Thursday, October 17, 2013

A Few Impressions

Pretty much since about a month after we got to Africa, I have asked Ryan to take me home.  Home being America.  Not to live, just to visit.  It was just an itch that I felt like I NEEDED to scratch.  If I could just go back and experience things through the lens of “what I know now.”  I needed to see if it was as wonderful as I remembered it to be.  

Now I’ve been here.  The itch has been scratched.  I’m happy to go home.  Home being Africa.  I have thorougly enjoyed my time in America.  I’ve enjoyed spending time with family and friends.  I’ve enjoyed the conveniences and the availablilty of anything you could possibly want. It’s been nice for a season.  But one of the nicest parts of the whole experience is that I am more certain than ever that this is not where I belong for this season of my life.  That’s a good feeling.  

That being said, here are a few of the things I’ll miss and a few of the things I won’t...

Wish I didn’t have to say goodbye to:

  • The open road.  Free flowing without hundreds of brake lights stretching in every direction.  Oh Accra traffic, how I loathe thee.
  • Dairy.  Or at least good, cheap dairy.  I’m not looking forward to shelf-stable milk and $12 a pound cheddar.
  • The Voice.  I got hooked.  I’d like to see it to the end.  Not gonna happen.
  • Butter that is wrapped in little sticks, already measured into tablespoons.  I didn’t realize how awesome that was until I didn’t have it anymore.
  • Holiday themed retail.  I don’t know why, but Hershey kisses taste so much better when they’re wrapped in seasonally colored foil.  Heavens, any reasonably priced Hershey kisses would be welcome where I live, no matter what color the foil.  And Christmas wrapping paper, I love that stuff!
  • Dr. Pepper.   Need I say more?
  • Our awesome church and the awesome people that make it such a special place.
  • And of course, our families!

I’m not gonna miss:

  • The pace.  You Americans are insane.  No wonder we have shelves full of antacids and pharmacies full of anti-depressants.  Come on you people, take a sabbath, have a family dinner, try closing the gate when the sun goes down.  Oh wait...wrong continent.  Let’s just say, we like the closed gate at sundown lifestyle.
  • The constant tempation to upgrade, spend more money, need more stuff, buy something new and improved.
  • The non-stop American-centered news.  Heavens to Betsy, next time I come home I’m gonna try and avoid a government shut-down!

I can assure you though, in 14 months, when it’s time to board the plane and head back to the land of marshmallows and grandparents, we’ll be ready!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Time Flies When You're Having Fun!

I'm sitting in the Raleigh airport waiting for my flight to board.  36 hours ago, I put my husband and kids on a plane to West Africa where I'll meet up with them tomorrow.   It seems like it was only a couple of weeks ago that I was arriving at this airport, with no idea of how long I'd stay or what would unfold during my time here.

Truth is, it hasn't been a couple of weeks, it's been a couple of months...  a couple of very emotional months.  We have ridden a total roller coaster of emotions.  We have grieved deeply, been loved fervently, experienced reunions joyfully, and said our "see you laters" with gut-wrenching sorrow.  In so many ways, it seems like we've been experiencing these highs and lows at a rate that is simply too fast to process them all.  I expect that in the days ahead as we digest all that has happened there will be more than a few smiles and tears.

I thought I'd share a few highlights of our time here in good ole 'Merica.

We enjoyed family time...even if the only jeep available was pink!

We celebrated some birthdays...  Lizzy turned 13

 A good friend hit number 11 and we took note at Cracker Barrel

And Abe celebrated SIX years with a Dunkin Donut.  Hey, we can make cake in Africa.

We also got to experience fall, complete with pumpkins...

You might be a TCK when mom suggests that you paint a face on your pumpkin and you don't realize that she means just the face, not the body.

My glamour girl's pumpkin...

 Roller skating was a big hit too.  In Africa, we have one pair of skates and they often share them with two people each using one, kind of like a skateboard.  Abe could not believe it when we walked into this place and everyone got their own pair PLUS there was so much smooth surface to skate on.


We loved the open road.  No traffic, no middle of the road salesman, lots and lots of miles with no brake lights.  I could get used to that!

Best of all were the visits with people that we love.
friends and 
 They may have grown, but they are still big buddies!

 We even got to see dear friends we made in Nigeria.  It was a bit surreal being with these lovely ladies in the American world.  They are just as loveable here as they were when they were one of our only social options!