5:05 pm Mountain Time, Home
This morning I drove into the mountains again and spent a while at the store and then at the center, talking to Jennie and filling out paperwork. Jennie believes very firmly in the power of intuition, and said that she even reads... well, something... for people. What did she say? Oracles? Something esoteric and hippy-ish like that. The thing about Jennie, though, is that she comes across as being so matter-of-fact and real that she could probably tell you she'd been abducted by aliens and you wouldn't start questioning it until a few hours later, so when she says she reads oracles (or whatever), you believe that she probably does a great job of it.
Anyhow, at one point we were talking about how the major drawback of this job is the lack of cash, and I said that I didn't really care about money -- that the only thing I should be saving for is a trip to Africa in the summer of 2004. When I said that, her eyes got wide and she said, "Who's in Africa? It's someone important to you, isn't it? I have a feeling that you are in some way tied up with Africa. I just got goosebumps."
I was mostly speechless, but finally shook my head and said, "Yeah, my best friend is going there to teach, at a girls' school in Lesotho."
Jennie asked, "Is it a man? The two of you are very close...." She twisted her first two fingers around one another to illustrate two intertwined lives.
I said, "No, it's not a man -- it's my college roommate, my best friend. We're like sisters."
Jennie nodded. "I think you'll go to Africa. I think it will be an important time for you."
I didn't know what to say, so I just smiled and said, "Okay!"
Later, I called Ali and tried to explain it to her -- how strange it was that this woman I had just met, my new boss, both sensed how important Ali was to me and also predicted that I'd go to Africa -- but I think that I failed to convey the weight of the conversation over the phone. In the retelling, I know, Jennie sounds like some crazy old tea-reading hippy, but in person she's so down-to-earth that you just think, "of course!" no matter what she says.