Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Closing of a Chapter and the Starting of a New

We head out today from Maryknoll Lay Missioners​'s headquarters in NY as we slowly make our way to South Carolina. Christopher​ and I were both sad last night and not wanting to pack up. Excited to see family and get settled into our new jobs, but we are definitely mourning the reality that our "Africa experience" is over (for now).

"The Big House" for the MK Fathers and Brothers right next to the building for MKLM in Ossining, NY

A big thank you to all our family and friends who have (perhaps reluctantly at times) supported us over the past 3 1/2 years or more. It's because of all of you that we were able to take on this journey and because of your continued support and prayers that we made it through to the end. We couldn't have done this without you and we are just as proud of you for "making it" as you are of us. Thank you.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Things I'm Gonna Miss

This was happening in our yard on Saturday while we were moving out of the house. 

I'm sure going to miss their little faces. 

Also, speaking of things I'll miss. Sadly, we've experienced the death of another dog. (That's three in three years, plus a cat. Man, this place is harsh.) Nyeusi, our sweet puppy (she was maybe 3 years old) died on Monday. We are so sad that she left us so early and that she won't be free to roam the neighborhood with her pal Taquilla as we had originally planned. 

This was taken on Saturday while the kids played. Neyusi loved the neighborhood kids. 

She loved attention and would flop on her back to have her belly rubbed at any opportunity. 

We're gonna miss you, buddy. 

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

There's No Going Home Again

Easter is a time of new beginnings, as I told a neighbor the other day when I was trying to explain the weird American tradition of the Easter egg hunt, which is very much NOT a Tanzanian thing, but yet we do every year with their children.
Dying eggs with the neighborhood kids 2015.
And how appropriate it is since boy, do we have some new beginnings coming up! In less than 2 weeks everything will change for us. Yet what is strange this time around is that now we are changing BACK. We are moving back into our house in SC, back to jobs similar to what we were doing before we left. Back with our family and friends who I have missed so much. Back to regular power and electricity, comfort and stability, familiarity. These are all things I've longed for so many times over the years.

Yet, despite all these amazing things, I just can't seem to shake some overwhelmingly negative feelings. When the power goes out and the computer dies while I'm in the middle of working on something, instead of getting mad, I remind myself that I only have to deal with this for X number of months/weeks/days. When I drive by a group of kids in the neighborhood and they try for the zillionth time to jump onto the back of my moving truck, I count down the number of times I think this will happen before I will Yet, there is some sort of "longingness" in these countdowns. I can't really explain it, but I've found myself savoring these instances lately. What gives? Surely I won't be sad to shed myself of these daily annoyances?

But of course, it's not the annoyances that I love about Tanzania, is it? It's easy to boil it down to that, so many annoyances and inconveniences. But our experience has been so, so much more than that. There is so much that I am sad about leaving, so much I will miss. The great friends we have made, who we have relied upon and who have helped us as if we were family. The silly smile of the neighborhood kids and the cheeky dance Maende does when I come home every night. The cool breeze that comes through with a rain after days and days of dryness. The sheer delight when the power comes back on in time for me to catch a TV show before bed. I'm even sad that I won't be an expat anymore. There's something inherently neat about that, even if I am truly the most boring person in the world, which I am.

Maende, so much sass for such a little guy.
But the sadness isn't it. I think there's something deeper at play here and I think it's been hiding just underneath the sadness and per-ordained nostalgia. And I'll just come right out and say it. I'm scared. Scared to go back. I always fear change, so this shouldn't come as a surprise to me but I guess I am a little caught off guard at how fearful I am of this change. I've tried to hide my fear under a cloak of sadness, but if I'm going to be true, this is what's up. I worry that I might be unhappy in our "old life?" What if my family and friends don't really like who I have become? What if I don't like them? What if I can't keep up with my new job or I'm just not good at it? But maybe worst of all, what if I forget? Forget the life I had here, the people I met and the joys I had? What if it just all goes back to the way it was?

Life here isn't easy and it isn't simple. But because we put up with so many daily inconveniences and the folks here struggle with so much, I've found myself rejoicing in the simple pleasures. I appreciate so much more here. And this is what I am afraid of. We are so fortunate in the US and I'm afraid I will get lost in the abundance. I will forget the things I should appreciate. Friends, family, electricity and clean water, good food, the smell of rain, the change of seasons, bird songs and clear traffic on the drive home from work, paved roads, croaking frogs. They say there is no going home again and I really hope that's true. Even though it scares me to death, I hope I won't be the same again.