Week 6

Thursday June 27, 2013

We got to sleep in on Wednesday. By that I mean I took a 3 hour nap and couldn’t sleep past 7:00. I got up and wrote in my journal while the girls read. We ate eggs and muffins for breakfast, and lounged around until the boys arrived to go to the market.

We spent an hour in the market looking for clothes to wear for our fashion show. we were each given 200 meticais and sent into the market to get whatever we could find to put on the annual intern fashion show. Since Mozambique is an international goodwill this task isn’t too difficult. I purchased a nice Hawaiian shirt, some fake black dip-dyed hair, and finally – the perfect key piece – a green, red, and yellow beanie with Bob Marley on it.

After shopping we went back for our last intern meeting to discuss survey trip and our readings. It was great to see how much of our reading turned into a practical piece of the Mozambican context, but also to see people on the team really get excited about what they feel God is calling them to do.

After the meeting we met with the wood-carver, who finally arrived with the items we ordered in the first week. I was excited to see the plates I had been anticipating. Unfortunately the carvings more closely resembled ashtrays with an image similar to Mozambique scratched on top.

After that adventure I walked over to Domingos’s house to play with Teresa and Miriam for a while before dinner. Their family just got a mini trampoline, so about 6 of the kids were standing on it like sardines, just bouncing in unison. As Teresa and Miriam crawled all over me and played with my hair I felt like Katie Davis in Uganda. I was also semi-disappointed because no one ever takes pictures of these perfect Kodak moments in life.

For dinner we had sweet potatoes, boiled cabbage, and Papa Tajou’s chicken. Papa Tajou could easily have a restaurant in America. I had to walk away from the table to keep myself from eating it all.

After dinner Amy cam over for a girls night. We had tea and cookies as we watched Emma,  because you can’t do anything relating to Jane Austen without drinking tea. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, I can’t do anything relating to Jane Austen without naps either, so I slept through most of the movie. I woke up for the end, did some journaling, and went to bed.

Again the next morning I had the opportunity to sleep until 7:00, but why sleep until 7:00 when you can wake up at 5:00? Until 6:15 when I finally got out of bed babies were wailing, neighbors were chatting, the Portuguese news was on the radio outside, chickens were squawking, water was being poured, kids were running around, and Mumford & Sons was blasting from somewhere. I went ahead and got ready for our rice harvest day.

We went to Madalena’s house and began sifting, pounding, and harvesting rice. First the rice must be harvested. You take a knife (or just use your hands) and cut down any rice stalks that are ready. After the desired amount is harvested the stalks are gathered in bunches and beaten with a stick until all the grains fall onto the mat. Then the grains are collected and put in a large wooden basin sort of thing. The women stand over the huge cup with enormous poles and beat the rice. They pound for a while, then pour grains into a basket, which acts as a sifter. You toss the grains up in the air and the lighter husks fly up and out while the rice remains. After the rice is sifted the rice is poured back into the giant wooden cup and beaten again. This process is repeated until they have a very fine rice flour. When they have a powder they pour it into a more American-style sifter until they have pure and perfect rice flour.

This we all did for quite some time, being both encouraged and mocked. I loved harvesting rice – it was extremely cathartic for me. And apparently I’m a sifting prodigy, so that’s something to be proud of. After rice we went home for rice, beans, and naps. Around 2:00 we left for our last women’s Bible study in Newara. This has reminded me both of the John 3.17 ministry in Arkansas and of how much I want to do this with my life.

Today’s lesson was Jesus walking on water and later calming the storm. Fatima spoke up and said, “Well, I have a storm in my life.” She continued to tell the story of how she accidentally saw a text message on her husband’s phone and discovered that he had taken on another wife. This is the same Fatima whose child died about a month ago. After that someone else told us that another woman’s house had been burned down by a neighbor after an argument. These women are ridiculously strong. They wield heavy poles to pound food for friends and family that may not be there tomorrow. Death, divorce, and demonic powers consume them. But these women know there is something higher. There is a savior who has overcome death. There is an infinite and unconditional love. There is a king who is coming to conquer darkness and free the slaves of this world. That is why they sing and the top of their lungs to praise this God. This is why they lift their hands and dance before the one who has delivered them from the grips of hell.

After class and a group photo we picked up Amy, Maggie, & Jane to go back to the Howells’ for team night. We ate stir fry before having our fashion show, singing a lot, and then playing taboo over some chocolate cake and peppermint ice cream.

