ok, so I suppose that is un-PC of me to say but whatever.  It is so true.  We are roaming folks siku hizi (these days) and I have been terrible about updating which is ironic since in the land of 45 minute upload times I was much more faithful to post.  Alas, I stink (I am trying to remove the word suck from my vocab since I DO NOT want to hear it come out of one of my children’s mouths but sometimes (let’s be honest) that or a good swear word is just in order).  But in my defense, seriously we never are in one place for more than 4 days….sorta how we roll these days so if I have not returned an email, phone call, or text please know I am a space cadet and focusing my energies on keeping track of my kids and unpacking and repacking every few days.  I have already forgotten to pack MY chupis twice ( FYI washing in the sink works- I know TMI).  That and my new ‘smart phone’ only serves to make me feel stupid!  So I am sorry and I love you and will get back to you soon!

So some updates in no particular logical order (it is me remember)….
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The girls and I spent last week in the burbs with my mom going to Costco way more than is necessary and taking Miss Anni to her first ever VBS.  She pretty much loved it; daily crafts winning out by far as the highlight.  She clinched her “weird kid from Africa” status when her teacher told me the story of sharing time when they were discussing how God is with us everywhere, even when we are scared.  Other kids shared about going to the dentist, not being able to find their Mom in a store, or hearing a storm.  Well Miss A raised her hand and shared that she was scared when her Papa prayed for a demon possessed man and when she was electrocuted.  Whoah.  Seriously, I would have paid to see the look on the other kids faces.   I guess her input required some discussion but I am glad she felt comfortable sharing (she still says to me at least once a day “Mama, Jesus gives me friends here AND they speak English!”) I know right!

We also got to meet up with some of Jason’s cousins wives and their kids at a little zoo.
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second cousin or cousin once removed?? (really not sure how that all works??) love
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And this homeboy was seriously stalking me and almost made me pee my pants…all because I made one comment about his teeth…..Llamas can be so sensitive (I feel you).  But can I just get an Amen for all the Mama’s holding it down and being honest!  It was refreshing to hang out with these ladies.
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have I mentioned the girls are enjoying trying all things “American?” and since we like to live dangerously we even ate these with no wet wipes on hand.

The girls and I also got together with a dear family whom we consider covenant friends.  We have known that they pretty much rule for some time but when she showed up to pick us up and had hot dogs in her console for the brood of hungry watoto it made me realize why she is indeed a soul sister!
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 They let us tag along on an enormous suburban pool outing and this was BIG people… especially after one little BIG girl got all brave on us and laid the smack down on not one but all of the super duper big kid slides!
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 We came, our friends overpaid, and they conquered!
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and hitting up the DQ after all that sun.
*We got a call just a few days back that this dear friend and her two kids were in a pretty bad car crash.  We are praising God with them that they are fine, bruised and battered a bit, but healing.  We have a good God and we are rejoicing He chose to allow them more time on earth with us. Please pray for their complete healing!

J also decided to keep everything interesting by getting 2 impassable stones is his kidney!  So those adventures mean I am typing this from a hospital waiting room while poor guy has a procedure to break them up while rockstar friend Beck is kid wrangling for us.  One of the stones was 13 mm and after signing that we acknowledge the procedure would cost 23,800 dollars we both wondered if maybe we should just hightail it outta here and I should punch in in the back like 200 times.  Oh well, we’ll go the medical route and I gotta say I am enjoying me some free AC (well, I guess it is NOT free!).
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My grandmother’s memorial was this past weekend up at my parent’s place in Lake Geneva.  It was beautiful and difficult and weepy and special.  We saw some family we have not seen in years which was both odd and fabulous all at the same time.
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It was a celebration of a beautiful woman and it really hit me that I will not see her again on this earth.  More on that soon but we were so blessed everyone waited for us to return to be a part of the service.

What else? Oh, it is HOT! I love it although the car we are borrowing has no A/C so the heat combined with Chicago traffic meant we arrived at the hospital 10 minutes late (still working on the whole ‘being on time in America’ thing) and sweating profusely (like we are taking crazy boo-tay sweat; something I have not felt since Tanzania but for the record DO NOT miss).  But thank you Jesus we could borrow a car! And we giggle a bit that normal island weather means headline news and everyone freaking out in Chicago. Drink some water and go to Target people; there is AC everywhere! Stop whining! Ok, rant over.

