I'm not happy about this.
Don't get me wrong--I'm happy for Pam
I think of all the teaching I have done on cross-cultural adjustment, international living, staying healthy as a family through global re-settling, getting beyond the just surviving to the actual thriving. I think about all those words I have spoken, read, written or taught on it all and I remember that one of the most important words is "Goodbye."
I think of Gwen, the sweet-faced hostess with the mostess who lived many years in a remote little corner of Maasai, on the bend of a river where the big fig trees grow. Gwen said that when she left her homeland she thought she had said all her goodbyes. What surprised my friend the most was the constant cycle of goodbyes that came her way once she had begun this international life. Ruth Van Reken, gifted author and speaker on these topics, calls it the continuing cycle of separation and loss.
I have a lot more I could say on this but there will be people arriving to my (messy) house in 90 mins for a quiet little send-off for Pam. We want to spend the evening worshiping God together and then praying our friend on her way.
Let me just say this: Pam's departure is my first goodbye from Arusha (besides our boys leaving for college) and I know it will not be the last. Pam welcomed us to the this town with kind words and dinner invitations and times of laughing together. I am thankful for these short 8 months of having her as a neighbor across town. I am thankful that she has been in our lives. I am thankful that somewhere along the way, this international life has taught us to open our hearts quickly to each other. I am just plain thankful for Pam.
Go well, Pam.
We will miss you.