Friday, July 14, 2017

LIFE BACK HOME

សួស្ដី! After about 3 months in the US, we are back in Phnom Penh! We can’t believe what a whirlwind our time in the States was. It was busy and exhausting (especially for two introverts!), but it was also incredibly encouraging and rejuvenating. We were reminded of some things about ourselves that we had forgotten (We hate shopping. We like driving.) and learned some lessons for our time in the US that will hopefully make us better at planning our home assignments in the future (Don’t schedule evening events in our first week back or jet lag will win. Do plan a family Thanksgiving dinner no matter the season we are home.).


We loved getting to see so many people we know and love, as well as meet new folks, but we were also bummed by how tight time got and the people we didn’t get a chance to spend much or any time with. Three months came and went in a flash.

One of the big question marks for us as we thought about our time in the US before leaving was how we would feel about coming back to Cambodia. We were 100% committed to coming back to Cambodia and continuing to lay the foundations for long-term life and ministry here, but we also didn’t know how we would feel about coming back after we had a chance to get reacquainted with home.

Sure enough, we loved the feeling of home. We enjoyed being with people who know and love us (and who speak our language!). We relished good and familiar food, ever-present central air conditioning and cushy mattresses and sofas. It felt almost unbelievable to get in a car and drive miles in only minutes. We had fresh eyes to see just how magical it is to order something on Amazon and have it arrive right at your door later for free. We felt more useful and intelligent than we have felt in over a year. Yes, it was busy and stressful, but it was also really, really good.

Yet, about half way through our 3 month stay, we started to get a feeling that by the time another month and a half rolled around, we would be ready to head back to Cambodia. By late June, we were definitely at that point. Living out of a suitcase and doing so much traveling (we traveled around 4 different states in those 3 months) wore on us. I missed having a regular routine. Even as I did my best to maximize as much time as possible with folks I wouldn’t see for years, I craved downtime alone. More than just the combination of all of those things, though, I was just ready to get back to Cambodia.

Even in the midst of living the (temporary) American Dream, we knew it wasn’t our real life. Cambodia is where God has planted us. I missed my community and my life there.

So, we are excited to be back! It’s not easy. I keep forgetting and using the water from the tap to brush my teeth like I did in America. I’m reminded each time I open it that our refrigerator here is tiny. Our furniture had mold on it, and I forgot how much the heat slows down my day and how much the constant stream of ants in our apartment drives me nuts.

But we are here. It’s home. And it feels good.

We’ve had the chance to reconnect with several of our friends as well as to see some of our neighbors and neighborhood shopkeepers. (And, thankfully most of our language has come back so that we can actually talk to them again!) I’ve sat in my favorite cafes, listened to afternoon rain, and smiled at all the examples of Cambodian ingenuity I see as I ride around town in a tuktuk (it’s truly amazing what they can transport on a motorcycle). More importantly and more tellingly, though, I have felt the stirrings of the Spirit in my heart and mind growing my love for this place and kicking up ideas and dreams of what the next years might have in storeboth for me and for Cambodia.

So, after 3 months home in the US, I’m happy to say that I’m back in Cambodia, back home.