08 August 2016

wait, what are those crazy leen's up to now?

There is never a dull moment in Tanzania. Every day in East Africa is an adventure and the adventures are about to continue - we've got a bunch of news to share with you so get stoked!



1. We are a Leen Mean Baby Making Machine!

Well folks, the title says it all. A little Leen is coming January 2017 - hooray! This is something we have been praying about for some time now so we are super excited to share this news with you. Because the medical care in Tanzania is largely inadequate, we intend to go to Nairobi, Kenya or Johannesburg, South Africa for the birth. Fun! We'll have to travel to the birth location four weeks prior to the due date, and then stay another four weeks after the birth to collect the baby's birth documents and U.S. passport before traveling back to Tanzania with the little one. So it should be quite the adventure! Feel free to inundate the Internet with #LittleLeen2017 - we know you want to. 


2. We are moving back to the United States May 2017!

After much prayer and discernment, we have decided to move back to the U.S. following the completion of our current 3.5-year contract with Maryknoll Lay Missioners. While we had the option of renewing for another three years, we discerned that God is calling us back home for now. A big part of this discernment is that Ashley has decided to attend law school in the Fall of 2017. She already dominated the Law School Admission Test and will be applying to schools in the coming months. As of now we do not know which city we will end up in, but we'll be sure to keep you posted. 

thanks again to katie foppiano for this great pic (which michael crudely modified)!

3. Michael's beard is gone.

Unlike the first two pieces of news, we realize this is ending on a bit of a somber note. But my year-in-the-making majestic beard is now gone from my face, allowing me once again to eat and drink without fear of finding unidentifiable food and beverage remains the following day. Yay! Growing a beard for that long is similar to summiting Kilimanjaro: it takes commitment, hard work and sacrifice. It began easy enough: locals called me Chuck Norris. Not a bad reference. Then all of the Tanzanians started calling me Jesus, since we all know that Jesus had white skin and blue eyes. Hmmm. I mean if I'm going to be compared to someone, who better than J.C.? It still felt kind of weird. But it didn't stop there. As the beard became evermore formidable, I was called Muslim, Arab and Osama Bin Laden. Clearly at this point I was sending the wrong message. Nevertheless, it was a fun experiment while it lasted.  


So there you have it: three earth-shattering pieces of news that are sure to send tremors through our world for the days, weeks and months to come. Let us know what you think in the comments section below!

8 comments:

  1. Let me be the first to congratulate you (at least in this forum). I remember the amount of unsolicited advice and predictions during Rachel's first pregnancy rose to irritating levels, so I won't give you any. Just have fun. And be prepared for a quick transition, as you return from abroad with baby in arms, from being the talk and toast of the town to realizing that suddenly everything is last month's news, you're just another American, and you have no more social life. Oh wait, I wasn't going to give you any advice. Sorry for that.

    Are you sure the last photo of Michael isn't an old photo from a few years ago? Well anyway, it's a good look. Never could see you as a Civil War general - this is better.

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    1. Thanks! And regarding the beard, one person described it as an "early American explorer" look which I kind of liked.

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  2. Congratulations Michael! So happy for you and your family regarding Baby Leen and returning to the US. YAY!!! But I share your sadness that Majestic Beard is no more. :(

    Yvonne K.

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    1. Thanks so much! Yes, it is sad that the furry animal had to go but perhaps we shall meet again in the days to come.

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  3. This is some news!! Congrats on all those huge decisions. Love you both!

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  4. Congratulations, Michael and Ashley! I have been religiously reading your blogs and am so happy for you, although I am sure it will be bittersweet to leave Tanzania! Take good care, and feel free to reach out as you are transitioning back to the US.

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    1. It certainly will be bittersweet to leave Tanzania. While we are confident that this is the right discernment, it will still be incredibly difficult to leave a life we have been completely invested in here in Tanzania, and all the more difficult to transition back into U.S. culture and lifestyle. Thanks for reaching out and for being a faithful reader of our blog!

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