I’ve been home since May, but this week was the first week with time to relax! What a treat! I baked, read a book, helped a friend move, and played around with my camera for the photography class I’m taking. It was so nice to do some very normal and ordinary things!
During our hike near Mt. Rainier, I was bit a few times by mosquitoes. In Rwanda there’s always the risk of malaria, but the bites aren't bad. They itch for an hour or two, then go away. I almost never use itch cream, but today I'm wishing I had some! More than 24 hours later, my arms are still itching! No risk of malaria...but they sure itch!
I just spent a week at the family camp I attended while growing up. Such fun to go back, connect with childhood friends and walk around camp, seeing what’s changed and what’s the same! I shared what life is like in Rwanda and what I’m doing, with kid groups (4 years through 5th grade) as well as adults throughout the week. I made some new friends and enjoyed attending the Bible sessions. The camp offering was for the new Kibogora maternity building. $10,000 was raised by the end of camp, and we’re still waiting for the final count, coming from online giving.
We had a long weekend reunion with my mom's family in California. What a blessing to see cousins again, catch up on what’s been going on in their lives, and meet new additions to the family. The days revolved around swimming, food, talking, food, memories, food, and more swimming. ☺
I drove to Canada to visit friends who are working in Burundi. When you’re transitioning back to life in the USA, sometimes it’s nice to visit with folks who’ve made the same transition. What a fun day of tea parties, card games, blueberry picking, and hanging out at a playground! Next time we see each other will probably be back on the African continent.
Friends from Rwanda were visiting the Oregon beaches, so I hopped in the car and drove to see them. Two days on the beach were such fun as it’d been a long time since I’d been to the ocean. And what a treat to watch two little girls experience the ocean for the first time!
We made it home to Washington last night. I didn't get a chance to post pictures from our last two days in Portugal, so here they are. We visited the Bélem Tower which we couldn't get into at the beginning of our visit because of wind and waves. After two weeks of climbing towers all on our own and getting to walk cathedral roofs, the long lines and packed stairways here were a bit disappointing. We wandered around downtown Lisbon—nice to see it in the sunshine this time. ;-) One Lisbon church was destroyed in the 1755 earthquake and never repaired; it remains a shell today. We visited Queluz National Palace, a bit like France’s Versailles, that was truly beautiful and quite different from others we’d seen earlier.
Funny, how I can say I'm flying “home” when at the exact same time, I know I'm flying farther away from “home.” Both places seem to equally bear the name "home" in my mind these days. We flew from Portugal to Seattle today. The trip took a bit longer—thanks to a strike at the Paris airport. We had to sit on the plane in Portugal for two and a half hours, waiting to take off, so we missed our Seattle flight. But we were able to get on a flight to Detroit and then Seattle, and our layovers were no more than one and a half hours in each place, so we were lucky!! We made it home 26 hours after getting up for our 4:00 a.m. start at the Lisbon airport, and we’re all thankful to be here and crawl in bed!!