I had a lovely hiatus from writing and daily life as I spent the month of July in the USA visiting family and friends while staying incredibly busy. Having spent three days traveling back to Ethiopia and most of yesterday in bed conked out, I’m finally feeling somewhat normal even though it’s 4:30 in the afternoon and I’m only having my second “meal” in the space of two days. Ah, jet lag.
A disclaimer, I’m going to ramble right now about things I experienced or thought about while back in my country of origin. There is no rhyme or reason to the order.
- The constant travel I’ve done in Africa over this last year has left me without a feeling of “home” in the sense of connections with people (what I call “roots”). I felt more at home still in Orlando despite several of my close friends having moved.
- After my 9 years of travel and pulling up and remaking community at least 5 times, I realize that I’m reaching my max point. While I’m highly adaptable to life and my surroundings, I need roots with someone. Don’t think I could ever cure my wander-lust, just need someone to do it with so I can stop saying “bye” to every.single.person I know.
- I had to keep myself from crying when I walked into my church and felt “home” again. For the past year I’ve either been in a different church every week or in one that I don’t understand. Just walking into illuminate church was refreshing to my soul…and to actually be able to understand and truly worship with others in a language I can fully understand – powerful!
- Going home single when your little sis is bringing her boyfriend to meet the family means you get lots of questions and attention. “Why don’t you have a boyfriend?” from my 7-year-old niece; “We need to find you a rich and local guy.” from my dad; any hang-out with a male friend was considered to be a date by the family; being set-up with someone by extended family….You learn to just roll with it.
- Seeing my little sister with the right guy – priceless.
- I still have a ton of junk at my parent’s house…and it seemed to have grown in my absence as well, but I was too busy this time around to get rid of more stuff.
- Spiritual/personal retreats are something I should have looked into long ago and hope to do more often now. It was very much-needed and was refreshing.
- In regards to the above, I also learned I can only take two days completely by myself, disconnected from everything. (Guess I truly am an extrovert)
- I need to check travel plans with friends as I could have seen three other friends who were in London the same day I was there on a long layover to meet a friend.
- Despite all my travel experience, I still get travel knots in my stomach when I fly.
- Orlando/Florida drivers. Enough said.
- Coming home after being out all day and getting to cuddle with your newest nephew – awesome.
- Getting your nieces to trust you because you do what you say when it comes to their loose teeth – priceless.
- Playing Ethiopian Tooth Fairy and having your niece believe she’s actually packed in your bag and not wanting to change Birr to Dollar – so fun!
- Realizing we need to actually plan family reunions instead of every 3 years when something happens and we’re all in the same place.
- Discovering the chiropractor you choose to go to gives free treatment to pastors/missionaries as well as discounted massages. Hello, healthy back!
- Discovered that Young Living Essential Oils has helped avoid or reduce my headaches and arthritis pain – Ahhhh! Probably should try to see if they can help with jet lag….hmmmm….
- Being able to be with family and see them every day if I so choose was special. Being able to meet the new dog and hang out with my brother’s dog was great.
- Real showers! As in, not a bucket bath but actual hot water coming from a shower head!!
- Eating a variety of fruits and veggies and not worrying about how clean they are.
- Drinking out of the faucet.
- The ease of making chocolate chip cookies (I made 3 batches in one week) and being able to eat a real key lime pie….and real ice cream!
- Teaching Ethiopian Sign Language to family and friends.
- Realizing I can’t eat and talk at the same time because people don’t know sign language and I can’t switch languages in the middle of the conversation – awkward.
- Hanging out with new and old friends – awesome!
- Realizing I don’t know generic American gestures to talk through windows to people…oops!
- When in the office, the casual waves from people as they walk by. Then, counting until they do the double take, realize it’s me, and come over for a hug. Hilarious!
Now, back to life – traveling, bucket showers, language barriers, and friends….or maybe another nap first.