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March 2007
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May 2007

Such joy

    I almost can't believe this, but I am actually back in the States with no intention of ever leaving again.  Hallelujah!  It's a long story, with details that are better left alone, but my kids and I are back home and my hubby will be joining us ASAP.  It is sooooo nice to be back!  We had a layover in Boston on our way home, and the sight of a Dunkin' Donuts (tm) almost sent me into tears of joy.  Little things, eh?
     One thing's for sure, we don't appreciate just how good we have it here.  The majority of Americans are living lives that people in other countries only dream about - and I don't mean the Trump and Rockefeller Americans, I mean the Bolinger and Smith and Johnson Americans.  Even for those who don't have much in the way of material goods, living in America gives us options - options that many others will never have.  I am much more appreciative of all that "being an American" means now. 
    I also have a new level of respect for those who choose to live in another country - whether they're following a profession, pursuing some sort of ministry or whatever - because let me tell you, it's hard.  Very hard.  There is no way to adequately describe the experience of actually living in another culture to someone who hasn't done it.  Europe isn't as obviously different as, say, China or India, but there are still innumerable small differences that have to be constantly recognized and dealt with, and it can be quite exhausting.  The language barrier alone is a tremendous frustration because language impacts everything, and when you realize that you don't even know how to ask for help or read a road sign, it can have a real impact on how you view yourself and your abilities.  I felt like a  complete idiot for much of the time.  Needless to say, that doesn't do much for your self-esteem! 
    At any rate, we're home, a bit older and (hopefully) wiser, with some new experiences under our belts and a different perspective on a lot of things.  Now we have to find our place here and dive back in to being Americans.  I think I'm ready for that challenge!