Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Reflections on America

Through the eyes of a three-year-old:
“Mommy, at the airport, the doors just open by themselves and people walk through!”

When I brushed her teeth using tap water, she said in great horror, “Mommy, you are using DIRTY water!”

Fascination with: drinking fountains, automatic flushing toilets, the buttons on her airplane seat (how many times did we “accidentally” page the flight attendant?) and escalators. In fact, I don’t know why we spent the money to take her to Disneyland when we could have just spent 5 hours at the airport going up and down the escalators and she would have been just as happy. Oh wait, we did that too.

Speaking of Disneyland: Taking Grace to Disneyland for the first time was somewhat of a sublime experience for me. Disneyland is the quintessential experience for children (in theory, anyway). The Happiest Place on Earth, right? Okay, okay, I’m not looking for a debate here. But when I saw my little girl at Disneyland, having the time of her life, I was struck quite forcefully with the thought of the life she might have lived had God not brought her into our lives. I do realize that there are much more important experiences in a child’s life than Disneyland, but to see her experiencing the blissful delightedness of unabashed childhood joy almost brought me to tears a few times that day.

Speaking of unabashed: What is it about America that makes a woman dreadfully insecure? After just a few days of a bit of television, bill boards, and magazine covers, I suddenly had the thought that I really, really needed some wrinkle cream. The thought had never occurred to me before. Hmmm. This is one aspect of American life that is entirely absent from life in Tanzania, and I don’t miss it at all. (Don’t worry, I didn’t actually buy it.)

Speaking of missing: As much as I loved my time in the States, and took so much joy in seeing Grace + Grandparents love on each other, it just wasn’t the same without my boys. I had lost some sleep about leaving Josiah, but thankfully he did great and has readjusted quickly to having his mom back on the scene. I’m certain this is because Gil did such a great job with him.

Speaking of Gil: How many husbands would not only allow, but encourage their wives to leave for two weeks to go have fun in the States and leave him with their 17-month-old? What a wonderful husband I have. He dealt with stinky diapers, tears at night, meals, and entertainment of our little guy all by himself for two weeks so that Grace and I could do this. He even encouraged us to go to Disneyland, knowing he would miss out on seeing Grace experience it for the first time. I am ashamed to admit that my attitude hasn’t always been as great when he has left on trips. He did a fantastic job being Mr. Mom and it is a joy to call him mine.

Speaking of joy: You know one thing I absolutely love about being in the States? Going to church. Of course, we are part of a church here. But there is nothing like being with so many friends, all in one place, who have known me for so many years; who have loved me, served with me, prayed for me, encouraged me, mentored me, and helped to make me who I am today. Hillside and FCC, you have no idea how much you mean to me.

Happy Memories: Bibi and Babu and Grandma and Grandpa, cousins, Paul and Kimmie, meeting my new sister-in-law Shannon, Carothers (plus FOUR!), Anne, Feather family, Hillside, Easter eggs, Grace’s Easter dress, FCC’s new sanctuary, Lisa’s Tea Treasures, lunch at Google (for free!), long phone conversations with dear friends, seeing Grace meet Dora at Great America, seeing Grace meet Mickey Mouse at Disneyland, Walmart, new clothes, pizza, Taco Bell, Fresh Choice, grapes, Cheerios, strawberries, flank steak, Cold Stone, water pressure, carpet…and of course, escalators.

When I arrived back home on Sunday, there hadn’t been electricity for 24 hours. I found two large swarms of very large ants (1/2 inch each, no joke) in the house.

I pulled the completely defrosted pork fillet out of the freezer and forced my way through my foggy jetlagged brain to figure out what to cook with it. I lit candles. I sprayed the swarms of ants and swept their little carcasses out of the door. The power came back on during dinner.

Home, sweet home.
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