Yesterday, I wrote a post about the once in a lifetime opportunity I’ve been given to go to Brazil. And today, I had my first day in this wonderful place.
If you didn’t read my last post, or in case you forgot, I’ll mention again that, oftentimes recently, I’ve been feeling restless.
And sometimes, I feel so restless that I feel like I don’t have a home. Or rather, I do feel like I have a home, but I feel like I constantly want my home to change and yet still have there be that one place that remains the same– my one home.
When I got to Brazil, immediately upon meeting my host family, I felt home. I felt more at home in their house than I had at some of my friends houses here in America. I think part of it was the fact that I was thinking of it as my home for the next few weeks, and part of it was how incredibly friendly they were. But, anyway, I felt like home.
And it got me to thinking back to how many times, places, and experiences I’ve been to or had that have made me feel like I was home. My house will always be my home, and my grandparents’ house will always be my home. But, Seattle,– the first city I flew to and the first city I ever fell so deeply in love with– Kenya,– the first country I left a piece of myself behind in as I longed someday for it to be my home– and all the other places I’ve ever dreamed of going and living and being in– those are all my home.
The day I left for Brazil, I was teaching children at a local church about missions. And man, my heart fell in love with those kids– the way they were struggling because they were the only kids, the way they were sad because their pastor was leaving again. My heart felt for the tiny yet somehow striving congregation. And I so badly wanted to make it my home. I wanted to drop everything I know and the church I’ve called home and make that place my home. I wanted to go to seminary and get my M.Div so I could call those sheep home. I was reminded again of my own restlessness. In fact, even on the plane ride over here I could not sit still, and it took all my energy and self control not to bolt. Because with each batch of turbulence, or each long, sleepless hour, I wanted to get up, walk away from my seat, and parachute off the plane. Not because I didn’t want to come here, necessarily, but mostly because I was just tired of being there.
And I am still restless. I still so badly want to go back to my home and sleep in my bed (11 hour red-eye flights are brutal for people who are physically unable to sleep on planes). I want to go back to Kenya (because every time I look outside, something reminds me of that place I still so badly want to call home). I want to go back to that church and tell them about the experiences I’ve had here– even though I haven’t had any “real” experiences yet. I want to pack up and move to California to go to grad school and never look back. I want to move to Seattle and live in the city I first fell in love with. I want to go to Togo and help jump-start their Quiz program (haha jump-start– get it?). I want to do it all and yet, somehow, sometimes, deep down, I don’t want to do anything.
But, for now, I’m here. For now, I’m in this beautiful city amidst amazing people ready to tackle a new adventure. And yeah, I’m still restless. I still want to pack up and hop on a plane to Kenya instead. Or, I want to find the next plane back home. Or I get so overwhelmed in my thinking about my homes of the future that I forget to love my home of the now. But, today, I drank water from, and ate the meat off, a coconut. And I was able to snap a picture of me and my roommate doing it together. Which I know doesn’t sound like much. But to me, it meant a lot. Because, despite my restlessness, it reminded me of all the places I’ve felt home. In Kenya, two years ago, I took almost the exact same picture with my then future college roommate, whom I met through Bible Quizzing. Unlike her story and the fact that she’s lived so many different places she probably really doesn’t much feel like she has a home, I have at least one place I can call “home”– a place I grew up and my family still lives. But, like her story, home, to me, has become more about the people I’m with than the place I am. But, the place I am is also where I feel most at home and it’s wherever my heart is. And this moment, in Brazil, reminded me of that moment, in Kenya, when my heart began to feel homeless.
So, for the next few weeks, I am making my home in Brazil. Because, amidst a billion places I often feel at home, for the next few weeks at least, Brazil is the place I’m calling home.