Monday, January 14, 2013

Thoughts on Home

We started doing reentry preparation with the kids, and it has us all thinking about what "home" is.  We talked about "passport" country and "host" country, differences, and what home means to different people.  It was interesting to hear the kids thoughts on the subject.

Ian doesn't feel quite like Impfondo is home, but he wants to. He said that this is where he will spend most of his life, so he wants it to feel like home. He still feels partly like the US is home, and partly like here is home. He'll miss the warm weather, the outdoors, seeing the hawks in the sky. But he is looking forward to re-experiencing some of the things he misses from the US.

Isabelle expressed similar sentiments, but decided that for her home can be anywhere she stays for one month. She'll miss her friends, her room, her water-bed, the cats. But she's looking forward to time spent with grandparents, cousins, and friends left in the US, eating familiar foods, getting new toys. Out of all the children, she is the one who craves stability and is most easily overwhelmed by change.

Caleb said he feels like US is home. I don't think he's ever fully forgiven Africa for not living up to his expectations. He was expecting lions, giraffes, hippos, just like a safari. After we arrived in Congo, he wouldn't believe for a long time that we were in Africa.

Since he was only three when we came, he doesn't remember a lot about the US. He's heard us talk about the things we miss. He wants to belong to the land of grandparents, McDonalds, hot dogs, toys, and hotels with swimming pools. I just hope that will be all he desires.

Stephen added that he feels like home is wherever his family is.

I feel the same. Except it's never really that simple.

My idea of home is also where I'm comfortable and settled, where I can blend in and live an average, unexceptional existence. Where I don't stand out for my white, white skin and my fumbling, stumbling search for words.

For me, though, home is more about the people than the place.

I've always like the quote by Robert Frost, "Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in."

As we've moved and traveled and changed our plans what seems like a thousand times, we've always had this. We have the anchor of our families in the US, who are there to love and care and support.

Anytime we want or need to come "home," they are ready to take us in.


Beth said...

Love that you are taking time to discuss these things with your kids, Anna! Transition is definitely not easy but as I just moved to Atlanta for about 6 months the Lord encouraged me again with Deuteronomy 31:8 "The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged." I love that He's going ahead of us to prepare things and yet, He is still with us right in the midst of the transition. May you experience his peace because of that truth.

Anna said...

Thanks, Beth. We'll be in the Chattanooga/North GA area some when we first get back into early summer. I hope we can meet up at some point. :)

Christa said...

Beautiful words. Praying for you guys.

bonniebo said...

very sweet and interesting!! :) love you guys, can't wait to see you! Give the kids hugs from me and remind Caleb that he ALWAYS gave me lots of hugs when he was visiting (since he can't remember much when he was here before)!! ;D LOL

Emmy said...

What a blessing to hear each of your hearts :)! So thankful you have each sacrificed much to make home in Africa (and even found joy, friendship, and "family" there) and also thankful for the opportunities to come back for a time to what was "familiar home" at one time! We're all praying for a smooth transition and for much refreshment!

Emmy said...

So thankful for the sacrifices you each have made (& the joys, friends, and "family" God has provided) in Africa! Also, so thankful for the opportunities you have to come back to "familiar home" for a time! Praying for lots of refreshment & smooth transitions back! Thanks for sharing your hearts on this post :)! We love you!