Ten thousand blogs could be written about our furlough trip, but since my brother-in-law enlightened me that “you’re dramatic”, it’s probably more like 100 blog posts. For now, I’ll give you one. The one I’ve got in me. The one I’ve got left. The words itching to be shared.
I’d be dishonest if I said I always look forward to our trips “home” to America. Anyone who’s lived overseas will be nodding. My NGO/missionary/volunteer peeps might say a double “amen.” It’s incredibly complicated to explain, but also infinitely simple to share.
Going home is hard. Home is no longer the only home. You leave your new home and friends and perhaps language, where you’re probably comfortable if it’s been 1-2 years since you moved there. And everyone assumes furlough is “vacation”, but it. Is. Not. Sometimes it’s more exhausting than the life you paused to come and visit “home”.
And when you get to this place that you were born in, everything is different. It’s odd and you’re not hip on the lingo (see?! I don’t even know what I need to say there). You don’t know what your sister means when she talks about “the dab”. And people ask …. Interesting questions.
Oh the questions. First, I know I’m going to repeating myself 100 times. It’s all good. I’m prepared for that, but it still gets hard to with-enthusiasm describe my house, or our work, the next project, and “what Africa is like” (as if I’m an expert! 😳). Second, sometimes the questions are odd. Lol I won’t even go there. But trust me. Sometimes I’m like how does a person seriously answer the question about THAT.
It’s really, really good to talk about our work. To hear about the lives of our inspiring friends and family who are making great changes in the world. It’s incredible and humbling to hear them say “you’re doing so well” and “we’re proud of you.” I mean, how amazing is it to hear that?!
We’ve become skilled and gracious (I hope!) at accepting gifts from people we think can’t afford them. Or people we don’t know well. Or new faces and old ones. It’s pretty incredible to hear people say, “I believe in what you do. I’d like to donate this money towards your doula project.” I mean, how crazy does it get, folks?! How much do people spur me on to love and good deeds.
Let’s go back to vacation. Furlough isnt exactly vacation. As in, it’s NOT at all. Sure we see family. Yup, I might sleep in til 7, but there’s 1,000 people to see (check out Sean’s Facebook post of all the people we saw), 150 internet tasks to accomplish- like taxes and administrative goodies; emails and projects people come up with for us to do. For an extrovert like Sean, it’s a hay day. Amazing. Pretty good stuff. For an extroverted introvert whose really turned more introvert lately, it’s a lot of work.
Furlough was a lot of intentional practice to declare my boundaries, ask others to respect them and demand I respect and hold them as well. There were more meltdowns in America than I’ve probably had in the last 12 months. It wasn’t all easy. It’s tough living out of a suitcase, being really ill in other people’s spaces (even though my family is awesome and gracious and super helpful, I still felt like I was killing people with my cough and probably contributed to my nephew’s hospitalization 😩), and having to schedule time to be “The Boehrig Three”.
I don’t write this post for a pity party. In fact, if we hadn’t have gotten I’ll, I would have counted it a HUGE success. With the illnesses, it was just a success! 😉 this was the best trip home we’ve had, and I’ve had 4, so I think I’m getting better at it. … or changing my expectations. So don’t feel bad for me. Don’t hear me complaining. I’m really stating facts and aim to paint a picture. That, like everything we humans experience, there’s more going on than we assume is going on. In order to understand, let’s ask lots of questions.
And thank you, especially to the people who get it. Who encouraged us to say “no”, to rest, to have family time, to sleep in. To the people who asked the real questions, who dug deep into our hearts and shared theirs. Who were forgiving and gracious when we couldn’t see them, and didn’t doubt our love for them because our time was limited. Thank you.
Now that’s blog 1 of 100 posts, but I’m pretty sure I won’t get around to 98 o them, so make the most of this one.
Sala kahle, America! (Stay well)