This past year, I had the privilege of meeting one of the kindest friends I know. She worked with SIM Education in Niamey, helping to train kindergarten teachers in local schools. When she found out that I was staying in Niger for the summer, she invited me to retreat to Switzerland for a couple weeks with her and her sister. And what a retreat it was!
Our time was filled with walks at sunset, bike rides to church and along the river, swimming in Lake Lucerne, eating meals and dessert with friends and family, my first cheese fondue!, visiting cheese and chocolate factories, hiking in the mountains, and lazily reading in the hammock.
After my friends picked me up at the airport, I realized that stepping in and out of the car was oddly interesting. I anticipated a wall of heat and to instantly start sweating once I exited the vehicle, as it is in Niger. To my pleasant surprise, the air was cool, much like being in air conditioning! It was lovely and refreshing, a break I didn't realize I needed.
Our first stop was the grocery store. Oh! The options! I picked out some blueberries and we snacked on those while we waited for our post-shopping ice cream. We then visited mom, who has a beautiful garden and a breath-taking view! Rolling hills covered with bright green trees and grass, small farms and fields kissed by the sun. I had my fair share of freshly picked home-grown raspberries and then snacked on a juicy apricot while taking in the view. Water for my soul.
All in all, it was an amazing trip. I visited my friends' grandparents and their 300 year old house, talked with their uncle and learned how he milks 75 cows twice a day and knows them all by name!, and we even saw The Lion King musical in Basel! It was incredible to be so welcomed by the culture, family, and this place they call home. Though quite busy, between our trip to the mountains and 4 day stay at Lake Lucerne and the Friday grill nights at the church, it was absolutely refreshing and restful.
Praise God for mountains, lakes, grass, cows, hammocks, flowers, sunsets and sunrises, raspberries fresh off the vine, homemade pasta, and new family. I am so thankful for my time to travel and find new energy. God is so faithful to give me rest when I need it. Praise God!