I’ve Been Preparing For The Jungle For Years

A few nights ago I was on the phone with my friend Daphne, and she mentioned that when she spent some time with our friend Elizabeth a couple of weeks ago, they would pretty much laugh their heads off when my trip to the Amazon would come up in conversation. Both Daph and Liz have known me for most of my life, so they are well-familiar with my very consistent pattern of Avoiding All The Nature.

Suffice it to say that the irony of this trip to Ecuador – well, it isn’t lost on them for one second.

Anyway, Daphne and I talked for ten or fifteen minutes about some trip-related stuff, and in the middle of our conversation I remembered a critical detail I hadn’t yet shared with her.

“Wait a minute,” I said. “Have I told you about the canoe ride?”

“What canoe ride?” she asked.

“The 40-minute canoe ride we have to take in order to get to one of the Compassion projects we’re visiting.”

“YOU’RE riding in a canoe? YOU’RE RIDING IN A CANOE?”

And y’all, I couldn’t even answer her, because my sweet friend Daphne must have laughed for the next five minutes. Cackled, in fact.

Honestly, I don’t know when I’ve heard her sound so delighted. Except for maybe the third quarter of the State / Ole Miss game in 2009. Now that I think about it, that may in fact be the most delighted that any one human has ever been in the history of all time ever.

I finished telling Daphne about the canoe, and we laughed some more, and at some point I said, “You know, by the time I put on all my Amazon clothes – my shirt with SPF built into it and my collapsible hat with a brim all the way around it and my cargo pants and my hiking boots – I’m pretty much going to look like I’m dressed up to go to some sort of costume party. Like when we were at State and had that swap with the Sig Eps.”

“I REMEMBER THAT!” Daphne said. “It was a jungle-themed swap! You’re going to look like you’re going to a jungle swap!”

And then she laughed some more. With me, of course. Not at me. With me.

I hadn’t thought about it in years, but as soon as Daph and I started talking about the jungle swap, the memories came flooding back. I wore some sah-weet khakis from Banana Republic (back in the day when Banana Republic had a big Jeep parked in the middle of the store), plus some faux-hiking boots that were really just flannel-lined booties but nonetheless lent a air of realism to my outfit. And since I apparently felt like any time spent in the jungle would result in contact with a lot of foliage, I somehow attached a large branch of magnolia leaves to the back of my head.

Because, yes. Magnolia trees. You’ll find them all over the Amazonian terrain. Of course you will.

Daphne and I eventually wrapped up our conversation, hung up the phone – and about ten minutes later, she sent me an email. With a picture attached.

For the record, the picture made me clap my hands.


Nicely done.

Second of all, if you look closely you can see two large magnolia leaves behind me. They were a part of the aforementioned branch. It’s a look I’m praying that I don’t replicate in the Amazon, because if I wind up with a branch in the back of my head in the Amazon, it will most certainly be the result of an unanticipated run-in with a tree and not because I PINNED A BRANCH TO MY HEAD FOR A PARTY.

Third of all, the guy in the middle is my husband’s best friend, Todd, and I have to say that when I saw this picture a few days ago, my very first reaction was “OH MY WORD HE’S A CHILD. WHAT IS HE DOING AT COLLEGE?”

Now he’s all grown up, though. Happily married father of two. Which is no small feat considering that his parents clearly sent him off to college when he was nine.

Tonight I remembered a picture of Emma Kate and me from that same swap, and I’m so tickled that I found it because, well, just look.

That’s a whole lot of leaves on my head. And do you know what I love the most? The fact that Emma Kate opted to wear a big white bow in the jungle.


So tomorrow I leave for Ecuador. And I keep thinking that if anyone had told the 19 year-old (with the bad perm) in those pictures up there that she was gonna find herself on a real-live airplane to South America in 2011, she probably would’ve rolled her eyes and said, “Do they, like, have When Harry Met Sally in the movie theaters there? Because I really, like, need to have access to When Harry Met Sally at, like, ALL POSSIBLE TIMES.”

Oh, I was a real ray of sunshine, I was.

I’ll be updating here as much as I can while we’re gone, and you can follow our group on Twitter, too. There’s also a Compassion Bloggers page that’s a hub for everybody’s posts, so if you like a one-stop shop, it might be a good option for you.

I’m so grateful for each one of you and appreciate your prayers for our group more than I can ever say.

I’m also so grateful that the Lord has delivered me from my poor hair-related choices in the late 80s. I was foolish, but He is faithful.

Vamanos, y’all.

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    • Oh my goodness, I just read about your all caps and remembered that the person commenting before me was writing in all caps and I thought,”That had to be Andrea!” and it was.
      That’s all. I thought it was funny. :)

  2. Me gusta mucho. I am putting a link to your blog on my blog so that I can go straight to the source any time I want. You make me laugh Boo Mama, so, so much.

  3. I posted a comment on Melanie’s blog about how I fully expect to laugh a lot this week what with the two of you posting on your adventures, and here you are proving me right already!

    Seriously, Sophie, I’m praying for all y’all as you travel and relate back to us what you see and hear and feel. May God keep you safe and well, as well as your families.

  4. Those pictures are so delightfully hilarious! The leaves. Oh my goodness. I love it!!

    Praying for all you bloggers!

