Inspiration in unexpected places.

Hi, I’m Whitney. Nice to meet you again.

I feel like I need to reintroduce myself after two months away. I promise it was unintentional, even though the new job’s been challenging, the end of the summer semester demanding and the rest of life distracting. Excuses, excuses. I do appreciate those of you who ever-so-politely harrassed me about blogging during those quiet weeks. I really needed that kick in the pants, and I’m honored that you’re reading.

I must confess that I haven’t cooked a bite since I last left you, and I’ve been subsisting primarily on cracker chips, sliced cheese, hummus and the Trader Joe’s frozen food section. But I’m starting to get the itch again for a cooking spree, so stay tuned on that.

I also promised so many months ago to tell you about my trip to South Africa, which was on the back burner until last weekend when I was sitting in the audience at The Lion King, of all places. I first saw the show on Broadway many years ago, and always thought it was a stunning visual spectacle. But I’ve never been really connected to the story, the movie or the show. My mom has wanted to see it forever, so I took her while we were in Las Vegas.

While perusing the playbill before the show started, I noticed that many of the cast are from South Africa. Then, as soon as the music started, I was sort of transported back to that trip by the costumes, the scenery and especially the music. I appreciated the show so much more now that I’ve been to Africa. One of the composers of the original score was Lebo M., a respected South African musician, and I can only assume that was a draw for South African actors to join the production. Plus, the introductory lines of “The Circle of Life” are in Zulu, one of South Africa’s 11 official languages. Those cast members might actually be fluent, not just learning the lines for the sake of the show. It made it all feel more authentic and important somehow, like they were sharing and telling a story of their own.

So, yes, it was during The Lion King that I found the inspiration to finally retell our story about South Africa. That’s coming up next.

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