Goodbyes are never easy, so I decided I’m not going to say goodbye this time. Instead, my parting embraces are now paired with a “I’ll see you again soon,” which is much more hopeful than a dramatic, definite goodbye.
This doesn’t, however, mean that there aren’t tears. Oh, there have been plenty of those.
I’m going to miss this.
Even the pace of life will change. Right now I know my role- I spent the last two years learning it. I feel comfortable with setting up visits and can easily overbook my week, for there’s never a lack of work to do! I’m working full swing, full time, full action.
When we come back in the spring, however, I’ll be starting back at language learning again. This time, it will be to once-and-for-all conquer the mind-boggling vernacular spoken in this land. Now I can get by, but choosing to live here longer means it’s time to get serious. I need to be able to fluently string together combinations of words and sentences to truly thrive and be faithful to our calling. I will be restless, but it will be worth it.
Many things will stay the same, and I will be eagerly awaiting to return to the normalcy of life I’m now accustomed to. The crowded streets I’ve grown to become a part of. Olives for breakfast. Dogs everywhere. Men hauling loads of melons through neighborhoods yelling out “Here you go, here you go!” Frequent walks down by the water to escape the city smog. Jumping unto moving transportation crammed with too many passengers. Winking at women and children, and holding babies that are not my own. Fresh vegetable stands on every corner. Hearing the call to prayer 5 times a day. Striking up conversation with the flower ladies. Walking everywhere.
So, my dear country, this is a parting hug to you. Thank you for these past two years filled with memories, lessons learned, and millions of people who crossed my path here on your cobblestone streets.
I’ll miss you, but this is not a goodbye. I’ll see you again soon!