I am the grumpiest pregnant woman there ever was. I can say that, my husband can’t. Being pregnant in a place that is not my home seems to make the normal everyday Africa complications somehow cosmic.
The electricity going out before baking cookies seems to bring the whole world to an end. Having to walk half a mile because there are no mini buses sends me into a fit of crying. Rain flooding one of the bedrooms would normally just make me dig deep; instead I flop on the couch and scroll through Instagram. Plus, everyone is making me mad and hurting my feelings.
In my current state it is easy to rattle off 10 things I miss about my homeland, America:
- Hot high-pressured showers and a big hot bath with lavender sea-salt.
- Air conditioning.
- Arugula and restaurants that serve salad on every corner.
- Pizza, ice cream, Cheez-its, Doritos, queso, cheddar cheese on crackers. I am going to stop now because I am making myself hungry.
- Fast internet, streaming movies.
- Trader Joes, pre-made meals and drive-thru.
- My mom, sisters and conversations with tea on the porch talking about the baby and reviewing name options. Friends in general.
- A girls’ weekend in Colorado, the beaches of San Diego, my parents’ farm in North Carolina and the mountains of Utah.
- One of my best friend’s weddings this summer.
- Retail therapy and Amazon Prime.
What is much harder right now is to remember why we came here and remind myself why I chose to stay in this place. I am not forced to be here. My husband did not drag me here. God did not twist my arm. This was my decision and my husband and I continue to make that decision with each passing month.
This is our new home and we will continue to make it home for these 10 reasons:
- We feel called to this place and God paved the way for us to be here. Just as he paved the way for the Israelites to enter the promised land. There are days I feel abandoned in the desert, like the Israelites were for 40 years, but they learned to look for daily manna as I am learning to look for daily manna.
- This is our dream and I can’t see us doing anything else. It is hard to picture my husband in an office from 9-5pm. It’s hard to picture myself as the soccer mom redecorating our suburban house. A happy fulfilled husband is literally priceless and though there are days we both want to throw in the towel, we have to remind ourselves, this is our dream.
- We love the adventure and the challenge. We love this crazy life we live. Camels outside our compound, navigating a foreign language, learning a new culture, dressing in traditional wear, discovering new lands. We are thrill-seekers and there is literally never a boring moment in this place.
- Raising our children in this culture. I really hope that the Lord keeps us overseas for the next 10-15 years. I want my children exposed to other ways of life. I want them to understand the importance of serving people. I want my children to learn to adapt to the new and unfamiliar, and adventure with us into the unknown.
- Being able to offer friends and family a new experience. It is so much fun to me to be able to offer an epic vacation to friends and family. Because we live here, people we love can be exposed to new foods, new cultures, and new adventures that they would otherwise not have access to.
- This place has strengthened our marriage. The second week we were married we moved into our new house with only one working faucet and no working toilets or showers. Daily we face challenges together and daily we look each other in the eyes, sometime full of tears, and push deeper on into marriage and each other.
- My perspective of the world. I am constantly learning and my perspectives are being challenged. Life has a lot of grey patches that are hard to label as black or white, but love applies to it all. I encounter beauty and pain in the same moment and the same person.
- My puppy, my chickens, and my friend Rahel who helps me in the house. She has literally become a sister. We eat lunch and do yoga together. Because she helps with the cooking and cleaning I can spend more time writing.
- We like ourselves better in Africa. I am less petty and jealous. I don’t compare my body every second to yoga moms heading to the beach in bikinis. I am comfortable in what this place lets me be and become. We are less consumeristic. Maybe it’s cheating, but I love not having to keep up with the Joneses.
- Slow internet, power outages, limited water, and narrowed options helped me listen to the rhythms of life and slow down, take a deep breath and remember who I am.
What are you missing about home and why do you continue to stay?