Archive | August, 2011

The Ankenbrandt’s in their Homeland

7 Aug

Yes, as you can tell from our name…we are GERMANS. It has made us feel slightly at home here. Apart from the constant stank of cigarettes and the rather unpleasant sound of the language, we think we could even live here. The food is great…the beer is great…the company is great…well, just the company of my parents. Even though my mother could make friends with a brick wall, (and does, by the way), I would still prefer to just hang with them. German’s are efficient and make great bratwurst, but they don’t really understand southern hospitality…and definitely don’t understand the preciousness of the word “y’all.”


The precious town of Rothenburg…our first stop in our homeland.

But our time here has been extraordinary thus far. And let me just say…drumroll please…that I have not been sick ONE time since we have arrived in this country. Africa stomach has left me, and I must say I am overjoyed. I attribute it to the array of meat, cheese, beer, meat, more cheese, potatoes, and more beer. What can I say, I have German in my blood.

Don’t judge…we’re on vacation!!

Our first stop was in the town of Rothenburg, just about the cutest little German town you could imagine. We hiked, hung out with our inn keeper who I am sure doubles as Santie Claus in the winter months, and visited the Crime and Punishment Museum which was both strange and fascinating, as sick as that is to say.

Dad hanging with Herr Hocher, our innkeeper, or Santa!

Locked up in the stocks at the Crime and Punishment museum.

This morning we boarded a train for Beilstein, the sweetest little town on the Mosel River which runs into the Rein. On our drive in we saw about 20 castles nestled up in the lush German hills hugging the Mosel Valley. It is like a little fairytale land here…orĀ Lord of the Rings. One of the two. Tomorrow we are visiting one of the best of these castles, as well as partaking in the wine festival going on here in the valley.

On the Mosel…beautiful.


Farewell my dear Rwanda

3 Aug

In approximately 5 hours, I will be sitting on a plane with my parents headed to Germany, looking at the rolling hills of Rwanda pass beneath me for the last time. Well, not the last time….I’ll be back. Last night I had a last dinner with my Rwanda family and it was the perfect way to say goodbye to this incredible place and the people I have come to love here more than can be articulated.

But I am not going to lie…I have gotten sick 2 other times this week and thought that the Lord was telling me, “This is it, James,” so I am ready to move on to a land where no more squishy friends will make it their lives work to take up residence in my intestines. That, my friends, I am ready for.

My last week here has been a whirlwind, emotional, wonderful, hard week. I am ready to be an Amurrican again, but Rwanda has stolen a large part of who I am and that has become so evident to me these past few days as I have said my goodbyes.

Here are some pics of some of the last adventures I had in Rwanda with my parents by my side.

We saw lots of monks on a walk we took our second day in Nyungwe forest. They are so hilariously weird.

Happy Birthday SUS! We got to celebrate twice for good ole’ Momma’s day. Once at Nyungwe where they brought out this cake with a literal fire cracker on it…and the other in Musanze at Virunga Lodge up in the Rwandan Volcanoes. I’d say it was pretty awesome.

Last visit with some of my favorite kiddos up in the Village where my friend Frances teaches. Love them.

They LOVED Susie. They sang her Happy Birthday in Kinyarwanda and one of them even rapped and broke it down for her. Awesome.

Most beautiful view ever! Yes, that is real life!

Second Birthday dinner at Virunga Lodge, drinking tea by the fire.

Last picture with my awesome team and family here. Love them.

Off to Germany we go!! Mother, showing me the whole plan. I am so obviously enthralled. Bring on the schnitzel!