Monday, January 28, 2013

New blog address

Hello All,
First of all, I wanted to thank you ALL for visiting my blog over the years. I think you'll agree with me that this has been an amazing ride!

My husband and I left the ship before Christmas to start a new chapter in life. We are planning to document this new chapter as well, but it wouldn't be accurate to continue it on this blog (Reka On Africa Mercy) and RiNC just didn't sound right. :)

Darren and I thought about it a lot how to make it work, considering that now we have to be more careful as to what and how much information we post online, so here is the solution we came up with:

We have a new blog called "Goodsonlines" and hopefully it will NOT show up in any search engine. The way to find it is to type in the name, followed by:

You are more than welcome to check it out.

Reka and Darren

PS. God blessed us with a huge house with enough rooms to have overnight guests so if you wanna come, visit Newcastle, do give us a call. We might even pick you up at the airport ;)

Sunday, December 30, 2012

D-5-4-3-2-1 days... in retrospect

Sorry for not updating this blog for a while, I have 2 good reasons:

The last 5 days have been incredibly full of emotions, of packing, of last minute things to arrange / give away / sell / tell / take back / give back / fill out / sign / finish... etc...

The other reason is more poetic - none of us wanted to face reality that in a very short time we have to depart from our home and ship friends for good this time. Actually as I am typing this email from my living room (with fast internet! - thought I mention this for you all :) ) we are still in denial. Ok, maybe not denial, but we still avoid talking about the ship and keep snooping around in our ship friends' facebook and blog updates, we still check the temperature in Conakry every day and reject this cold winter reality.

For the last 5 days we tried to spend as much time with our ship's family as possible. We went out for countless dinners and had breakfast, lunch, dinner, morning coffee break, afternoon coffee break and after dinner dates with many friends - I think we spent more money during the last 2 weeks than what we did in a normal month, but who cares? :)

We also tried to soak up as much sunshine as possible - went to the island (together as husband and wife for the first time), had lazy hours by the pool and enjoyed those unforgettable sunsets on deck 8 every evening.

Visiting places and people for the last time was another item on our busy agenda - went to the market for some last minute gift shopping, said good bye to our local friends and had one last drink and meal in our fav. food places.

And of course there was this white elephant in our living room - empty suitcases who were mocking me every day with "you will never be able to squeeze everything in me!" Well, they were right! I couldn't!

Truth be told it was my amazing husband who did all the packing and guess what: he DID PACK everything we wanted to take home in those bags! We also blessed people by putting stuff outside our cabin door with a 'free' sign over it and we could also sell many items to fellow crew members.

But no matter what you do or don't do, the dreadful day sneaks up on you quietly. On the day of our actual departure (19th Dec) we just switched to autopilot and flew through the day in fast-forward. I must have had  meals with our friends and ship's family, must have said good bye to everybody,must have distributed those thank you/love you/miss you already cards, must have cried a bit - I cannot really recall any of it.

All I know that my only comfort was the fact that I didn't have to do this alone; my wonderful husband was standing next to me, holding my hand, helping me cope and actually leave the ship.

The rest was a big blur; it still is. We got to the airport, had some last coffee with Gerrit and Herma, travelled well to Europe, said good bye to the Palmers in Brussles, slept at the airport, FROZE at the airport, boarded the plant to Hungary, saw lots of snow on the Alps then finally landed in Budapest. Parents came, picked us up, we went home, had lunch and we went to sleep. The next day we went Christmas shopping, ate, saw the Christmas markets, ate, drank lots of mulled wine, ate, FROZE to death, ate, were welcomed back at church, ate, ate and ate some more, met friends and more family, ate, somewhere in between we celebrated Christmas, ate some more, met more people, exchanged more gifts, ate... and now is the first time when I have a couple of seconds (before eating again!) to update my blog.

 Last Supper in the Davies Cabin :(

 Food on the plane - let the massive eating season start!

 Christmas Market at night with some mulled wine to save us from freezing!

 Darren found some more wine while I ate chocolate fondue..

Yes, we are in Hungary. No point in denying it. It's cold, it's dark, it's weird, it's TINA (This Is NOT Africa) and it doesn't feel real... :(

Friday, December 14, 2012

D-6 days... It has started...