Friday June 28, 2013

I think your skill as a missionary may be defined by how many people you can get in your truck. This morning we had 24 people in a 5 passenger truck, so there’s that.

We returned to Nkwonoma today for our last village visit and last women’s Bible study. I was sad to find out that Eliza, my bonding mom, was out in the field and wouldn’t be at the study, because she had to harvest the crops before the baboons did. It was great to see Elena and all the kids again, especially my 2 village guides Alfonso and Paulo (I don’t know if Paulo is actually his name, but that’s what it most closely resembled – names just aren’t important to Makua people). We did the Bible study under an awning completely surrounded by the village, and I could tell that everyone was whispering about my return, especially one man named Andre whom I believe was seeking a new wife.

After the Bible study I got up to reunite with some of the kids, take a few pictures, and share the bounty of peanuts that had already been thrown at me. While I was playing soccer the old lady across the street called me over and once again gave me 4 oranges. I took them back to my bag, then returned to playing.

While I was playing tag a girl whom I didn’t know called me over and gave me 3 more oranges. In exchange I went to help her snap peas. Around the time we were done it was time for lunch. we ate some rice and beans before going back to playing.

I was sitting outside the house surrounded by kids and talking to Alfonso, who seems to have the best grasp of the limits of my Makua and is the best at explaining what he means. And then he said it.

“Jezzica, owani Wamerica – mena, mena, mena – owani Nkwonoma,” which means “Jessica, your home isn’t America, your home is Nkwonoma.”

After he and many others asked me to stay, I finally left Nkwonoma. As I was climbing onto the truck I heard someone yell my name. I turned around and saw Cruz standing there, smiling as always. We greeted each other excitedly and followed it up with our last goodbyes. Bailey got out of the car and did the same, sad to part with his friend and host. After I was done I climbed on top of the truck and waved goodbye to Nkwonoma.

We sat on top of the truck as we drove through fields and villages and mountains and black mamba territories, singing “A Whole New World” at the top of our lungs. As I looked around at the villages and heard the women singing Makua songs in the truck bed and thought about all the incredible things that have happened to me in such a short time, I said, “This is one of the happiest times of my whole life.” And it was completely true.

When we got to Chipembe most of the women got out of the truck, so we had to climb down and get in the back. Celeste, Katie, and I were in the back with 2 other women and 2 children. A few minutes later we stopped again. A woman came out of the village carrying what looked like a 4×4 bundle of corn wrapped in a kapalana on her head. She put it in the back of the truck with us, along with a smaller but still very large bag. I sat in the front corner with a woman sitting on the corn bag in front of me. About 5 seconds after the truck started moving the lady fell backward into my lap, which also shifted an ear of corn and caused me to fear that it was impaling my calf muscle. We finally arrived at another village to pick up more corn, so I escaped with my leg in tact.

I got out and we put 2 more bags in the truck. Celeste and Katie sat with their backs against the cab and I sat on the other bag with my back against the side of the truck, next to a teenage girl holding a baby. Within a few minutes the space on my corn bag was split 80/20 as I became wedged between the corn bag and tire with my face smushed into Katie and my ankle going opposite of its God-intended direction. With every bump I slid further down and felt my ribs cracking against my contorted spine. After what seemed like an eternity of torture we finally got to the house where the women were getting out … only to discover that she needed to go further into town. And so we drove on with a lower morale and lower desire to continue living. We finally got to where she needed to be and my heart was filled with joy. When we came to a stop the joy quickly slipped away at the announcement that this was not the correct location. And so we continued on, darkness overtaking my vision as I began to lose all feeling in my body. At last her real stop came. The 4 of them then exited the vehicle and I felt the blood rush back into my legs. At the same time a seemingly schizophrenic man approached the car and began to angrily help the woman put the corn sacks on her head. Once that was done he shoved Ben out of the way and slammed the back door shut, yelling the whole time. He reached up to close the top hatch as well, but stopped halfway to karate chop the car several times. He continued to yell until we drove away.

We got back to the Howells’ and hung out for a while before the boys came over with Maggie & Jane. Rachel & Alan went to hang out with Chad & Amy while we watched the kids. By watched the kids I mean we watched 4 separate My Little Pony movies.

Around 8:00 Rachel & Alan got back and we all went to bed pretty early, hoping we would get the pony theme song out of our heads.

