i’m baaaaack

I’m baaaack!  I can’t decide whether the three weeks in Africa flew by or if it feels like I’ve been gone forever because it seems like a little bit of both.  They say time flies when you’re having fun, and the three weeks went by quicker than I ever thought they would.  I’m now back in the US, hanging out at Jocelyn’s apartment (congrats on the HUGE PR at the Chicago Marathon…told you that you’d love it!) since I don’t have access to my new apartment yet.  I definitely have lots to share with all of you, so if you’re not interested in Africa, you might just want to ignore me for a few posts!

As a reminder, I headed to Namibia to work on an elephant conservation project in Namibia with EHRA (Elephant Human Relations Aid), building a wall to protect wall points one week and then heading on patrol to find elephants the next week.  After that, I flew to Nairobi, Kenya to visit Nick, a friend from college…and then we traveled to Ethiopia (Gondar and Lalibela) for a few days.  A few highlights include:

Sleeping in a tree house…


And under the stars…


Being really dirty in the middle of a Namibian desert, not showering for a week…and liking it.




Elephants…(Gatsby was a happy man)


…and more elephants


Then, I headed to Nairobi, where I saw…you guessed it…more elephants.  This time, in baby fashion, so young the keepers needed to put sunscreen on their ears.


Then it was off to Ethiopia where I got to visit a hospital in Gondar (no pictures, but I’m pretty sure the mental pictures and smells will never leave me…) along with some historical sights before going to Lalibela to see churches that are older than my country.


  Late night church festival in Lalibela.

let’s give some thanks

Let’s start this recap off by giving thanks where thanks are due, since there are multiple who helped this whole trip happen.

Jocelyn  – Helping me pack (by that I mean making take only half the stuff I was planning on…) and for letting me crash at her apartment while I’m temporarily homeless.

– Nick and Liz – Nick traveled with me for a week (risky since I hadn’t seen him in fives years!) and did some Nairobi planning (and put up with me when I scaled a wall since I thought we were being attacked…true story, I’ll tell you later).  Liz is Nick’s friend who lives in Gondar and took us all around, plus let me hang out for rounds at the hospital.

– Mom – News broke while I was in Nairobi that the CDC announced that the epidural steroid injections I had gotten in July and August had caused over 100 cases of fungal meningitis, including eight deaths.  Thanks for calling my doctor to check if he had a bad batch…and for then telling me that I was in the clear and wouldn’t be getting meningitis in Africa.  And to think I was worried about malaria…

Sara and Betsy – These two were back and forth for who was going to send me the most  “I miss you when are you coming back it feels like you’ve been going forever we have so much to talk about” emails.  Sara ended up winning with a final facebook post.  Thanks for making me feel wanted, friends.

That is all for now!  Please prepare yourself for a twelve part series on Africa…and some running talk too, although the two aren’t actually related at the moment since I didn’t run a single step in Africa.

As Jocelyn said when I got back, “You’ve missed so much!”  So fill me in, give me an update…what’s going on with all of you?  Bonus points if it includes elephants…but I’ll accept marathons (and PRs!) too.

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  1. says

    omg that picture of the baby elephant with sunscreen is too cute :) Also like Gatsby looking out at the elephants! New? IT’S FINALLY FALL HERE!!! But you probably already figured that out…

  2. maura says

    welcome back! i ran two laps in CP and MISSED YOU!

    i am SO GLAD that you were not impacted by the injections! holy crap! it’s a huge story here, obviously!


  3. says

    Welcome home!!! I have been traveling a lot lately (though not NEARLY to as far or exciting places as you), so it will be great to finally catch up! You should be getting a Halloween invite from me soon :)

  4. says

    welcome home! can’t wait to hear more about your trip!! hmm, what’s going on with me. I’m running again. Ran a half marathon. It wasn’t fast at all. Still recovering. Got a year older, and drank and ate a lot. :)

  5. says

    omg its like gatsby went back to his mother ship!

    glad you back and glad you joined the track party! more to come. cant wait to hear about baby elephants and sleeping in treehouses. and the hospital you saw.

  6. says

    Ahhhh so many cute baby elephants! Africa sounds like such an adventure! When I was a kid, my dad worked there every other month, but Emilia and I never got a chance to do take your kid to work day.

    Like Jocelyn, I also just ran a superPR in Chicago and am now experiencing a mix of gladness that training is over, sadness that I’m not running NYCM, excitement to run NYC next year, and indecisiveness about whether I should sign up for Chicago again (guess I have until February to decide if racing Chicago and doing a victory lap in NYC is a brilliant idea or not…).

  7. says

    Oh my goodness, what an amazing experience! I am super jealous!!!! Welcome back and I hope your move goes as smoothly as moves in NYC can go!

  8. says

    welcome back very close by neighbor! I’m so glad you’re back and obviously had an amazing time. And also glad your steroid injections were not the bad batch – I have been thinking about you whenever they talk about it on the news. Once you’re settled, I want to hear more about the elephants!! And everything else. :)

  9. says

    WOW! Susan, this is the coolest. I’m loving all the pictures from this trip. You are such an adventure girl! I love it.

    Btw, re: your most recent post, you should totally come visit me in Portland!! :)

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