Being back in the States was good, and I had kept busy enough up to this point to not really think about the transition of cultures. But there were a few things that reminded me that I was no longer in Niger. For example, when I needed to run errands, I didn't think twice about getting in the car alone and going where I needed to go. I knew how long it would take me to get there and I could count on the store to be open. Drivers actually stay in their lanes. There are no bush taxis or motos zipping in and out of traffic at their leisure. Oh, peaceful American driving.
Hot showers, soft tissues, cuddling under big comforters, and fires in the wood burner were a few simple pleasures. I enjoyed peanut butter oreos, real milk, and delicious venison. We ate out at the Olive Garden for my birthday, and I had shrimp and chocolate cheesecake! And I definitely made sure to find a Chic-Fil-A before returning to Niger. Costco has everything you'd ever need in one store. I could drink water from the tap, go outside without being stared at, and attend a church service in my own language. Yes, home brought a few reversed-culture-shock experiences, but nothing too extraordinary. Home will always be home.
I was able to see friends that I might not be able to see again for awhile. I visited professors at Grove City and of course, stopped by the Outlets. I ran errands in Cranberry. I went to the mall with a good friend. I visited neighbors and mailed letters. The family celebrated Amy with a baby shower. My time at home was full, but rich.
My mom had a night with some ladies from church - what a blessing. We talked about living in Niger and my mom was able to share her story and struggles. They prayed for the both of us, showing us what it means to be a part of the body of Christ. A long-time friend and neighbor offered to help with some last minute shopping - how helpful and so generous! God is good to provide.
While my time at home was wonderful, I thank God that I felt ready to return to Niamey when it came time. On January 8th, my parents and I went to the airport for a long day of traveling. We made it to Niamey late on the 9th, greeted by good friends.
From one home to another, the Lord is good and He is God.
|Blue skies, clean air, sunshine...ah!|