Wednesday, April 1, 2009

No excuse, can’t even explain it – it has been very difficult to write since leaving Kinshasa. My Journal has no entries except . . .

Nov 5, 2008 Thursday
I am finally awake enough to think about a blog. We left Kinshasa .

So much has happened since coming home and so many mixed feelings have been hanging around us that we have not been able to put into words our thoughts.

We left Kinshasa excited to meet our daughter Christie and granddaughter Jenny in Nice, France and spend a great week. When we walked of the plane in nice there they were waiting for us.
All I could do was cry after not holding them for 19 months. We had a great week traveling around Nice and Paris, laughing, freezing (it rained and it was so cold we had to go buy coats).

Since it was so cold we found many opportunities to have rich, wonderful hot chocolate and pastries. We were on a mission to find the best hot chocolate in Paris... I think we found it many times.

Our homecoming was memorable with all the family at the airport to greet us. I was so excited I had to check my desire to run through the airport to find them.

Some of the grandkids were hard to recognize. I looked everywhere for Adam (middle) and couldn't find him only to find out he was standing right in front of me. He had changed the most.
Our first time to hold our two new grandchildren Samantha and Mari.

Who missed us the most? I think it was Rachel. she kept a calendar the whole time we were gone and knew to the hour how long we had left.

Matt and Shirlene had decorated the house with banners and balloons to welcome us home
Everyone loved their Congolese shirts we brought them and immediately put them on.

Waiting for us were a few things we had missed like FRESH MILK, rootbeer and microwave popcorn.

It didn't take Farrell long to get his glass of milk and toast our welcome home.

Kimberly had spend some time cleaning and spiffing up the homestead making it sparkle and she had decorated with our Congo treasures we had sent home. All the kids had chipped in and got us our favorite picture and hung it over the mantel.
We were now home without a car and our Torres sons came and parked their parents car in our garage for us to use. Their parents had recently left to go to Guatemala as mission president. They are like our own and we appreciated so much their thoughtfulness.

Mark took us to look at new cars and on the way we stopped at Temple Square. He had something to show us. There in the bottom floor of the visitors center was a picture of Luputa water project. There we were with all out Luputa friends. What a great memory.

Several times while on our mission Pres. Livingstone would ask me, “What are the ten things you are going to do when you get home?” or “What are the ten things you miss most about home?” My answer was always the same. “I try not to think about that so I won’t get homesick.”

Well now I am home and all the abundance of life in America hits you and you wonder if all of this isn’t just a bit overkill.

What was it that we had missed about home?
1. Standing under the shower and being able to open my mouth and taste the clean water. Actually Farrell said that it’s getting in the shower with an expectation that water will come out of the shower and it may even be hot water.
2. Going to the grocery store and finding anything you want. I cried the first time we went to the store as it seemed so overwhelming to see so much food in one place and that the price was so reasonable that I felt no guilt getting everything I wanted.
3. Driving down the street that had stoplights and stop signs and turning lanes and no pot holes.
4. Rules of the road – there actually are traffic rules and people somewhat obey them. We have encountered a few drivers that rival the Congolese drivers who seem to have no rules.
5. Playing with our two new granddaughters, born since we left on our mission.
6. Being cold – for 19 months we slept in a bed with just a sheet over us and we came home to the beginning of winter where we couldn’t seem to get warm.
7. Clean streets, garbage collection, the great law of no littering.
8. Airports that accommodate your needs, do not require bribes, have safe airplanes to ride in.
9. My mom. It took me two months to watch the video of her funeral. I wish I had some video of her. I miss my mom.
10. Family, family, family – calling them, visiting them, having dinner with them, thanksgiving , Christmas, New Years.

That is just a few things we have missed about home. But what about the Congo? What have we missed about the Congo.
1. Pascal, Eustache, the Moons, the Livingstones – our mission family - number one in our heartache.
2. All our friends – our church friends and our many friends we made doing projects – we receive emails from them and we love hearing anything about them and what they are doing.
3. The weather – I don’t ever remember being cold in the Congo except once when we visited Lubumbashi in the dry season and our hotel had no hot water. I couldn’t get warm for three days.- even the rain, though harsh at times left the world looking rejuvenated and everything grew with abandonment.
4. Wonderful bread – abundance of fresh fruit - $20 boxes of cereal.
5. Wivine, Mimi and Eric, our friends on the corner who sold us fruits, veggies and plants. Eric was my gardener and came regularly up to our balcony to tend to my multi. plants making sure I didn’t kill them.
6. Movie night every Friday night. Dinner and a movie at either the Moon’s or the Livingstone’s ( or the Thomas’ before they left).
7. Rationing of chocolate chips, coconut, rootbeer or any other treasure we were able to get from the US knowing that it was irreplaceable.(note that these are all food items)
8. 4 wheeling – always an adventure – my back will never be the same.
9. 24/7 with my companion. We had no choice but to spend our days together as we were not suppose to leave each other’s side. I miss that dependency and reliance on each other.
10. The presence of my Savior building, directing, inspiring and watching over all we did. I know he is still with me but our need is less today and the mantel of being a missionary is gone and so the feeling of his presence is less intense and I miss that.

So President Livingstone, there it is. I have thought of little else since we returned. Serving a mission really is one of the best times of my life. I am a different person. I have changed --- for the better I hope. I will never be the same.

And it is true what they say. “Once you go to Africa part of you stays in Africa.”


Jess said...

I have been thinking of you glad to read about your homecoming. I really enjoyed reading all about it. I am sure your family is so happy to have you home now! Enjoy all those beautiful grandchildren and your awesome family:)

Emma said...

I am so gla dyour home!!!!!!! so nice tto have you back. start a conga line in celibretion congo,congo, congo!!!! ur trip to pairs sounds so fun!

Angela said...

Glad to know you missed us :-). And it's snowing in April today..are you sure you missed the cold?

Kim said...

I'm so glad you had a wonderful experience. A mission is one of my husband and I's goals. Reading a little about yours makes me want to go now. All in good time.
Paris is my favorite!!! I would love to live there, it's been my favorite place in all the world (well of the places I've been able to visit.)

Annette said...

So fun to read your thoughts! Oh how we miss you!!! People ask about you wherever we go. My favorite skirt to wear is the one you gave me when you left. I think of you every time I wear it which is often!