitting mine), neither of us dating, and we were saving up to make this Europe trip worthwhile. Every day, promptly at 4pm, as soon as we logged out of our work computers, we’d stride out of our building and into the…

  • Love in Tanzania

    Day 4 – an almost “hello”

    Has any of you ever met someone and didn’t know if your paths would ever cross again, but secretly wish that they would? It was strange, considering how little I knew of Sam and how short of a time we actually interacted with each other on safari, but I did think of him from time to time afterwards. Between the end of the safari and the next time we actually met again, unbeknownst to me, we had an “almost” encounter in the middle of Arusha city. (Here’s a picture of Sam and I, years later in the Serengeti, as I actually don’t have any picture to go with this post,…

  • Love in Tanzania

    Day 3 – the “first” move

    The last morning of our safari was undoubtedly the highlight in terms of game viewing. While it was still early, and the morning fog hadn’t lifted, we left the Simba campsite in Ngorongoro and started to make our way down to the Crater. This area was nicknamed the Garden of Eden of East Africa, because aside from it being breathtakingly beautiful, it is also one of the few places you can see hyenas, lions, zebras and other antelopes dwell together within a short proximity of each other. The night before, we camped at the Simba public campsite, located on the Crater’s rim—an area that is roughly 7,500 feet high. Because…

  • Love in Tanzania

    Day 2

    Day Two: Morning Game Drive The word “safari” literally translated from Swahili to English means “to travel”, and while I did briefly look up what a wildlife safari would be like online prior leaving for Tanzania, I was really able to fully grasp just how life-changing this experience would be on Day 2. After breakfast, the six of us began the morning game drive with Sam as our driver and our guide. I’ve never thought of myself as a “nature” person, much less a wildlife enthusiast. But being on safari had slowly began to change that. It was as thought the excitement was contagious, because seeing zebras up close, a…

  • Love in Tanzania

    Day 1 & Jeep no. 2

    05:00am. It was so cold. I blinked when I woke up in my three-person dome tent that I shared with three other girls, Stephanie, Whitney and Kate. But we are in Africa. The Serengeti plains in Tanzania, to be precise. This may not be a surprise to some more seasoned traveler, but the twenty-five year-old me had never been to Africa. This trip to Tanzania had been a last minute decision, as I had initially wanted to go to Kenya or Rwanda, as most of the books and articles I had read was on these two countries of East Africa. But the riots in Kenya had just died down in…

  • Family

    How lucky “we” are

    Have you ever gotten weird compliments or remarks as an interracial couple? I have more than a few stories but I’ll share one here. One time, we were speaking to a group of people, and because I spoke the same language as them, Sam would just sit back and I would do occasional interpretation for him. At one point, one person turned to me and said pointedly, “He must be a very special African for you to want to be with him.” And I was so taken aback, that for a moment, I didn’t know what to say. It was fortunate that she continued talking so there wasn’t any awkward…