I've been thinking a lot about "home" these past few weeks. It probably has something to do with the fact that I'm once again packing up a home and moving elsewhere, and the fact that we purchased our one-way tickets to the US last week. In times past, I would have immediately thought of this as a homecoming. Any time I go to the US for a holiday, I say, "I'm going home." But suddenly, I'm moving back there, and it doesn't feel like so much like home.
Granted, we're moving to New Jersey, a place I've never been, where I know few people, and don't know which grocery store is the best, where the library is, or any of those other details that make a place home. Plus, I've been living overseas for close to seven years, and in two vastly different countries during that time.
When I think about "home" my first thought is usually the house in Essex where I grew up. My parents moved out of that house about 10 years ago, and still I dream about it! What makes a place truly home for me, though, is the community that I have. My parents are surrounded by their best friends in Essex. Most have lived in their houses for 40+ years, and growing up in that kind of community set the standard pretty high, and it is something I've always longed for.
Kijabe is probably about the closest thing I'll ever have to that kind of community. Everyone is within walking distance, we have meals together with our closest friends at least once a week, the focus is relationships. It is hard to once again give this up to start to find and establish a new home.
Home is where the heart is, they say, and so my heart remains firmly rooted in Kenya, but I leave pieces of it everywhere I go...in Oakland...in Al Ain...in Essex. We will be in New Jersey for at least two years. A lot can happen in two years, I know. (That's all the time I needed to meet and fall in love with Dexter, after all!) I hope and pray that NJ will be a home for us in a new way, even as Kenya remains our HOME.
There is much I will miss about Kenya, and also a lot I'm looking forward to in the US. I'll talk about those in future posts (so I remember, more than anything).
We're in for an adventure!