Apr 13, 2010

Back Home

I remember the moment when I first felt it. We were walking through the terminal at George H.W. Bush International Airport in Houston and I saw a woman--brown skin, long hair put up in a loose bun, a long floral dress. She was clearly Micronesian. I turned to Babs and said, "It feels like coming home."

The feeling only grew when we landed almost eight hours later at our next layover in Honolulu. The warm wind washing over us, the verdant greenery, the coconut palms, puffy white clouds, the white sands and crystal-blue water (our son learned the word beach during our descent into Honolulu)--all of it felt so right, so comfortable, so familiar. Like home.

That feeling reached it's fullness when we finally arrived on Saipan Friday night--the same familiar faces that tearfully bade us goodbye last July, now joyfully welcomed us back. It was so good to see our Saipan family again--Virle and Joeie, Amy and Angie, Megan, Girlie and Edna, the Lacortes, Venus, the Piersons, the Staffords, the Espanola clan, Michi and Kono, and so many more. It was good to be home.

We were escorted back to our old housing compound, where our dog Kimo embraced us with uncontainable excitement. We tugged our suitcases into our old house, and Amy, the currrent principal, even moved from the master bedroom into the guest bedroom so that we could stay in our old bedroom. We set up the Feller's old Pack N Play (which we borrowed back from the Piersons)in the same corner where his crib used to stand, and collapsed into our old bed for a good night's rest after our long journey. It was almost as if we'd never left.


The whole week we were in Saipan we felt so at home. Everything felt so familiar, and yet, not once did I feel like we still lived in Saipan. I definitely felt like a visitor, even in my old bedroom. The distinct awareness that this is not where I live anymore never left me. Yet, paradoxically, I felt as if I'd never left. Perhaps the best way to explain it is to imagine going back to your parents house after you've gone away to college. It's still home, but no longer where you live. That's the way Saipan felt to me during this golden week.

It was a good week, a golden moment in time and I'm excited to share the experience with all of you, my readers. Some of you were there in Saipan with us, others will experience the trip only through these pages. In either case, it's a joy to share the journey with you. Here's what's coming up in this blog as I reflect on a week back home in Saipan:

The Marathon
Not the long-distance race, but the long-haul flight from Columbus to Saipan. It might not have been as grueling as an actual marathon, but with a squirmy toddler in tow it felt awfully close at times.

The People
Forget the beaches, the coconuts, the tropical breeze--what makes Saipan special is the people we've come to know and love there. Our dear friends were the highlight of this trip.

The Dive
This post will be mostly pictures from a great dive Ken Pierson, Mike Stafford, and I took on Sunday morning. Thanks to Mike for most of the pictures you'll see.

The School
Our old school is thriving and it was exciting to see new changes and exciting plans for the future. I'll give you a glimpse in this post.

The Worship
The reason I came to Saipan was to speak for the school's week of prayer. God blessed abundantly. You'll find out how in this post.

The Sun and the Sand
Friday, April 9, for a couple of sun-kissed hours our family and some of our former students (who are like family) enjoyed the classic island life on Saipan's pearl, Managaha Island.

For Those Who Came Before
This blog will feature a gallery of former teachers' students gathered for a photo to show Gleason, Graves, Odiyar, Edwards, Lee,Perez, Sanchez, Nickell, Prokopetz, and French how their kids have grown.

In addition to entries here, there will be quite a few new posts over at our son's blog. His blog is members-only, so if you're not already invited to view that blog send me an e-mail and I'll invite you.

A warm welcome. Here we are with all our friends who came to greet us last Friday night, April 2, 2010.

Fun in the sun!

Our old bedroom, now principal Amy Foote's room. She let us have the room for the week. Thanks for your generosity Amy! Our bed is turned in a different direction from when we lived there, but our son's crib was pretty much right where it was before.


Mai said...

Wow, my eyes misted up even just reading this post and you've barely begun! That feeling of knowing it'll always be home, and yet not actually being home anymore is what scares me about going back, but..... I still long to go. I can't wait for all the coming posts!! :)

The Beachcomber said...

Good times, my friend. Good times.