What I find myself missing most about America are the relationships I have there. As much as I look forward to seeing Harry Potter and driving a car, I am aching to be surrounded by my friends and family once again. I love talking to my mom, dad, and even Granny on the phone via Skype and e-corresponding with friends, but look forward to feeling their warm embrace and being able to see their faces again. Without them here, I am sweetly surprised at how many things here remind me of them.
One example is the foods I am making and craving. They are not necessarily my the foods I eat often or my favorites when in America (with pizza being the exception), but here I crave them nonetheless. For example, in the States I rarely crave chocolate drop cookies, and have probably gone 8 months between tastings. Here in Africa, however, I make them almost weekly, restraining myself from making them more often. I am deducing that this is not simply that I cannot resist a chocolate/peanut butter combination (which is true), but that these cookies have powerful associations with home. I don’t remember the first time I had these cookies, but I remember so many different occasions that have called for making chocolate drop cookies in the Hadley household.
This morning I went to church with a dear friend I’ve made here, Meme Koko. The fact that this was only my second time to church since arriving in Africa almost makes it needless to say that I am constantly thinking of Trinity- the church plant I am a part of in Nashville, Tennessee. I so look forward to rejoining them in August. I think about each Sunday I am missing, wonder how everyone is, inhale the pictures and stories posted on blogs, and happily sigh at the thought of the new babies that are joining my tender, Christ-centered church family.
I am so looking forward to reuniting with everyone once again when I am back home in Tennessee. I say Tennessee rather than Knoxville or Nashville because I am starting to see that I am torn between two homes. I have lived in Knoxville for 18 years, love my family there, enjoy time with friends, and adore my church family there. I have only gone to Vanderbilt for 3 years, and really been a true part of Nashville for 2 years, but that time has been so concentrated with beautiful friendships that I feel at home there too. Unfortunately, I will only be able to stay In Knoxville a few days between Namibia and Nashville, so that time will have to be chock full of exchanging stories, catching up, and appreciating America. Yes, it will be hard to leave Oshakati and say good-bye to all the relationships I have begun here, but I know it will be a sweet reunion when I am finally back home (whether that home be Nashville or Knoxville).