  5. Sophie, I’m up at 3:45 am nursing my baby boy and cracking up at you and your magnolia-leaf “do”….I’m sure this baby is wondering what’s so funny at 3:45 in the morning! I am also praying for you this very minute that God will use you in a MIGHTY way to do His work in Equador. He sure knows how to pick ’em!

  6. Magnolia leaves in the jungle! That’s way too funny! Do not get close enough to the trees to get leaves in your hair!!! Don’t snakes hang out in trees?
    Seriously, I’m praying for all you Compassion bloggers. Waiting anxiously for the updates.

  7. Well, looky there. God has been preparing you for this trip all along :)

    I am praying for you, Sophie! For no run-ins with trees and lots of other good stuff. Can’t wait to read along every day.

  8. Praying for you!!! Love this post! Tell Kelly “HI!” I follow her, too!! Not that she knows me from a tree in the amazon though!! :)
    Can’t wait to see your posts!

  9. Sophie, I am LAUGHING MY HEAD OFF!
    Those pictures are priceless! I need to go find the cardboard box with all of my zaps from State so I can laugh at myself. I know that I had the same hair. And the same outrageous costumes. I remember one time we had a Halloween swap with the KA’s (maybe?…), and a group of us wore big black trash bags and called ourselves bats. And I’m pretty sure I wore a matching bow, just like Emma Kate!

    I will be praying for your trip.
    Can’t wait to hear all about it!

  10. Praying for you all.
    Just posted to Big’s blog that I thought you two should not share a canoe. I am picturing MUCH laughter and hysterics leading to tipping over. What a story that would be though!

  11. Hope you have a wonderful trip!!!! Love the pictures. Will be praying for a blessed, safe, and hilariously wonderful experience.

  12. So so so proud of what y’all are doing! Praying for you Sophie!


  13. Oh, Sophie! SO much goodness in one post! I’ll be praying and reading along – as much as my heart can stand! I’ve sponsored after each of the previous blogger trips I’ve followed, so, yes, what you’re doing definitely works! Have a great trip – and be careful out there!

  14. Fun pictures!!! Isn’t God good to give you a little diversion before your trip? I’m praying for you, friend. Love you much, and God is going to get so much glory through you this week!

  15. You gotta hand it to the ’80’s. They made for some rockin’ blog posts. Who knew your hair and tree branches were only for the purposes of great hilarity some 20 years later?!

    Praying for your team this week. I can’t WAIT to read your posts!

  16. Praying for you all! I can’t wait to hear what God is doing through you and to you all!

    And loves those perms and bangs!

  17. Praying for you!

  18. Love the pictures! Boy, I remember those days! Praying for you! Be blessed!

  19. JulieInMI says:

    Have a safe trip and make it a memorable one! Can’t wait to read posts from you and Big!

  20. Praying for an amazing Amazon experience, that includes NO encounters with wildlife of any kind. Can’t wait to hear about it!

  21. Love the pics! I will be praying for you all this week! And I won’t even mention the man eating snake I saw on the Discovery Channel earlier this week!


    But seriously… I am looking forward to seeing and hearing about it through your eyes and in your unique voice!

  22. I totally had that perm, those bangs and then some. Fortunately, I think I have destroyed all photographic evidence…I just need my college roommates to do the same.

    Feel proud of what you’re doing…wishing you love & light :)

  23. Ha… those are awesome photos! And having attended college in Mississippi, I can attest to the fact that magnolia leaves are a stand-in for just about anything you can imagine. Praying blessings over you as you go out into the world… I know you will come back a changed person. Can’t wait to read all about it!

  24. Sallie Belle Howell says:

    I am so remembering that hair, those bows, and those sweet 19 year old children. Many prayers sent your way this week! I can’t wait to read of your adventures.

  25. I’m praying for safe travel today. And also, I cannot WAIT for this week’s posts, with so many of favorite bloggers in the same jungle together!

  26. First of all, I’m praying for you this week.

    Second of all, I once went to a Kappa Sig costume party with a guy who was dressed up as the Steve Martin “Wild and Crazy Guy” character and he did the impression all night. The latter has nothing to do with the former, except that it just seemed like a story worth repeating.

    Y’all be safe, and watch out for monkeys! :)

  27. Thank you for the HI-larious flashback and yes, surely there will be magnolias along for the canoe ride – ha!

    So looking forward to reading everyone’s posts and am in prayer for safe travels for all (including the river trip!).

  28. I’m praying for your trip, and I cant wait to hear all about it! :-)

  29. Magnolia trees and hair bows in the jungle TOTALLY made me laugh.

    Praying for a safe trip for y’all!

  30. Praying! I’ve been thinking of you all all day (Yes, I meant to put two alls there). (I could be a normal person from the South and say y’all.) I know it is going to be an amazing trip, and for as much as you take with you (and I don’t just mean in your suitcases), you will also gain (hopefully that does not include snakes). :)

  31. I don’t know why when I view your blog I can’t see any of the pictures you post? Darn it! I want to see the bangs. I need to compare them to mine during that lovely era.

  32. “How beautiful on the Andes Mountains and the Amazon Jungle are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’ ” Praying for all of you! Have a blast with those children!

  33. Am praying for you, Sophie! And I LOVE these pictures. Just love them. I mean, didn’t we ALL look like this at some point? The bangs, the perm. Everything.