Here's the other side of the equation. As our departure draws closer, we also find ourselves thinking about what we'll miss about being here in the Philippines over the course of the next several months. Here's a list of some of the things we aren't so crazy about in our transition:
What our family is unsure about:
*Being overwhelmed by all of the American choices; in the stores, in the restaurants.
*Fast traffic, and no easy public transportation. We haven't had to worry about finding parking for a long time!
*Gaps we have in knowledge about the American culture. Don't be surprised by our blank looks in the middle of conversations. You might need to fill us in once in awhile!
*Time away from friends here in Davao. There are many dear Filipinos we will miss very much. We'll also miss being part of a close community where we interact with so many friends every day - at work, at school, at our gate, on the street.
*Remembering how to use self-checkouts,
*Or how to pump gas,
*Or how to run a dishwasher. When I came home for my father's funeral last August, I asked if my sister filled her sink with that glorious hot water to wash dishes, or if she just washed under the running tap? She looked at me with a quizzical look and said, 'no...' It was then I remembered the dishwasher. :blush:
*Not having fresh mangos, papaya, and pineapple!
*The absence of friendly, smiling pedestrians on the street at all hours; strangers who call out greetings. The streets will seem so...deserted.
*Re-building relationships with people, looking beyond the changes that three years have made. You have changed during our absence. So have we. But we truly want to hear what God has been doing in your lives!
*Expensive haircuts. A very good haircut costs under $4 in this part of the world. Can you beat that?
*The holes left gaping by the deaths of Barbara’s dad and sister since we left in 2009. Grief may hit us again as we miss them in our family gatherings.
*Missing basketball season in Davao; Amy and Elise especially will miss the sports seasons, though Michael will too - since this would be his first year to try out for team sports.
*Expensive health care. We had to get chest x-rays for TB testing required by the school this week. We walked in without an appointment, and were finished in about 35 minutes. Each x-ray cost under $10.
*A ‘we need this!’ tendency to go overboard buying things we can’t find in SE Asia. All of us have lists of things we'd like to look for. Clothing (we feel a little raggedy right now) water color paints (Amy) Legos (Michael) books... Pray that we will be able to shop with attitudes of contentment and thankfulness!
* Cold temperatures. Will we survive? We've had perpetual summer for 36 months. We've grown pretty acclimated to the warmth. Though it will be nice have a break from constant perspiration, we wonder how we'll handle the cooler weather! Guess it's time to teach Michael what a jacket is... (just kidding, M!)
*Never enough time to spend with people we love. It just never could be long enough.
But then, we'll have all of eternity to be together. :)