I’m sitting in an airport as I write this. I have three flights in front of me still although I have been on my way for 13 hours now. It’s not as bad as it sounds though. I got to watch the sunset over flooded rice fields in Cambodia and sometime soon I will watch it rise over Bangkok’s city skyline and in the midst I discovered it really is possible to fall asleep on airport benches and wake feeling at least somewhat rested and grateful for the chance to sleep lying down because I know the next few sleeps will be in my seats on the planes.
I’m sitting here leaving one home to go to another home and it feels so strange. It is only for four weeks, but it feels longer. And I remember when I moved to Battambang several years ago and knew I wanted to be there, but so desperately missed home at the same time. Now I cannot think of leaving Battambang. The beautiful city filled with beautiful people has become my home.
I love our family in Battambang. We are an ever growing, always changing group of people running together, living and working and playing and learning and growing and changing together – people from all sorts of different lives, people from all different countries who have each chosen to come and love Jesus and the people he places in front of us. Together.
I love what I am able to do every day. I love the God who has led me here and spoken a dream that has become a reality. And it is exhausting and it is exciting. And it is challenging and I do not always know what I am doing. I do not always do what I am doing right or well, but I wouldn’t trade it.
I’m sitting here waiting to board my first flight and realizing how different my next four weeks will be from life as normal.
The biggest difference is I will not be a mother.
I’m sitting on my second flight now. I haven’t had a conversation with anyone since I got out of the taxi in Bangkok – and that was a very limited conversation. I was so grateful to have found a taxi driver who knew any English at all though. The bus dropped me off on the side of the road around 11 p.m. and pulled away. I told the taxi man “airport.” He said “meter” and we were on our way. As we were sitting at a traffic light he said, “you go alone.” I said, “yes.” The quiet pause before his next question was just long enough to feel almost creepy.
I am sitting here thinking how different my life is from so many of the people I see every day. Different – not better. Most of them will never know what it feels like to fly in an airplane. Ruen will tell me that when it is morning in Cambodia it is nighttime where I am from and vice versa, however, that is a tricky concept to explain.
Yesterday my friend asked if Ruen had any old school uniforms because her youngest son wants to start school and she doesn’t have the $3 it would cost for a uniform. She’ll take Ruen’s old one even though it’s dirty and slightly torn. Ruen wore the uniform for over a year – and white shirts just don’t stay clean on that little boy.
I’m sitting here where there are movies on the big screen and there are people who offer me food and drinks regularly and I do not understand exactly how this is going to work, but it’s night outside right now even though we flew out of Japan at 3 in the afternoon and we’re landing in Detroit at lunchtime.
I’m sitting knowing I have friends who asked if there will be rice for them to have if they need it while I am away while I am here with my choice of meals more often than I feel hungry. Fed so often I can turn a meal away while many of my friends eat rice and soy sauce as their entire meal.
I will have a car to drive to visit different places and people while I am home – and I have one crazy (and amazing) friend planning on driving many, many miles to see me because she can. I also have friends who cannot go see their sick parents in their home province because they cannot afford the time off of work or the price of the bus ticket to get there.
If I’ve figured out the time change correctly, I have another 7 hours before we land. This is a long night that should be day.
And here I am in the United States again. It’s been almost 16 months. I have one more flight before I will see my sister.
The leaves are changing in America these days and I have not seen that since 2006, so I am happy to be enjoying this beauty and happy that it is time to go to sleep.