Jeff and I enjoyed our time in the US immensely, but there were just a few items that made us homesick for the country where our children were born.
9 things we missed while away from Brazil:
1. Warmth! Jeff and I survived the Snowmageddon (aka - Snowpocolypse or SnOMG) winter 2013/2014. We made it. We laughed constantly about how God chose THAT winter for us to come back to the US. Shesh. I mean really, why did we have to suffer that horrible winter?! So in the end, we felt like great warriors who triumphed over... boredom?
2. My sweet neighbors! We have the three best neighbors on the planet: Pastor Ricardo (Kattia & 2 awesome kiddos), Pastor Assuerio (Miriam & 2 awesome kiddos), and Pastor Anselmo (Carmem & 2 awesome kiddos). Hmmm, notice a trend? All of our neighbors are pastors and all have two kids. Wait... and all of us have a boy and a girl. Eerie... well, we're missionaries, not pastors... so yeah , it's not that much like a commune...
3. Dear sweet friends! We have great friends who we missed dearly! Lots of ministry people, lots of special times we've had! Lots of inside jokes that we tried to explain to people in the US that didn't make a lick of sense. Flirates. Bungalow. Monocle. See you tomorrow.
4. Fruit! Mangos, pinapples, guava, graviola, pina, shall I go on?
5. The mosquitoes! Ha! Just kidding! For real though, nature. So beautiful here. Watching the horizon at sunset turn from blue, to orange, to pink, to gray over the tops of palm trees as swallows and sparrows dart across the sky. I actually have no idea what kind of birds they are, but they sure are pretty. And from all the swooping they do, it looks like they're destroying the mosquito population.
6. People offering to help when I'm out with the kids alone! Seriously. One of the best things about living in Brazil. Strangers aren't worried about offending me because I might be that doon't-you-dare-help-me-I'm-perfect-I-can-do-it-all-my-self-mom. When I am out juggling the shopping cart, a screaming 3 year-old, and a 7 month-old strangers help. Every. Single. Time. They might push the cart for a second. Try to talk to my whiny little darling. Or a store clerk (who I've seen dozens of times) might offer to hold my baby. It's nice.
7. The strangers I see smile at me! Maybe it's because I walk around with two of the cutest little kids ever, but I prefer to think it's because eye contact between two people warrants a smile.
8. My bed. my couch. my table. my rocking chair. my hammock. A bit materialistic, but you get the point, right? When you go without something like your own home for a while, the gratitude you have to God when you return (and finally settle back in) just explodes out of your heart. :)
9. Watching God work in amazing ways! Have you heard us say that God's work is ON FIRE in Northeastern Brazil? Because, dude (may I call you dude?), it is like God is setting the hillsides of people's hearts on fire like sugar cane in harvest season...( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e6GgMN4B_Wg) okay that metaphor might not translate... to anyone... what I'm trying to say is that God is moving in amazing ways in Brazil and I can see it. It's powerful and amazing, just being present to witness what He does is a gift. I love hearing about the sports ministry stories of our Athletes in Action friends, who got saved at church, what God is doing with the school, the Living Stones Ministry, and in the lives of those around me.