In a lot of weird ways this year has shown me how important and impacting different experiences in my life have been to me. These experiences start in my early years of life, but through my year in Namibia they have crept back into my mind, reminding me how incredibly blessed I am. I’m talking about experiences that first occurred when I was a small girl, starting around the age of 3 years old or younger. Since being in Namibia, I’ve longed for some of these events, to relive them now that I am older. I have craved some of my Louisiana times like Mardi Gras, visiting New Orleans, and driving past the different bayous as we head to the Boatwrights’ house for crawfish.
In addition to Louisiana, I have longed for adventures that took place throughout most of my childhood, like road tripping to Pennsylvania. Since I have been here, I have missed the hills of the North and the family dinners where we all gather around together for the first time in a year. I have missed the smell of my grandmother and aunt’s homes. I have missed the adventures with my cousins to Crab Apple where we fished like total rednecks thanks to the string, sticks, and bate left behind by others.
I have also missed my days in Italy where I could spend hours getting lost in the culture and food. I miss being able to go to the train station and head out on another exciting adventure so easily. I miss the late nights with my roommates who continue to be a part of my life to this day.
Ultimately though, I’ve missed my Texas days. These were the days where I figured out who I was, the days where I was pushed and challenged to become a woman. This is where I was eventually saved and learned to love. Throughout this year, I’ve missed these days the most. I’ve missed the simpler times of dancing every afternoon and attending football games. I’ve missed summer drives with the new 93Q in the background. I’ve missed road trips to Austin or the river. I’ve missed meeting up with my girlfriends to talk about our latest boy situations. I’ve missed the Southern charm that I once took for granted.
As I write all of this, I long for home, but immediately know that as soon as I get back I will have another list of things I will miss. I will miss the days when things were simpler because I lived in a village. I will miss my Namibian family. I will deeply miss my 9th graders. I will miss the hospitality and my outlook on life. I will miss the freedom that was present since I did not have the weight of my American expectations.
At the end of the day though, I realize just how truly lucky I am. I know that I am blessed, but as I look back and am constantly reminded of these times, I mature and truly understand just how deep my blessings run. I had a great childhood, one with love, great food, adventure, and hot summer days. As I matured into a teenager, those times continued and I was blessed with equally great years. God has constantly protected me, loved on me, and shown me that He is the one in control. I am so grateful for His unending love and for His constant reminders of what He has and continuously does for me.