Aside from the sessions every day, we had lots of things to fill our time.
Meals were a really good time to visit and get to know new people. I loved it when we'd push a couple tables together, making room for plenty of people to sit around, friends both old and new. We'd laugh at the ups and downs of serving in our respective fields, share what God was doing in our lives, and just enjoy each other's company.
(On a keeping-it-real note: It was super cool meeting people - our coworkers - from around the world...the other side of Africa, the US, Canada, and even the Philippines. The downside for me was that, in meeting so many new people, I had to repeat the same thing over and over again, "What am I planning on doing here in West Africa? Actually I'm heading back to the States next week. Yes, I'm leaving for now, even though I've come to love this place so much. No, I have no idea what lies ahead for me." I was really struggling with both the goodbyes and the unknown future staring me in the face, and it was not particularly fun to be reminded of that in every other conversation.)
Every afternoon there was a least one ball game (of some kind or another).
Me? I watched.
In the words of my former classmate Stephen, "I'm a great spectator. I can watch with the best of 'em!"
Jungle Speed: not a game for the tired, the slow, or the easily distracted.
Like in the games of Spoons, if two people grabbed that wooden thingy at the same time, they could fight over it. It may have gone flying across the table a time or two. Thankfully no one fell backwards into the pool...
The girls' hang-out one evening.
We had crafts - card and envelope making...
...and good chats.
Countries represented at just our table: the US, the UK, Brazil, Australia, the Netherlands. Though we don't all serve in the same place, I get to call them my coworkers. I love that.
Gracie and Gracia were transfixed by the music. They were so cute sitting there like that, I just had to get a picture.
Twelve drummers drumming. Or...not quite twelve. But they were impressive, I tell you.
The girls: Angie, Janel, me, Jen, Anna, Leah, Ruth, Michi, Susie
"Goofy shot now!"
It took us a while to kind of synchronize our whole diving-into-the-pool act.
Eliza pulled Jen into the pool just after that picture. Susie was pulling from the other direction, trying to keep her from falling in, but when Jen realized it was a hopeless fight, she gave up...and pulled Susie in with her.
And that was the beginning of a free-for-all, where just about anyone within the vicinity of the pool risked being thrown in.
I escaped. I told them repeatedly, in no uncertain terms, that I do not swim. (It's the truth. It's also a little embarrassing.) It worked.
We cleaned wash houses together for a semester in training. And that's where it started: the longest-running in-joke I've ever had with a friend. I've appreciated her humor, her perceptiveness, and her dedication to following the Lord even when it's difficult.
She had finished E2 before I came to West Africa. I so appreciated her advice about relationships, church, language learning, and a lot of other practical areas. She was great about cheering us other girls on in our learning. Oh, and she's so much fun to tease and scare.
This girl has given me advice when I needed it, encouraged me when I was down, let me vent, listened to my stressed-out over-analyzing, laughed and cried and prayed with me. She's pretty much one of the most selfless people I know - always, always thinking of others.
And there you go. Some of the cool people I got to hang out with that week.