Well folks, this is my last post! I thought I'd leave you all with a little update on my journey back and my arrival back home. First off, let me say that saying goodbye to all the students was one of the hardest things I've ever experienced. I had a full on emotional breakdown afterward. Thankfully I was able to keep it together during the goodbyes but after the bus left and I read Zenande's goodbye letter to me I completely lost it. The letter was so sweet and heartbreaking at the same time. I received several goodbye letters from students before I left that made my heart hurt even more at the thought of leaving them. Thankfully I was able to take off with my parents not long after the farewells. My mom's advice to pack up the night before paid off. I don't know how I would have handled packing up after my tearful goodbyes. The rest of that day was a daze, but I'm glad I at least got to spend it in Stellenbosch with my parents. How lucky am I to have parents who would come all the way across the world to grab me in Africa and take me back home?! Leaving would have been a hundred times harder without them. The next day we took off for London, where the rest of the fam met up with us. London was a whirlwind, but I'm so glad I got to go as a halfway point before heading back home. It was just what I needed. We did a lot of sightseeing and some shopping and had high tea at the Brown Hotel (see picture top left). And of course we had our fair share of pubs :) The weather was beautiful which I felt even more lucky for. It was an all around fun and eventful trip.
The journey back home went well....till our last flight from San Fran to Medford where most of our family thought our lives would end. I am NOT exaggerating when I say that the turbulence got SO bad I thought we were going to plummet to our deaths! After much screaming and crying and praying out loud to make it to the ground in one piece, we arrived in Medford at last. It was late Friday night when we arrived and we immediately crashed (no pun intended) when we got back home. The next day was dreary and mostly spent unpacking till the evening where I reunited with a couple friends to go to a wedding reception. Talk about jumping right back into things! The day after that my friend had a birthday dinner so it wasn't till last night where I was able to have my first quiet night in after being home. It wasn't till the next day where I felt really rested and adjusted to the time difference.
Being back home is weird, and I would be lying if I said it has been easy. Quite honestly I've been struggling to keep my joy here. As much as I missed my family and friends, I haven't missed all the familiarity that I've been around my whole life. My heart is still very much back in South Africa. I expected it to be weird and hard and to take a while to readjust, but at the same time I thought I would be more excited to be back. I'm just trusting that God will reveal to me what He wants next for me in due time. Till then, I am keeping my heart open for whatever is next. I just know that if I were to go off my feelings right now I would jump right back on a plane to South Africa, no question about it. My heart and life are forever changed, and I know that God wants me back there in the future whether it be this year or five years for now, I know I will be back. They say home is where your heart is, but I'm back home and my heart is still there. What does that mean?
The best part about being back home? Finally meeting the babies my friends had right after I left. I can't believe how big they are already! The worst part? Obviously missing South Africa but also having my cat Norma (my baby) go missing :( Be praying she shows up soon. I don't know if my heart can handle coming back and having her gone. Anyway, I don't want to end this on a downer note. Even though it has and probably will continue to be hard readjusting to life back home, that just proves to me even more how much my time in Africa impacted my life, and how I will be forever changed. Thank you to all who have been keeping up with this little blog of mine! Your support and prayers have meant so much. Till my next venture to South Africa, this is goodbye!!!