Saturday June 29, 2013

I was wide awake around 5:45. Around 5:46 it hit me that it’s my last day in Montepuez. I got up at 6:00 to start getting ready even though I didn’t need to wake up for another hour. When I finally made it out of our room the first thing I heard was Phillip Phillips singing, “I’m gonna make this place your home.” Everything is more sentimental on a last day.

I journaled for a while before we had breakfast and then we headed back to Madalena’s to make bajias, or fried bean flour patties. We shelled, pounded, mashed, and fried the delicious morsels for hours until we had them coming out our ears. Most of the time I was playing with kids, they were hanging all over me, doing my hair, and teaching me more Makua.

Around 1:30 we finally left, came back for lunch, then Rachel took us to the market – without the boys, who have a tendency to be a little over protective. We each bought several kapalanas and one kapalana salesman volunteered to be my Makua teacher when I returned (in exchange for being his wife, which is fair).

After the market the 5 of us went to visit our friend Habiba in the hospital. I think most Americans would rather die than go to this hospital. As we walked through the dark and dingy hallway Rachel told us that she had driven her truck down the hallway more than once, usually carrying women in labor. We walked into the maternity ward to find Habiba  because she is a few weeks pregnant and anyone who is sick and pregnant is treated in the maternity ward. The room we went in had about 10 twin-sized rolling hospital beds, each occupied by 2 pregnant women. As Rachel talked to Habiba I couldn’t help but look around and see all of the sick women infecting their bedmates and babies, backdropped by mysterious stains all over the walls. Though we thought she had malaria, Habiba was suffering from extreme anemia and would need a blood transfusion. I couldn’t stand the thought of this young pregnant woman getting a blood transfusion in this hospital in this HIV-ridden area. We prayed with her and then went home, stopping to get drinks on the way.

When we got back Cara and I unsuccessfully attempted to play soccer with Domingos’s kids and then we said our last goodbyes. I tried really hard not to be emotional.

We went back for dinner and spent the rest of the night packing, working on survey projects, and looking at pictures.

Sunday June 30, 2013

This morning I got up and heard Jack Johnson’s “Better Together,” so sentimentality was still out in full force. We finished packing, I finished my map, we loaded up the trucks, and headed to Pemba. I rode with Chad, who always needs to stop a lot, so I got to see Montepuez just a little longer. I saw the markets, the houses, and the people go by one last time.

Bailey, Jane, & I sat in the backseat on the way there. Jane played with puzzles and slept in my lap as I watched Mozambique fly past. Then we got to Pemba, which was a little different than I remembered it. The dusty, run-down city I had landed in had become an incredible beach resort town. We pulled up to the beachside restaurant where we would be eating. It was not at all what I expected. We were seated by a man speaking English at a table with a view of both the television and the Indian Ocean. I got up to go to the Western bathroom, but it was enhanced with such advanced technology that I couldn’t figure out how to use it. I went back to the table to look over the enormous menu filled with seafood, Indian & Chinese cuisine, hamburgers, and butter sandwiches. I ordered my chicken curry with egg, naan bread, & Indian tea, and then walked down to the beach with Ben & Bailey. We stood in the sand looking along the white coast and out at the sailboats filled with fisherman casting nets, in awe of where we were.

I returned to my seat by the Indian Ocean and drank my Indian tea with my Indian food as I contemplated globalization in the presence of tons of other white, Indian, and African people under the room of this coastal Mozambican cafe. The food was so good. I wish I could have eaten it all.

After lunch we headed to the Nzuwa Lodge. We were there within a few minutes, not counting the 30 minutes we spent at a traffic stop waiting for the bribe-hungry police to find something to charge us for (and one policeman was the same man who stopped us on our way back from Tanzania – still wondering about which of us would marry him). Nzuwa is beautiful. We’re in an open-air bungalow on the top level overlooking the beach.

Within a few minutes we all had our bathing suits on and were heading down to the beach. There were maybe 5 other people there as far as I could see in either direction. We tried to wade out, but the tide was pretty low and we never quite reached waist deep. We stayed for a few hours and then headed back for showers, worship, and dinner. It felt like 5 minutes later both families were on our roof/porch and we had gotten only 2 girls in the shower, so Celeste and I had to jump in with our bathing suits to try to speed things up. We got outside a little after worship started. We sang for a while, Alan spoke, we took communion, and we prayed before heading down to dinner.

