Saturday, June 22, 2013


Today our countdown to our trip to the States is down to 15 days!  We are going for a month and will visit friends and family and enjoy some places and foods we have missed.  So, obviously, we are excited!  But, I've also been finding myself feeling a bit nervous, which seems strange, and I couldn't really explain.
Things will be different than what has become normal for us here, but it's been less than a year since we left, so it's not like I've forgotten how to act in America.  (Well, I guess you can confirm the truth of that with friends and family after we've been there!)
Definitely I'm nervous about the LONG travel with two active little guys who resist sleep, the youngest of which slept about 3 hours during the 34-hour journey moving here!  Trying to block that part out of my mind.  But, it wasn't really what was going on inside me with this feeling.
We have been concerned about how the trip will affect Isaiah.  He has had a harder adjustment to living here this year and asks often to live where there is a McDonald's, and we have been praying that he won't have major setbacks when we return in the fall.  So, that makes me nervous, but there was still more.

Today, I pulled out a scrapbook that a dear friend had put together for us before we left.  She had gathered notes and photos from some other dear friends.  I have to confess to this being the first time I've actually sat down with it and read all the notes.  That seems so bizarre to even admit because it is sweet and wonderful, but I had set it aside when we first moved here so that I wouldn't get homesick right away.  Then, I came across it in the middle of a hard stretch this winter and teared up just looking at it, so I decided it didn't seem wise to dive into it in its fullness and kind of hid it from myself for later.  Today, as I was trying to finally organize some boxes of things here, I sat down and read it, and I realized this nervousness that I had been sensing that I couldn't explain.  

I feel nervous about how much I will miss everyone all over again when we come back.

Nepal feels like home to me now.  I have been realizing recently how attached I have become to the idea of living here for a long time.  We have amazing friends, an incredible opportunity to be part of a great business and vision, and I am happy here.

But, the distance from family and dear friends who have known me and been a part of my life in deep ways, some for a long time, is hard.  I think I have sort of kept myself from thinking too often or too deeply about how much I miss them.  While that is probably partially healthy in order to really be "all here" mentally and emotionally this year as we got settled, I think I have been in a bit of denial of the emotions of it.  Facebook helps me stay delusional in feeling connected to still to my friends and family and what is going on in their lives.  And, I kept thinking, of course I feel excited to SEE people, but I kept wondering why I was MORE excited and what that nervousness was, and today split it wide open:  Actually seeing those people will be wonderful but also remind me how much I miss them.  To connect to the full joy and special gift of this time ahead, I have to be willing to open up to the pain of leaving again and face how much I have truly missed them.  

So, there it is.  Nervous.  Praying to let it all open up and be all the messy fullness of smiles and laughter and hugs and tears.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


I had planned to write on something else tonight, but life here with two little guys takes some unexpected turns.  Too often, they involve vomit.  Today was one of those days.  Everything was going along just fine for most of us.  (John was feeling sick and came home early from work.)  In the middle of a story, Isaiah felt like throwing up, so we ran to the bathroom.  False alarm.
A bit later, as I was finishing washing my hands, I heard Isaiah yell from upstairs.  I called to him to ask if he was ok and started over to the stairs.  He came around to the first landing and was saying he threw up upstairs.  Just as I tried to hurry him to come down and get to the bathroom, it came out, the projectile vomit.  I will spare you the details, but it was gross.  Lots of clean-up.
We decided to put him to bed in our bed since his bed didn't have a mattress cover.  It got wet last night, and since it is monsoon season, nothing (especially not a waterproof mattress cover) dries in just one day unless you hit a lucky patch of sun during the day.  We did not.
So, about an hour ago, I came up to our room to check on him and found him sound his own vomit!  He is a really sound sleeper, which is amazing most of the time, but this is one of the few times I really wish he was not QUITE such a sound sleeper!  I woke him up, and he really didn't even know he had thrown up.  So, now our bedding is in the wash or will be in morning, hoping to catch one of those lucky sunny patches to dry them tomorrow...but not too early, or it will wake up my boys early.
All this adds up to a pretty gross afternoon and evening, and I'm hoping (but likely not) it is done for the night.  I hate cleaning up vomit.  I mean, who likes it?  It is so sad to see my kiddos sick, but it just adds a super gross element when it has to be vomit.
It sucks to have my son feel sick, and it sucks to clean up vomit, but the thing is, I'm OK.  I know that might sound like it should be obvious, but as I've written before, I've had a lot of issues related to sickness, particularly with my kids being sick.  Fear that has made it so often MUCH larger than life.  The causes for vomiting here are often notably more unsettling than a stomach "flu" bug, and that was one of many things that would make me terribly afraid the last time we were here and had Isaiah being sick so often.  But, one thing is that we've now seen and known a lot of people who've had all those nasty things (dysentery, giardia, salmonella, food poisoning and parasites of many forms, and all other manors of things that wreak havoc on the digestive system), and it becomes sort of a bizarrely "normal" part of life to just deal with, roll through, and move forward.  Seeing others' experiences, accumulating much of our own, and now knowing the systems of how to deal with things medically when they come up (doctors, medicines, stool sample testing, etc.) have all helped quite a bit.
But, there is something much more than those things, and that is that God has just set me free from so much of the fear and anxiety that sickness for my kids used to bring for me.  Friends and family have prayed, and I just believe that the Holy Spirit has worked some miracles in my soul because all the logic and knowledge and experience in the world would not have calmed the panic in me in the past, and as much as I feel drained tonight and a bit of dread that it's not yet over, I can honestly say that I will go to bed and sleep because I am OK.  And, today, in the midst of these things, OK is a major victory!  