Long term crew gets to go up front during our Thursday night meetings to be publicly thanked and acknowledged at the end of their term. Until tonight I was happy swimming in The Nile (denial), but tonight made it very real. We are leaving in less than a week. :(

Cathrine, one of the Chaplains on board reading the notes
It's a tradition for team members or leaders to write up something about you. Well... this is what was said about my amazing husband:

"Darren has been an invaluable member of the IS department and will be missed - not only for his technical ability but also for his unique style. Over the course of the past year and a half he has tackled many problems and shown initiative beyond the scope of his role, learning completely new skills and technologies in the process. With the ever-changing nature of not only technology, but also within Mercy Ships, he has proven adaptable and is a member of the team whose absence will be felt."

Awwww, isn't it very nice? I am so glad Mercy Ships recongised what a valuable member he was!

And this is what was said about me: (can you guess it was written by Brits? :) )

"What can we say about this wonderful Hungarian girl…

We are delighted that Queen Elizabeth ll has given permission for her to live in England…for the sake of her husband Daren who is a good British citizen. This permission came in spite of our advice to the Queen not to let her in. But Newcastle is considered far from London.. so is used to send people into exile.

But Reka joined the Off Ship Programme Team as our administration officer in June last year when we were in Sierra Leone. She immediately ruled us with a rod of iron. No more excuses about lost receipts….advances left open too long….petty cash not being in date order…Day worker pay sheets not correctly filled out…The Off Ships Programmes team did not know what had hit them. Even Ryan Hare was forced to get into line…!!

But seriously..Reka has a lovely warm personality full of fun & sense of humour (thanks again for Daren for teaching her about the British sense of humour). But her commitment to her work & her expertise has been gratefully appreciated by all her team. She has worked over & above what has been required. She has supported the team & encouraged them daily. In our team meetings Reka is the first to pray… the first to give a scripture… & the first to offer to take devotions….

Thank you Reka from all the Off Ships Programmes team & from all who have had the privilege of working with you… or just knowing your friendship. You have touched & influenced many lives in Sierra Leone, Togo & Guinea.

May God bless you & His favour rest upon you & Darren in the next chapter of your lives."

Aaaaaaaawwwwww - thank you so much guys for your kind, British words! :)

 She lead the whole ship in prayer for us! Very touched!!!

And finally a LAUGHING picture (not just frozen American smiles) with the Boss Man and His Boss
(aka Donovan Palmer, VP and Managing Director and his lovely wife, Mae)
Can't you tell we love them sooooo much? :)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

D-7 days...

Darren and I got invited to the Team House one last time to have dinner with Barry and Cheryl before they fly away for holiday tomorrow. It was great to enjoy a good African meal off the ship - of course it had fruits, veggies, plantain and fish in it. I am slowly getting used to it... :)

They were great friends and team members, I will truly miss them and their British sense of humour! :)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Our lovely and fearless Ghurka guards not only protect us and the ship, but also cook a-m-a-z-i-n-g Nepalese food - sadly we can only taste it when we are sailing and they are free. Since Darrena dn I are good friends with us it was our wish to eat with them one last time and today was the big day!!!! Sooooo excited! They cooked in the afternoon and Chitra called us around 4 to come up, food is ready. And what food it was!!!! My-my, the chapati and curry-eggs totally stole the show for me (again).

Here are some pictures as they were making the food:

 Hit is flattening chapati dough
 Dil making Chapati 
 Chitra dishing out some rice for us
Tek gave us the plates and bowls
 Min gave us the finished Chapati

(rice, chapati, curry eggs, vegetable soup and fish-curry) 
The very best from Nepal!

D-9 days... Birthday Cake

So Monday night was my actual birthday day. I am not for big public displays, but my dear husband again did his own thing. He posted posters all around the ship that said today is "Hug a Reka day!' So all these random people were coming to me to hug me and I appreciate the fact that they were just trying to be nice and all, but I am just not that type of a person...

In the evening we gathered at our usual place, the Davies' Cabin. Shelly again outdid herself with this cake:
CHOCOLATE-MINT ICE CREAM CAKE! How can you NOT just eat it all in one go without sharing it with others??? :)))

 Dear husband's signs all over the ship, this one is from the gangway.

 Here is my new fav cake with a cute, fake candle!
 With Penny and her gluten-free version of my cake!

Don't you dare touch my cake!!!!!
Got some money from my boss. It's actually REAL money, doesn't worth much, but it's really cool. A large stash of 100 GNFs (0.1 euro cent!) The 2 stash altogether worth less than 3 dollars.

And Penny's sneaky picture:
Yes, I loved my cake. Any problems with that???

12-12-12 12:12

What were you doing in this historic moment? If you missed it, you need to wait a very-very-very long time for this again, but good luck anyways... :)

Darren and I did what we always do - except this time we have a time stamp on it! Haha