Saturday, April 27, 2013

Going to a foreign land

Almost 4 years ago (4 years this July actually) I first came to kenya.  My life was definitely changed since that trip in 2009.  My eyes were opened.  Not only to the way of life in Kenya, but my eyes were opened to my own life as well.  Past hurts that I was running away from finally caught up to me in one conversation.  Suddenly, there was a choice.  As Andy Dufrense says in Shawshank Redemption, it was time to get buys living or get busy dying.  I chose to get busy living.  And my life has been changed drastically.  I came back to Kenya 15 months later already changed.  almost 11 months after that, I came back a third time to kenya.  Instead of a short trip for two weeks, I left my comfortable job and stayed for 6 months.  Six months hanging out with kids on the street.  I was busy living.  And it felt great.

Six months ago now, I came back to Kenya.  Has it really been six months already?  It sure doesn't feel that long!  Six months ago.  I came to a country that I've grown to call home.  Six months has come and gone.  It's Saturday afternoon as I sit and type this on top of the Mid-Africa Hotel in Kitale enjoying my day off.  The food at this place is not the greatest by any means.  Maybe that's why I chose to have lunch elsewhere...But the view...I love the view!  I sit here knowing that on Monday I'll be getting on a matatu driving to Nairobi to catch my midnight flight back to the US.  But this time, it's different.  I've spent enough time "testing the waters" in Kenya.  I spent the past 6 months on a trial period with In Step.  Six months later and I've made a firm commitment to being here.  It's where I belong.  It doesn't mean that I don't miss family and friends back in the US - I do miss them.  In his autobiography (which I highly suggest to anyone), Bear Grylls says, "The reality was that it wasn't a hard decision for me to make.  Deep down in my bones, I just knew that it was the right thing to do: to go for it".  I can't remember what exciting thing that he was talking about.  But that strikes home with me.  It's hard to leave people behind.  But at the end of the day, it's the right thing to do.  And I know that.  I was busy dying for too many years.  Doing things that I wasn't truly passionate about.  Now, I'm busy living.  I'm working with kids that I truly care about.  I love each and every one of the children at In Step.

Like I said, Kenya has become a home to me.  It's no longer a foreign land on the other side of the world.  It's where I live.  Sometimes I forget that.  It usually hits me on my day off.  When I get on my motorcycle and ride into town.  I catch a glimpse of myself in the side view mirror and all of a sudden remember that I live in Africa!  Heading to the US on Monday feels foreign to me.  Being back in the US for several months last year was often times difficult.  If I'm honest with myself, I'm scared!  I'm scared because I don't know that I fully "fit in" anymore.  Simple things like driving.  I'm so used to sitting on the right side of the car to drive and driving on the left of the road.  Big things like what we so often refer to as "first world problems" - Starbucks got my drink wrong.  Storm knocked the power out.  Traffic is bad.  Things like that.  Strange that as I get ready for a trip - a visit? - to the US (sounds weird to say that) I feel like I'm heading to a foreign land.

Yet, I'm excited too.  I hadn't planned on going back this soon.  I had wanted to spend a year here first. Unfortunately, due to some issues with Kenyan Immigration, I cannot get my work permit yet.  So back to the US I go for a couple of weeks.  While I hadn't planned on it, I am excited to see friends and family.  I'm excited to be able to go to my home church and here the message live rather than via podcast.  I know that it's going to be a busy week.  I know that I won't get to see everyone that I would like to see.  But there's always next time too.

Fears and excitements aside, see you soon America.