We had the dining area all to ourselves. We ate burritos, rice, and homemade guacamole with great joy. After dinner the parents put their kids to sleep and the interns played “Never Have I Ever.” After everyone was in bed the missionaries returned to play reverse charades and eat the chocolate Rachel had brought us. After a long and difficult game of charades the interns walked down to the beach. We chased crabs away for quite some time before coming back to hang out on the roof. After a while of listening to “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” and contemplating the great question, “Am I a Muppet or a Man?” we all went to bed in our gigantic beds.

Monday July 1, 2013

Last night I had an extraordinarily violent malaria prophylaxis-induced dream. That I will not miss.

I was pleasantly woken by the sunrise around 5:20. We all got up to watch it come up over the ocean. I stayed awake by myself and sat out on the porch and read Hebrews and journaled. At 7:30 we went and got a delicious breakfast, then headed out to the beach for high tide. We played, swam, read, and chatted for hours. And our skin showed it. We all walked back to lunch fried. I had burns in blocks along the side of my arms and legs, red as lobsters.

For lunch we had a long-awaited delicacy – hamburgers. After that I went to find some trees so I could hang up my hammock. I threw the black strap around the tree, attempting to get it through the brush, holding the hammock by the carabiner in my teeth as the wind wrapped the hammock around me. It was quite hilarious.

I stayed in my hammock for a couple hours, most reading and sometimes napping. Celeste joined me for a little bit to talk about how much we’re going to miss this place and what we’ve been doing here.

At 5:00 we did internship evaluation with Alan and no one could think of anything we wanted to change. We would have liked to have mudded a house and camped out in a village, but other than that we couldn’t think of anything that would have made these last 6 weeks more impacting or effective.

After the meeting I sat at the table with Chad and Alan to eat a mysterious dinner. I’m not sure what it was exactly. I listened to Chad and Alan talk about their day, their theology, and their puns. We enjoyed some coffee and then headed out to a bonfire. Everyone’s bright red skin reflected in the fire light. The lady who runs the lodge cut a ton of aloe for us to cover our bodies in and sent us with a giant bucket of iced tea, which apparently helps. We sang for a while and then put the kids to bed before the annual “blessing ceremony.”

We sat around the fire as each missionary spoke to us individually and gave us a word of encouragement. They started with me. Alan said his most powerful memory of me was standing together in front of Domingos’s church teaching an obscure lesson from Ezekiel. He remembered struggling to translate the extended portion concerning the fiery chariot and jewels being carried by enormous heavenly creatures. He remembered also crossing that bridge and being stopped again because the congregation was being deeply impacted by the message because that’s exactly where they were at the moment. He said I was extremely intelligent and that God blessed me with much understanding that I can use to bring people to Christ.

Having Alan say that I am intelligent and am able to reach people with it is a high compliment coming from one of the most brilliant and personable people I know. Alan is so smart and he sees things in life or in a text that no one else notices. He speaks to people, both American and Makua, in a way they can easily understand and see into the deeper insight. He is filled with honesty, incredible patience, fatherly example, humor, and the Holy Spirit.

Rachel said she loves hanging out with me, in both fun and serious times. She told me that she sees gifts in me that are both powerful and difficult because they can do much good but these gifts are sometimes neglected or turned away because they may go against the norm.

Rachel is so much of what I want to be in a missionary, a mother, a wife, and a disciple of Christ. She exudes love and joy, and in the villages she pours out compassion, insight, and a desire to share the gospel of Christ with anyone desiring to hear it. She teaches her daughters to be godly through constant teaching and example. She is filled with honesty, talent, passion, vision, and unquenchable desire to hear God in her life. As I go on to listen to God’s voice I hope I become more like Rachel from the way she dances with ladies in the village to the way she prays in a crowded hospital room.

Amy said she saw in me a shepherding spirit, a gentle leader with a heart for the down and out. She said that people seeking God’s love are attracted to me and that I delight in these people as God delights in his children. And earlier on the beach she randomly asked me how I felt about the desert because she thinks I look like the kind of person who would just travel around with nomads, so that was confirmation enough for me.

I have so much respect for Amy. I don’t know if I could do what she does. I don’t know if I could let God take me so far and then let him change all the plans. I don’t know if I could continue to trust God as much as she does after all my man-made dreams failed. She is easy to talk to, filled with wisdom and honesty, has a listening ear, carries herself in peace, seeks the best in others and for others, has incredible passion for things that bring joy both to her and God, overcomes jealousy and depression, and puts awesome faith in God to get through each and every day.

