Our time in Nepal has come to an end. When the busy, crazy and chaotic life, that is Kathmandu, becomes normal, I knew it was feeling more like home. In the beginning, I never thought the end of our time there would come, but here we are, 3 years later knowing it was our time to move on.
As I have been thinking about our move and our life abroad a couple things stick out. First, I didn't write about all the really hard things we experienced. There were times of huge frustration, seemingly insurmountable obstacles and really hard conversations. There were times of sickness for all of us, struggles with the air pollution and water pollution, cultural snafus, and homesickness. And second, when presented in a nice, concise form like a blog or a paper, it may seem that what has happened here was easy. It wasn't and it isn't. It takes lots of perseverance, character and energy to get anything off the ground in a developing country, and I am so proud of my man for making that happen.
I am a reader, I love reading and like looking for a good book to read. Recently, I have been seeing lots of books coming out about topics such as savoring the moment, and a seemingly opposite side of the spectrum, dreaming big. I think I am drawn to try one or the other, but not both (that is too hard!). I want to savor the moments, but I also want to dream big and sometimes it doesn't seem that these two go hand in hand. In the past three years, I have come to see that these to ideas are more interconnected than I thought and Nepal has been a great place for me to synthesize these two ideas. In order for us to take the step of faith and move, we had to dream big. We had to know that God was leading us and that there was work to be done, and lots of it. I also knew that the time in Nepal would not be forever. While in Nepal we tried to enjoy the moments we were given: the tea with a neighbor, driving my scooter and smelling the honeysuckle as I drove past, watching the kids learn a Nepali dance or listening to the monsoon rains at night. I also knew that during the hard times, they would pass: the sickness, the border blockade, the visa issues, the struggle to learn Nepali, or the loneliness. In all these things, they have added up to become the big thing. That is the reason that our little things are so important. The sum of our little moments push toward the big dreams. I think this season has been marked by the big dream.In the big dream I learned that it is actually just the small things that make the big dream beautiful. This is what I needed to learn in this season.
Even though we have moved, we are not back in our home culture. We are off to another country to finish what we started. Moving is never fun, and moving internationally can be a bear. By the last week of moving I just want to burn all the things, but then I realize that I need those things, so I continue packing. When we finished packing our house in Nepal we had to ship 14 boxes ahead of time and kept a suitcase and carry on for travel. I wish I had time to tell you stories about Nepali customs and getting our stuff out of the country, but alas, it would take its own blog post! Our last days in Nepal were a blur; they were filled with friends, tears and hugs. We had many touching good byes by both our expat friends and our Nepali friends. We are so thankful for them all. We will miss our house helper so much as she became a great friend. Goodbyes are never fun. We had lots of them, and are thankful we will hopefully see many of them one day again. We did take advantage of having our friends until the very last minute.
While saying good bye is hard, watching your kids say goodbye will rip your heart out. Such a hard day, but our time had come to an end.
We decided to take an overnight stop in Istanbul so we could take a quick tour there. We studied the Romans and the Byzantine empire this year and I thought it was a fitting field trip for them! We had an early flight and said some last good byes at the airport. We had ALL our things and it felt so good when we got on that plane. We made it to Istanbul by the afternoon and took our things to a hotel and then signed up for the free Turkish Airlines tour of the city. We hit all the hot spots, the Blue Mosque, the Hagia Sophia, the Hippodrome, the old bazaar area and had an authentic Turkish dinner. With some rain and slip sliding on our walk home, we were able to enjoy a quick view of Istanbul.
Besides the fact that Josiah looks like he is so tired he can't even stand up we were able to get on our flight and head to the Netherlands. Thankfully, we have some great friends in our new town who met us at the train station and helped us get our things to the house. It felt good to land, to finally be in the place we would call home for the next year. Also, a shout out to my cousin who came in the chaos to help us get settled. Thanks for helping us move from chaos to order! Just to make us feel at home, we had 2 resident mice in our new place, which have since been disposed of. Nothing like mice poop to welcome you home.
So now, here we are for a year, looking forward to see what is ahead.