Last week I received the first question from one of the kids about returning to Ethiopia. "When we go back to Ethiopia, are we just getting our stuff or are we staying?" Ivan inquired.
The answer to this question I do not know. My reply, (long pause while I gathered a few thoughts) "Well..." (another pause while I thought of a way to pose the truth of the situation...always the truth...in a way a child can understand) "...Ethiopia is where our home is. It's where we feel God has told us to live. We hope to go back and stay." (a short pause because I remembered how much they're enjoying their grandparents and "the cousins") "But each year we plan to come back here for about a month and a half." Then I waited for him to digest that.
I thank God that we have not been inundated by similar questions since our abrupt departure. He has protected their precious little hearts and vulnerable spirits.
We left many of our belongings there. I had less than 3 hours notice that we would be leaving. Had there been time to pack, there weren't any totes to put our things in. We had sent them out to one of the Mission Ethiopia sites with donations and supplies. We had a few smallish carry-ons and a couple pieces of luggage that had been accumulated. One of the carry-ons was literally a reusable shopping bag. Another was a child's tiny backpack.
A contract driver and van were outside waiting for us. "Contract," meaning he did not work for anyone we were connected with...because no one could know we were leaving. So, as everyone else was loading the van, I was upstairs in hysterics. Keith was badgering me, "We have to go. We have to go!" I begged for one more bag.
I had months to mentally prepare for the massive purge and leaving behind of items. This day, I had just hours. Apparently though, God had been preparing me all that day. For no apparent reason, I cried to at least 4 different staff members that morning, without divulging information or the possibilities. Embarrassingly, not all of them even spoke English. Still, I ranted. The stress of the previous days was too much. I also may have used a few profane words in the midst of my emotional breakdown.
Again I found myself crying and screaming. This time at my husband. Bless that man. He is the most patient human I have ever met.
He rounded up one more bag and also wisely suggested I grab some educational materials as I would need to continue homeschooling during this hiatus. I grabbed one book: Saxon Phonics.
The kids have randomly asked about particular items. We each have a special teacup for what else but tea time while Mommy reads a classic to them. So, tea time has been either without tea...or hot tea in boring, matching cups. Avery asked me to use the crinkle cutter for vegetables one day. I had to break the sad news: no more fun veggies. I left all kitchen items, including the birthday gifts that had just arrived in a care package: a pressure cooker and French press.
When I tell them the requested toy or book is in Ethiopia, the conversation goes no further. They know it's just stuff. And, hopefully, they understand this time here is just a visit. Quite a long visit. Our residence is somewhere else. For now, home is anywhere we are all together.
This has been more of a contemplative post. We are still unable to share details for safety concerns. I'll work on some informational posts next. Ethiopia information, as I realize I have been a big fat failure at that so far.
That question from Ivan came the morning of Halloween. So, I feel a few pics from the occasion are relative. Enjoy. We went with Despicable Me 2 for a family-wide theme.