Chad was last. He said I was a great storyteller and tat I could always make him laugh. He said that I put people at ease and there isn’t a time when people feel threatened or pressured by me. He says i am very good at meeting people where they are and leading them to the love of Christ. He said I attract people who are rejected and in pain, and oftentimes creepers, because they don’t feel that I’m judging them. He said that I can easily connect with people and develop deeper relationships through my openness to them and to God.

I feel like I have spent the whole 6 weeks trying to impress Chad because I find him so oddly impressive. He can laugh at anything and doesn’t seem to be phased by anything. He is a great father from the way that he talks to Maggie and Jane to the way that he constructs elaborate Lego castles with them to the way that he does Portuguese devotionals with them every night. And Amy says he has a spiritual gift for quickly bathing Maggie and Jane. he can commit all his focus to one thing – especially his quiet time studying in which he can miraculously defy all interruption. He is devoted to the people with whom he works and sees potential in everyone. He goes back to the same struggling villages over and over again because he has faith that God will give the increase through his diligence and encouragement. Chad supports Amy, the girls, and the team with strength. He has passion and lofty goals that he puts into God’s hands.

After everyone was done I stood next to the fire and everyone prayed for me, followed by Chad’s ukulele interlude to the next person. We went around the circle and then each missionary shared some thoughts about the team, and then we each shared some thoughts about them. We ate some chocolate as the fire died down and then we headed back to the room.

Amy came up to the room and the 2 of us sat on the porch and looked at the stars. We talked about theater, private schooling, relationships, missionary life, and the ambiguity of constellations before we both headed off to bed.

Tuesday July 2, 2013

I can’t believe this is my last full day here.

Once again I got up with the sunrise and did some journaling on the porch, wrapped in my kapalana, which shielded me from the evil sun’s rays further scorching my fried skin. Breakfast was at 7:30 and the muffins were delicious. We hung around for a while, enjoying doing nothing and then we headed out to the beach. The water was freezing, but it was the one thing that didn’t make my skin feel like it was falling off. I swam for a while before going to lay with everyone on the beach. I wrapped myself in a kapalana cocoon, completely shielded from the sun. After a while I went back up to the room and changed clothes before lunch.

we all got to the dining porch 30 minutes early, so I slept in the hammock until the food was ready. I had squid. It was chewy.

After lunch Alan took us into the city to go souvenir shopping. I spent the last of my mets on a wall hanging and a wooden jar. Once we got back we quickly changed clothes and went kayaking in the ocean until the sun set. After kayaking we changed clothes again and headed to our last supper (schnitzel). After dinner the girls went to bed while we all gathered around the table to play one last round of Up the River, Down the River.

The missionaries went to bed pretty early, except for Chad whom I am convinced doesn’t actually sleep. The interns headed down to the beach. We were going to pray there until we realized our mutual fear of being eaten by all the crabs, so we just had some quiet time there and headed back to the rooftop to pray. Each of us prayed long prayers, thanking God for bringing us here, asking him to be with us in the transition back home, and entrusting each other to his will.

Mozambique has taught me to communicate with God in a totally different way by taking the role of a listener. We will never be in tune with God’s desires – our truest desires – if we are only talking about our wants and wishes and never listening to him speak directly into our lives. Maybe it’s through Scripture, another person, my conscience, or some other medium, God is constantly speaking truth into my life and it is this truth that sets me free.

We said goodbye to the boys, hand-hugging to avoid further irritating any sunburns, and went inside to pack for about 30 minutes.

After we decided that everyone was asleep we put on our kapalanas and walked down to the beach, trying to ensure that no one, especially not the guard, saw us. We walked down the coast a little before we decided it was a good spot. Originally we had planned on skinny dipping, but with the masses of fiddler crabs everywhere, we decided naked crab chasing was a safer option. We chased them quite a ways and then decided it was time to go back. As we were walking back some of the guard dogs must have seen us, because they came barreling toward us, barking mad. A moment later I discovered all 3 of the girls behind me screaming and 8 glowing green eyes in front of me. Once we had clearly revealed our unthreatening nature the dogs stopped where they were and I convinced the group to keep walking onto the property, even though we weren’t exactly sure where we were. This happened 2 more times on the way back to the room, each time less fearful than the last.

