I have had many emails, many phone calls of people wanting to know how my trip to the USA has gone...
I arrived in Indy on December 9th, and had a warm welcome with mom, Brad and grandma at the airport! We went straight for dinner where Eric and Lisa met us for some AMAZING pizza at a new pizza place in Irvington. WOW! I have to say, it was an amazing night, but I was incredibly overwhelmed. I had been awake for about 40 hours and it was so much to soak in, but I tried to soak as much as I could because I wanted to treasure every bit of it. I had a great 10 days with the family, celebrating a mini Christmas a few weeks early. My favorite parts of this leg was spending time with mom, even though we were busy and had some shopping to do, it was fun to just share space with her, we don't get enough time together...and I have to say I loved my late night chats with grandma on the couch. Apparently we were quite busy, as I didn't take one picture during that leg of the journey...thankfully I have a few more days!
Then off to Fort Lauderdale, where, I can just say, I think I had the best visit ever with my dad. God has given me a great dad, and it was fun to spend a day with him at work, to meet his co-workers, and to spend some time with their friends who have been hearing stories of David's brave and sometimes nutty daughter who lives in Tanzania. A few of my favorite parts of this leg of the journey was seeing my little (but he's not so little anymore) cousin Nick, sitting on the back porch with dad, walking on the beach with Kay and definately the many laughs with Ted and Phyllis, and the late night tradition of reflecting with my big brother while lying under the Christmas tree...which due to technical difficulties took place at 1am, over the phone, while I stared up under the tree at dad's.
Then a snowy arrival in Denver, and a week of rest. Man was it fun and it was crazy restful. I enjoyed the normalcy of life, cooking in the kitchen and not eating out, walking the dogs, going for hikes, getting to know Alex at whole foods and encouraging him in his passion for food, the dog park, board games in the evening, visiting with Shireen and Rowe, enjoying the view of life from there, and getting to worship. It was a joy to turn off the computer and step back from the blog. It was even more thrilling to have conversation together without a phone or computer. It was a joy to get to experience the whole person and not just bits and pieces of him. Of course some of my favorite time in CO was sharing space with Chris, but I also had a blast spending a day with Katie (who spent so many hours, days, weeks and months walking with me in Unga!)
Then...on to humid Texas. I hadn't seen my brother for two years. It was Christmas of 2005 when I said goodbye to him. A LOT has happened in the last two years...I have learned a lot about life in Africa and he has been all over the world as well courtesy of the US Navy. I fought the tears as he found me in baggage claim, and had to go back for a second hug. I only had a few days in Texas, and they were clouded with questions about how I would return to Tanzania since I had a flight into Kenya and they were rioting...but I can say I enjoyed the big brother talk I got on the beach, doing home improvements in their new home, dreaming with him about us not ever going this long without seeing each other, laughing with pure joy that he is gonna be a daddy in July and remarking about his incredible wife..man he married up! The best part though, was the time. I can't express how awesome my brother is, and how wonderful it was to stay up late chatting on the couch about life and playing with photobooth (you don't really think we look like that do you?), or how fun it was to be teased about this boy in CO and the look I apparently get on my face when I talk about him, or dreaming about me being Aunt Pam and his kids knowing me better than my brother and I knew our aunts and uncles.
Its been a good visit. In 8 days I head back to TZ, and yes I have already started packing, but that is because I have company coming to Indy for the long weekend and I fly out the day after he leaves. Time is going to fly. I need to somehow work up the gumption to get those last minute gifts and requests...anyone want to escort a broken girl to target, walmart or meijer?