And finally, YES, we are feeling “culture shock” or “re-entry shock” or whatever the heck it is called.  At least I think we are.  Trouble is you can name something but it still doesn’t mean that makes it easier to negotiate.  And I think people expect us to be “over it.” And the thing that is complicating all of this is that we really do not want to just continue on with life as usual, carving out our slice of the American dream because it is no longer what we want for our lives or our family.  So Jason and I are trying to figure out what it means to live here again.  It is rough.  For a lot of reasons.  Mostly because we are allowing the chaos we feel inside to spill out onto each other in messy, hurtful ways.  We are sinners y’all.  We need some grace and unity and a lot of communication about all this.

And it is tough honestly because a lot of folks don’t really care so much about our time in Africa.  Fair enough. I don’t care immensely and deeply about what is important to a lot of people so I by no means think I am more enlightened.  How can people care, I mean really care, about something they have never been touched by? I knew this would be true but the experiences of the last four years have changed me so much that I really am not going to “get over it.”  I feel like the world expects us to “settle back in” and become who we were before we left.  I guess I have realized that is not possible.  Nor, honestly, do I want that to happen but how to explain that without being rude, offensive, or just plain weird.  Really, it is never my intention and I have no insight as of yet on how to better ‘do some ‘splaining.’  How do we explain everything in under two sentence the average person can stomach at a party?  I haven’t figured it out.  All I do know is I am changed but if anything I am more humbled; more sure of how imperfect I am and more certain in the perfection and Might of God.  More certain I cannot do anything apart from His Spirit at work within me.  And more sure I want and need more of that every day in my life.  We still do not know exactly what we will be “doing” here but we are trying to listen and discern what is next.  It is hard and many days recently we spend more time frustrating and stressing to each other than trusting but we know that as we seek to acknowledge Him in everything He will make our path straight.
Not easy but straight.
It is hard to know what is next but I have no vested interest in figuring it all out because I know I would just force it and screw it all up (it is sorta a gift I have). So I think in the mean time we wait, pray, listen, try to work on loving more. I think when God is in the process of revealing a plan in our lives, it starts to illuminate gradually, like a dark sunrise seemingly beginning from nothing but in reality crafted from God’s unseen but trustworthy hands.  Right now I am trying with everything in me to trust the unfolding….
So, not sure when or where I will next update from and not even promising that I will have any further insight but I am trusting in the One who has better plans for my life than I could imagine,
one of the E fam gypsies

  1. Anonymous says:

    Oh, Rox, calling yourselves “gypsies” is so true! This is us everytime we're back in America. Let me tell you I cannot WAIT for our own place since we've been living with other people for 2.5 years now!I also understand how hard it is for people not to truly care / understand about your island. They (being Peace Corps) warned us about this, but I've experienced it firsthand, even with really great friends. In their defense, how can they even begin to understand? It's tough. I guess I worry that I won't have anything ELSE to talk about, since my entire life for two years has been Georgia. And you're twice that. So no wise words…just good luck with everything and enjoy the AC! Hope I can see you stateside!

  2. Anonymous says:

    First, let me just say (selfishly) that I CANNOT WAIT to see you and hug you. I have no idea what this re-adjustment is like for you and your fam, but I feel ya' at least a teeny tiny bit about being convicted in your bones that the “life” you see around you is not what you want for yourself or your family. And the confusion and chaos that that can cause. I love you, sweet Rox, and I'm excited to see what the Lord has in store for you and the E Fam 🙂

  3. Anonymous says:

    I am exhausted just reading it…woah! Love every detail though and they way you make me laugh;) Hugs!

  4. Anonymous says:

    hey! finally starting to catch up on reading your blog! I love seeing all the pictures and hearing your stories of life, transition, good-byes and hellos. Glad you are doing well and getting to catch up with lots of people. Praying for rest in the middle of it all! -Brittany

  5. Anonymous says:

    Hey! finally catching up on your blog posts! Love seeing pictures and hearing stories of your life, adjusting back, saying good-byes and hellos. Thanks for sharing. Glad you are getting to catch up with lots of people. Praying for rest along the way! -Brittany

  6. Anonymous says:

    I always relish your reflections. I hope the gypsy summer continues to inspire you all.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Laughed out loud about your weird African child! I can just picture her saying it. What you say about the future rings true for us too and made me think of a proverb – 'But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day.' May be completely out of context but the imagery of what you were saying reminded me of it.Congrats to you and Jason on 11 years. Miss you all loads and am also sorry for the terrible communication on our part.Love P xxxx