Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Luggage Juggle

Ok folks, time to get moving. We are packed up, and as I type, we have 14 hours before our flight. The house is empty, the bags are gone, and for the next few hours we'll be unable to send any pics because we won't have internet access. By tomorrow, we should be able to reconnect at JFK and give you an update. See you in a few!

Headin' out...

Renita and Janette trying to figure out which bag has the alarm going off.

Our worldly possesions reduced to 700lbs in eight suitcases.

Janette and Renita begin the relay.

Brother-in-law Dale and Bob hauling like the beasts of burden they are.

Noah lends a hand to Uncle Dale with a 70lb bag.

Just about... DONE!

Saying Goodbye, part two

We saying our final farewells, and it is getting to us. The emotional cost of leaving is becoming greater than we anticipated, and the price goes higher with each hug. Each of us is parting with best friends and so many lovely people; we are each grieving individually and as a family. Renita and I look into the eyes of the dearest people in our lives-- wondering who we will see again and who we won't, wondering if we haven't lost our minds-- and we are suddenly ambivalent. We eagerly desire to leave, to get started, get set up in our new home in Africa, and at the same moment we find ourselves wishing, wishing, oh, couldn't we stick around just a little longer? Could we not linger a while and savour the place and the people so dear-- just to make sure they are real? Like Noah, who asks with pained urgency if he can stay overnight at Matt, Sam and Ben's "just one more night," I find myself for the first time resisting the coming unknown, and for the first time, wanting to hold the familiar. I find myself not wanting to say goodbye.

In the midst of it, there are orientation meetings, planning groups, errands, loose ends, emergencies, and the ever-present awareness that there are some things that just won't get done. The following are images of our last few days in Grand Rapids, Michigan, United States, Developed World.