We finally got back to the room, took showers, and finished packing before we hesitantly laid down for our last night in Mozambique.

Wednesday July 3, 2013

Once again I woke up early and journaled until it was time to go off to our last breakfast. My bed was a cold pile of dirty clothes and sand. I got ready and headed down to the dining area, already dreading the departure to come.

We ate together and went back to the room to finish packing and weigh luggage. Once everything was ready we brought our bags down and loaded up the trucks. Celeste and I climbed into the Westerholms’ truck and we headed out into the city to do some grocery shopping. Around 11:00 we got to Wilson’s, a mostly seafood restaurant that overlooks the bay. They brought me a tray of paella – it was so. much. paella. I ate my share and so did everyone else. Then it came time to drive to the airport.

We parked outside the tent and unloaded our bags. I held Jane and told her that I would miss her and she said, “Oh, no – we’ll remember each other forever and you’ll send me lots of messages.” Next I hugged Maggie who said she couldn’t wait to see me next year on furlough. Ellie told me she loved me and would come see me when they come to Nashville. Abby told me she couldn’t wait until she was 11, because that means she’ll be on furlough in Nashville and she can stay at my house. Then I hugged Amy. I think hugging is Amy’s spiritual gift. That was the first time I got emotional – but I was determined not to cry. Then I hugged Alan and Rachel, who also said they couldn’t wait to see me in 2 summers. What immediately followed was the second time I almost cried. Katie came running around a truck with her arms out, ready to hug me. “Jessica! I love you and I can’t wait to see you on furlough!” She is truly the most adorable 3-year-old I have ever known. I hugged everyone one more time and then Chad prayed for us before he and Alan walked us into the airport/tent.

The departure side of the tent was completely different from the entry side. While the walls of the entry side were flailing about in the wind around the 2 people standing at a podium marked “Immigration,” the departure side had fancy technology, a concession stand, bathrooms, television, TV, a gift shop, and resembled a stable structure. We turned in our immigration cards and waved our last goodbyes to Chad & Alan before we went to sit. We looked through pictures and remembered good times – and were glad we weren’t doing village visits on this extremely hot day.

We boarded the plane early and left before the assigned boarding time – apparently flying is the one thing Africans do early, which is pretty inconvenient for a people renowned for being late.

Celeste and I sat next to each other with Ben to our left and the other 3 in the row behind us. The food was especially gross today. We passed around chocolate and wrote each other notes on the motion sickness bags to pass the time. I’m desperately trying to stay awake on this flight in hopes that I’ll sleep some from Jo-burg to NYC.

We got to Jo-burg easily and spent quite a bit of time in the world-famous “Out of Africa” gift shop where we picked up some less than authentic souvenirs. We grabbed some food and then headed for our last gate in Africa. We boarded the plane shortly after I spoke to the most beautiful South African Prince Harry-like man I have ever seen in real life while crawling on the terminal floor to retrieve a piece of gum that Bailey had accidentally thrown at him.

For the next 16 hours I sought sleep and entertainment. I’d say half the time was spent falling in & out of sleep while listening to Bob Marley’s Legend or Mumford & Son’s Babel, and the other half watching random movies. The flight didn’t seem too terribly long, but it was once again dark the entire time. We had an array of no-so-delicious food, including chicken curry (why would you serve curry on a plane?), chicken sandwiches (saturated in an awful mystery sauce), and “french toast.” Alas, we landed safely at JFK, quickly made it through customs, and loaded onto our shuttle at Newark. Instead of the terrifying Cashmere, today’s driver was a large old Jamaican man. Once we got to Newark we went into the main terminal for lunch and dispersed one by one as our departure times came. We sat in front of Qdoba for hours, watching people go by decked out in patriotic garb.

Eventually Cara, Katie, & I headed to our gate and got on our last plane. I was so thirsty and highly anticipating the drink cart, but I was so exhausted that I slept through it. I woke up thirsty, angry that I had missed the cart, but excited by the fact that we were about to land. I gathered up my things and prepared for landing.

We got off the plane and walked through the airport where I was greeted by my parents and grandparents, who helped me get all my bags and then took me to Cracker Barrel, where I ate an egg sandwich.

It had been about 48 hours when I got back to my house on the other side of the world. I unloaded my stuff, sat on the couch, and then fell asleep for the night, there on the couch, around 6:30.

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