…and back again

9 11 2009

Sunsets in Africa blow me away. The sun looks enormous and perfectly round, and it seems so close that I imagine I could reach out and touch it. That was the backdrop for my final night in Zambia. We were walking back from one of the orphan homes in Kalingalinga. The sun was inching its way down, and I was arm-in-arm with Esther, the oldest girl from the house. She was singing quietly as we walked. All of the kids had decided to escort us home and they were running, laughing, and singing all around us as we made our way down the street.

Just minutes before I had been sitting on the floor of the house having my hair braided and listening while the children sang to us. Sitting there it was hard to believe I was leaving – I was so content and so happy.

But, morning came. It took three cars to get all of our stuff to the airport because between the two of us we had 12 suitcases (I am not ashamed to say I flirted our way through customs in Chicago – I couldn’t even see over the cart of luggage I was navigating around the barriers so, needless to say, they had more than a few questions for us).

It took a long time at the Lusaka airport to get through security, check-in, and immigrations. Jan made it through with an opened bottle of water, and we’re convinced we could have gotten just about anything we wanted on board the plane. Not necessarily a comforting feeling.

When we arrived in London I was overwhelmed. The doors of the terminal swung open and all of my senses were assaulted simultaneously. I felt exposed under the bright lights. The shiny surfaces were dizzying. The smells from the perfume counters threatened to make me gag. The sparkling Christmas decorations throughout the shops seemed even more gaudy and excessive than I had remembered. It took awhile to adjust.

And I’m still adjusting. But it’s good. Chicago greeted me with a stunning fall day (seriously, fall is my absolute favorite time of year and this day was perfect – anyone who lives in Michigan can thank me for brining this nice weather back). As we crossed the Michigan boarder the sky was streaked with oranges and pinks and yellows – a different kind of sunset than I’ve seen in the past two months, but gorgeous all the same.

I’ve been in Grand Rapids for just under 48 hours now and, other than to sleep, I’ve only been home for about two of them. I’ve been busy, but it has been SO amazing to catch up with the people I love. Sitting on my friend’s front porch tonight talking and taking in the beauty of fall, I almost felt like I had never left. But I did leave, and it was good, and I know that this trip opened my eyes and my heart further than I ever could have imagined.

So, while I brace myself for a week of being poked, prodded, and otherwise tested at various doctor’s offices (because, really, nothing says welcome back like a trip or two to the hospital), I’m glad to once again be physically surrounded by my safety net – and I am truly excited for everything life has in store!




3 responses

9 11 2009

Welcome home, sweet Amy. See you soon! 🙂 Lenae

10 11 2009

Good luck w/ everything!!!

11 11 2009
Judy Husby

I, for one…or for many, are so glad you are home. I love you with all my heart…

Your Mom

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