Sunday, August 7, 2011


Well, it's here.
The 'flashbacks', 
flipping through the 3,000+ photo-montage on my iPhoto, 
the status updates/comments on Facebook from teammates, 
the pages that are stained from the red dirt in my journal,
I can't ignore it any longer.

The flood of emotions that I've gone through from the few days before I left Africa to well, 
this very moment- are indescribable. 
I feel silly even trying to dish it out, or who wants to read this anyway, 
like they'll get it? 
I'll sound like a whiny-baby, an ungrateful American, a goody-two-shoes?
Your last days in-country are mixed with excitement to go back to all the things you found comfortable for your entire life in America, and sadness to be leaving your new 'home' for the past month and halfish.

I went to Haiti for about ten days, a year ago. 
I got a pretty good taste of poverty and the environment of a third-world country then. 
To be honest, Africa is very similar to Haiti. 
The dirt, the lack of electricity, water, money, the lack of efficiency with small "no-brainer"- tasks, yet the ability to be resourceful with so little, the joy in people's lives with little to no physical possessions, the hospitality, etc. 
All very similar.

But this time around, I lived on this continent for six weeks. A month and a half. 
You're definitely past the honeymoon stage of things. You're no longer (as) shocked by things you see, you get used to the pace of life- which is much MUCH slower, you begin to really miss- 
yet somehow, 
not at all really....the things you thought you did at home. 
Like showers, a bed, cinnamon rolls, the gym, a car you can jump into at any time, or knowing the latest and greatest headline, electronic modification, or heck even about getting some piece of paper degree 'thing'. 
I thought I missed them, in actuality- I really don't think I did.
You just have absolutely no idea what's outside of these red, white, and blue walls.

I'm still trying to process it.
This is the part where now that I'm back, I get these bipolar feelings about America and being back. 
We were warned by our oh-so-wonderful FOCUS training staff that these would be normal feelings. 
You might come home and clean out your closet, or turn the water off while you lather your soap/shampoo instead of leaving it on while you do and then rinse, etc.  You might check your phone less often, login to Facebook and scroll through updates less too.
You get the jist.

I miss my friends I made there of course as well.
It's fun to add seven hours to our time and think about what they might be doing, like I did for here when I was there....
Wonder what the weather is like there, how the rice building we funded/contracted is doing, if our friends miss us in return. 
They do :)
We made a conference call yesterday and they confirmed this wonder.
oh, how I miss Malawi.

Don't even get me started with these handsome little guys. See, way to go- you got me cryin :)

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I returned exhausted from a 36-hour travel hoopla.
Three flights, one being 16 solid hours, not one wink of sleep.
I had adrenaline coursing through my dead body- excited to see Beau, experience some of my American delicacies, and begin sharing stories.
I was on this 'high' from spending six weeks not missing a day being in the Word with my Jesus.
Getting to know Him and being SO close to him on another part of his creation in this world.
Having/seeing prayers answered throughout the trip or even immediately.
I remember praying and fasting on the plane ride home asking God to help me to continue this new-found habit that I was in love with- Him too.
Well, 22 days later (TWENTY-TWO???? ALREADY??)
I. Failed.
My excuse for the first week was jet-lag and being tired and needing to recoop.
Then it was subbing for my ACPC job, an unexpected blessed 40 hours to start gaining an income.
So that took my time and energy.
Throw in QT (quality time) with my other man- Beau.
Geez, doesn't he deserve time too after 6 weeks?
"Tomorrow God, I promise". 
22 days.
That's all it took for me to breeze right back into things, put my Savior God on the back burner and move on with my life.
Because, "I'm tired, or have to catch up doin this or that, or because no one understands, or ________"
Some pretty sweet pictures, a filled journal,  and a heart full of memories.
Is that all I really have left?
Can you tell I've hit the postpartum part of my return?
Everything's so blurry.

I wanna go back. :)

I met with a very dear friend of mine last week, she wanted to know all about my trip, the stories, the emotions, the everything.
It meant a great deal that she took time out of her evening, away from her hubby.
She sat and listened intently- asked lots of questions, and just shared in my joy and excitement.
I sit here with tears in my eyes, she's like a mother to me, really.
To this day not one person in my immediate family has really asked a single question, dug deep into what went on in my life for those six weeks. 
What God did. 
What He showed me.
Who He brought into my life.
They'll listen if I bring something up randomly- which is great, but what she did that evening meant the world. She knew she might not understand, but she asked anyway. She prayed for me before, during, and since my return. She genuinely cared. I'm thankful for that.

It can be a lonely and weird thing coming back from an experience like this.
That's why it's hard to tell stories, to post pictures that the stories behind them are left blank, gosh, 
I just don't even know.

I promise more joyful, uplifting, encouraging, maybe even hilarious stories to come. 
This post isn't even fair, but important to note/acknowledge.
But, you get the good, the bad, and the ugly processing sometimes too. 
The real and raw Kendra.
Just wanting to feel God like I did then,
spending time with Him would be a good start, huh?
Pray for that for me, please?
Thank you. and thankful for you.

Heaven? No, just Malawi.

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