Home.

I miss evergreens, cross walks, and the smell of coffee shops. I miss comfy couches. The ones they sell here make my butt go numb in about thirty minutes. Scratch that, it only takes about ten minutes.. I miss American sports. Gosh, do I miss them. I miss rules of the road. There is something comforting and reassuring about knowing that where there are lines you stay within them, where there is a speed limit you abide by it. It makes me feel like I might live a little longer. Of course there are the people too… Probably the biggest contributing factor to any missing that occurs in my heart. The smallest of details will remind me of people almost instantaneously. A hug from a woman who is older than me will remind me of my momma and how good her hugs are. Or if I try to make a smoothie, I wish she was making it for me. Mine always end up chunky. The man down the street who came to help fix the toilet reminded me of my dad, from the bald head down to the camo shorts. Harry Potter marathons, worship at church, Dutch Blitz (Nertz), letters, songs that come on the radio, laughter, pinecones in Mantasoa, Bible verses, excursions like quading or canoeing or playing soccer, mangoes, star gazing, etc. I am constantly reminded of my people.

But here is the flipside. Somewhere in the seven months that I have spent teaching, catching buses, learning to bargain and mainly getting ripped off. Somewhere in between the people coming and going, in between the missing old friends and making new friends, I began to LIVE in Madagascar. It is home now. I love this place. My heart gets this strange ache in it when I think about driving that road toward Ivato and dragging my bags on a plane. Lately my eyes have taken a little extra moment to drink in the sights that are now familiar. And my heart is so content. The sunsets and sunrises, the fruit stands, watching Aina translate, seeing Malala wave to me from her grandparents shop across the street, dodging dogs and chicken and men and vehicles in order to visit my friends down the street, rice, trips to the post office, teaching and watching my students actually learn and absorb and enjoy the lessons. My other short term friends from all around the world. I love them. The Petrellis and the way they have pretty much adopted me. “Hattie, do you have solar protection (sunscreen).. I have to be your Mada mom!” -Valeska. I could go¬†on.
I love Mada and the people here. I love my places and people in the States too. Both are my home.

Here are some recent pics from this past month..

Holding my friend Rova's sweet little guy.

Holding my friend Rova’s sweet little guy.

AIM Short Termers at our retreat late March.

AIM Short Termers at our retreat late March.

Love these guys.

Love these guys.

Malala and her grandpa.

Malala and her grandpa.

My  Malagasy family. Aina, Mr. Hery and Fugain.

My Malagasy family. Aina, Mr. Hery and Fugain.