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Summer Bucket List

I was planning to write something a bit deeper, like the thoughts and emotions that are rolling around inside my mind as I consider our upcoming visit to the States, but it's a low brain-power night, so I'll keep it lighter.
I know a lot of people make "bucket" lists, and I've seen a bunch of summer bucket lists lately, but I figured I'd go ahead and make one of our own.
We do have a trip planned for about a month back to the U.S., so it actually is something we're thinking about a lot--What are the things we really want to make sure to include in our time there?  As well as what are things we want to do here for the remainder of the summer time before we (and others) jump into school in the fall.

*  Catch fireflies.
I never expected to be able to do this here in Nepal.  I grew up doing this, but there never were any when we lived in Los Angeles, so it was kind of a fun surprise to realize they are here.  Well, I haven't really seen them in broad strokes, but there seem to be a few outside our friends' home.  We got to try it one evening, but there were only a few out, so we're hoping to get to do it again here and back in the Midwest when visiting my family.
*  Camp in the yard.
We actually just did this one a few days ago.  Well, we adjusted and decided to camp in our house!  Ok, I decided.  It's nearing monsoon season here, so it's pretty likely to get rained on.  Oh, yeah, and we don't actually have a tent!  So, bedroom camping it was.  It made Isaiah so thrilled that I promised him we would try it again this summer.

*  Play flashlight tag.
No real explanation needed on that one.  It's just fun.

*  Roast hot dogs and marshmallows.
My parents have a fire pit in their backyard, and if by some chance, we actually go the chance to catch a beach campfire while we're in LA, that would be super fun as well!

*  County fair!
I didn't know until recently that this would even be an option, but with a bit of shifting dates from original plans, we are going to be visiting my family during the time of the County Fair where I grew up (which is a short distance from where my parents live now).  This was a BIG part of my childhood, so I'm actually really excited about taking my kids.  It will be an interesting experience to share something that I grew up as a rural 4-H kid being a key point in the summer with a bunch of inner-city kids that my family works with now and my kids, who have never been to a county fair!  Good times!  Unless they have changed the schedule from when I was growing up (and John pointed out in a very mocking way that he couldn't really imagine a serious debate that would necessitate such a change), it should be the day of the cattle show.

*  Go to the beach!
We live in a land-locked country after being within a 10-minute drive from the Pacific Ocean for many years, so we are very much looking forward to a little beach time while we visit.  It's kind of funny to think have infrequently we actually went to the beach when we actually lived there, and now, being far away from the load of stuff necessary to take with little ones, hassling for parking at the local beaches, and then loading of wet and sandy kids back into a vehicle, it seems like such a simple and fun day!  :)

*  Go to McDonald's.
This is primarily on the list for half of my family.  Zeke likes to talk about it because Isaiah talks about it a lot, but when we went in Thailand, he actually asked for rice and barely ate his burger!  But, it is seriously one of the main things Isaiah talks about anytime we bring up visiting America.  So, we'll have to do it!  Probably many times.

*  FOOD!
Ok, really, this deserves its very own list!  Let's start with things we can do here.  I am determined to make a lot of popsicles and smoothies this summer, especially since there is an increase in fruit available right now.
As far as our visit to the State, I really do enjoy the food here, but there are definite things that I get excited about when I think of being able to eat them!
Mexican food--real, authentic stuff!
Ice cream
Really, dairy should probably have its own list as well. :)
Mini donuts at Venice Beach
Panera mac'n'cheese (for Isaiah)
salads (which will also help balance out the dairy!)
Chicago-style pizza
Ironically, I feel excited to visit the Nepali restaurant that we used to go to in LA, though I'm embarrassed to show how little of the language I've learned in our time here!
Avocados from California
Auntie Anne's pretzels
good Udon noodles
Ok, I'm going to stop now before I eat my arm.  Suffice it to say, there will be a lot of food involved.

*  Visit the Museum of Natural History.
Isaiah really loved it when we lived in Los Angeles.  We might have to try our luck and squeeze in the Science Center the same day, which is right next to it and a great museum with a fun aquarium area in the Ecosystems exhibit.

*  Go swimming.
We can do this BOTH here and there!  Barring rain in the morning, we are planning to go tomorrow morning.  It will be the first time I've taken the boys here, so we're looking forward to it.

*  See fireworks.
Not sure how feasible this is.  We'll be here for the 4th of July.  Do they do fireworks here?  I'll have to find out.  Maybe we can get in on some leftovers once we hit the States.

*  Spend time with a LOT of people!
This might be the only time you will hear this introvert say that!  But, there are a lot of people we are missing and excited to see when we visit the States, and there are some good friends here in Nepal that are only here near us for a season or are leaving soon for a year or are just a bit less busy than they were this past season, and we want to have time to just spend with them!  Our time in the States will likely feel a little crammed, so we just want to make sure to soak up time with family and good friends!

I'm sure there are other things we want to and will do, especially since we're still thinking about what we want to make sure to hit in our trip to the States, but that's my start at least for some highlights to aim to hit this summer!