Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Over the holiday season I was able to journey back to Maine for a three-ish week vacation to visit with family and friends. I loved my time at home catching up with friends and getting involved back into daily life with my family. I was even so lucky to arrive home to snow and then have it snow again on Christmas!
A highlight I had was visiting with the Kendalls one snowy afternoon. I love this family and before moving to Africa they were the only family I still babysat for - Kristian and McKayla are two wonderful kids that I cannot believe are growing so fast! While I was over Kristian put on his flirt and sharing hat all in good hopes that Santa would bring him extra presents. I taught him how to carry a basket on his head and by the end of the training he was a pro (thanks for the picture Christine). I did not get hardly any time with McKayla - she is a beautiful, smart and altruistic girl. Her birthday was this month and she has been on a year campaign to collect donations for her SmileTrain page. Please see her story and donate to McKayla's SmileTrain Fund - she is wise and thoughtful beyond her years for a 7 year old.
I also got to spend some valuable time with my closest girl friends. They are all amazing individuals who are beautiful, successful and driven. I'm so lucky to have them in my life.
I was so excited to see the Kings - they are an amazing family and I think of them as my second family. I even got to go into Kathryn's classroom to give a few presentations while I was home for the World Wise Schools program we do together. Plus, when I left for Africa Jeff (to my right) was not, I repeat not, taller than me - that was more of a culture shock then being in America was!
Most importantly I got to spend a lot of fun and quality time with my Mom, Dad and brother. It was the best holiday present to be able to hang with my Dad and watch the NBA games (Go Celts!), have long life discussion with my brother and spend time out at the movies with Mom or at the gym (she can run circles around me!). Coming back to Africa was surprisingly hard emotionally for me the second time around and I think a lot of it had to do with the fact that I feel so whole when I'm with my family. When I am away from them my heart is with them always, but you develop coping mechanisms to handle homesickness. When Dad took me to the airport all those feelings of loss and distance smacked me square in the face. I can whole heartedly say that coming back to Africa for the second time was one of the hardest things I have had to go through emotionally.
Mom and me after our last session at the gym together - she kicked me into shape from all the food that I ate :)
Despite my sadness, going back home to America also made me realize how special my friends and family are here in Uganda. It is an emotional sacrifice to be away from my family and closest friends, but I don't know what my life would look like if I wasn't able to have my family and friends here in Africa either. I love them both and I am very lucky to have two places I can call home.