home: we live in the upper left apartment
of this 5-plex building
What feels like home to me? Dropping temperatures do, plus leaves changing color and falling off the trees, plus the occasional snowfall, plus the sun setting before 6pm, plus the anticipation of lots of cups of cocoa. Here, the temperature remains relatively the same all year round, as does the timing of the sunrise and sunset, and there are no leaves falling let alone snow falling. I do, however, have the occasional cup of hot chocolate in the mornings and evenings when the air is cooler. Since we moved here, the realization has struck that spending 32 years in the Midwest has cultivated a connection between the changing seasons and a sense of home.
sometimes on the weekends I'll sit
on the balcony by myself
with a cup of hot chocolate
while Eli handles the kids inside
Thankfully, there have been other aspects of the fall and winter seasons that were replicated here, to help it feel more like home in America, namely gathering with friends and celebrating the holidays together. The Harvest Festival encouraged us to carve pumpkins with the boys and trick-or-treat among the missionary houses, and our Thanksgiving celebration was complete with turkey and dressing and bursting bellies, and the upcoming Christmas activities will include gingerbread houses for the kids and caroling around the hospital and a party with the missionaries. So there are plenty of gatherings to make it feel like home around here.
Which reasserts the point that people make a place home. "When we're together, we're home." Even though we're literally half a world away from our family and friends in America, we have so many new friends here who have become special and important to us, and who already feel like family to us, and who we're able to be at home with. We thank God for the people he's placed in our lives for this season and for the house that's become our home too, which is why, despite bouts of homesickness here and there, we can confidently say that we'll be home for the holidays this year!
Here's a tour of our home in Kenya:
the Pepper Tree right in front of our house,
our boys' favorite tree to climb
fireplace, which we barely use because of the kids,
but most missionaries use them
because it can get quite chilly at night
what our living room normally looks like
the table where we do preschool lessons
kitchen (the largest one we've ever had!)
we have all the normal appliances here
bathroom with plenty of hot water,
although the water pressure is usually terrible
sink that's usually soaked because little boys
like to play in the water too much!
Caleb and Kai's room
they share a dresser in the closet
view from the changing table
the fan is mostly for white noise
since there's a road right behind our house
decorated for Christmas
our Charlie Brown tree,
and 2/3 boys willing to sit for a photo
Our boys are very excited for Christmas this year! We walked to the river yesterday to find a tree, which meant finding any evergreen-looking tree and cutting off a branch to suit our needs. So we found this and hauled it home, and the boys were very excited to put on lights (which we got from a fellow missionary family who had extra) and ornaments (a select few we brought over with us). We've had a real tree every year and this year is no different, even though it's a bit unique this time. We thank God for the chance to celebrate Christmas in Kenya!