The first few days were a piece of cake. We all found ourselves thinking, "This is nothing, we'll be fine." Yes, grocery stores were insane (Geoff had to take a photo of the cereal aisle at CUB to send to our friends in Namibia) and the sheer amount of stuff in Walmart made us literally laugh out loud. I kept thinking that the amount of stuff we were seeing in Walmart was more than the merchandise of every store we'd been in combined during our entire time in Namibia. Funny thing is, it had always been that way, only now I was noticing it.
We'd grown accustomed to about five cereals to choose from. Look at this!
A late night emergency stop at Walmart for underwear and PJ's, on our way home from airport.
Since we were staying at my mom's house in Wisconsin, it quickly became clear we were going to be spending a lot of time in the car. The kids were ready to see friends and cousins ASAP. We also had various doctor's appointments, interviews, and other things that required we be in Stillwater or Woodbury nearly every day. The running around and driving to and from caused my anxiety level to increase a lot. Though it was how I lived all my days before going to Africa, that experience of rushing here and there was not something I was accustomed to anymore and I was feeling it big-time.
Esther showing her patriotism as one of America's newest citizens!
Celebrating the 4th of July on the lake
We knew that each of us would experience re-entry stress in different ways and at different times, just as we all experienced culture-shock differently. Overall, the boys say they feel fine. Sophia and I have struggled with feeling overwhelmed on many occasions, and I would say for me, my greatest "symptom" is just a general underlying anxiety that is very hard to articulate or explain. One day I had my hair done and cried the entire way home because I didn't like it. Never done that before. As we look ahead to getting jobs, moving back into our house, and starting up homeschooling this fall, these things make me anxious. They overwhelm. Maybe anyone would be overwhelmed at that, maybe it's re-entry stress. It's hard to distinguish sometimes.
Sophia and I, in particular, have been nostalgic at times about Namibia and our relationships there. I have missed the boys terribly, from the moment we left Otjiwarongo. I was so anxious to get here so that we could Skype with them, which we have done on two occasions. It was wonderful to see their faces and hear their voices, though the connection wasn't the best, making the communication a challenge (communication with them is always a challenge). One thing we could hear clearly was, "We miss you" and "We love you too", which of course had me in tears for a while. Their first care package is now on the way. I find myself looking through all of my photos of them and wishing I'd taken more. I dream about them almost nightly.
We've been incredibly blessed by the warm welcome we've received from so many friends and supporters. It is quite a strange experience to be greeted by people who've followed our whole journey through Beautiful Feet. I guess it is one thing to be in Africa sharing my life through my keyboard to unknown faces, and another to meet those readers face-to-face and realize they know us, our story, the joys and sorrows of our past two years. It is both humbling and disconcerting at times. I feel so grateful to the many who have cared to follow our journey, and a bit vulnerable too, after all that I've shared. Again, one of those hard-to-articulate things.
Esther getting to know Grandma Swanson and the rest of her family. So fun!
Lunch after church with the Winters! Just like old times (except all of the kids are bigger).
We are so thankful for many of you whom we know have been praying for us! Can we ask for continued prayer for the following….
- For peace and direction as Geoff and I both seek employment. That we could trust God fully and be reminded that our value is NOT in our job title, but our identity is in Christ!
- That we could experience God's comfort as we continue to adjust to the demands of life in the US, for emotional and spiritual health for each of us.
- That the move back into our home will go smoothly and that we will be able to "freshen up" our house before moving back in.
- For intimacy with the Lord
Thank you dear friends for loving us and praying for us!