[Disclaimer: I wrote this while waiting to board our last flight for our Twelve Countries trip (we’ll be purchasing a car to explore the USA as our twelfth and last country, starting March 1st).]

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It’s crazy to think that in just a few short hours we will set foot on US ground. We will be greeted by family at the airport. We will be in their company for a while. It feels so good to be heading home.

Yesterday at this time we had no idea that we would be on our way home today. So many things happened in such a short time yesterday and we found ourselves completely packed and on the last bus to San Jose, Costa Rica before the reality set in. I was a little wary with the decision at first, but Scott was sure, so I trusted him. Everything fell into place so easily (when it really shouldn’t have) and that’s when I knew we were making the right decision.

It isn’t easy leaving something behind before it’s finished, but we’re on to bigger and better things.

And can I be honest? I’m so glad that this is the last flight we’ll be taking for a while! Airports are not my friend any more.

We had a few minutes to spare before we boarded the plane so Scott walked around with Carter to get his energy out.  I was sitting at the computer and all of a sudden I heard a very loud chatter (knowing quite well that it was Carter) and turned to see this!  Scott and Carter talking on the pay phones to each other haha.  Several people stopped and took pictures!

We had a few minutes to spare before we boarded the plane so Scott walked around with Carter to get his energy out. I was sitting at the computer and all of a sudden I heard a very loud chatter (knowing quite well that it was Carter) and turned to see this! Scott and Carter talking on the pay phones to each other haha. Several people stopped and took pictures!

 

We’ve been back in the US for a week now and it has been a mixture of the saddest but happiest, hardest but easiest, longest but shortest week of our trip.  As you can tell we’ve had quite the variety of emotions.  It was very overwhelming being back in the US, mainly because we have been constantly surrounded by family (which has been awesome), but we’re just not used to it.  Usually when we arrive in a country, we don’t know anyone.  We rely on just the three of us for about a week until we get accustomed to our new place and start making friends.

When we arrived in Texas, my dad was there to pick us up at the airport. We drove home and were greeted by several other family members, making for a well-needed reunion.  It’s thrown off our “groove” a lot this last week haha and we’re just soaking in family time as much as possible.

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Carter with his cousin that is closest in age to him. And the best part is that they live only 15 minutes away!

We’re trying to get organized and situated here in Texas—our stuff is still all over the place.  March 1st will be the official start to our twelfth and final country; we’ll be exploring some of what the US has to offer in Texas and en route to Utah. Within in the next few weeks we’ll be buying a car and we’ll start planning the road trip out West.  Until then, we are in Texas laying low.

Some of you might be wondering why we’ve been experiencing such mixed emotions this last week, so I’ll just share a few thoughts of mine that I’ve been periodically jotting down.

At Chick-fil-a, the first fast food stop we made since arriving:

  • I don’t have to order in Spanish, though that does make me a little sad.
  • Unlimited drinks! Wow!
  • The food is so cheap here, even for a more upscale fast food place. (Is that an oxymoron?)
  • Unlimited condiments!  I can have as many barbecue packets as I want.  I’ll take 5 please!

Sitting in church on our first Sunday back in Texas (we had been in the US for about 24 hours by this point):

  • I feel like an ordinary person that’s always been here, never having left. I try to fit in, hoping that no one notices that I’m “new” again. I dress how they dress and I’ve even put in a little blush and curled my hair—things I haven’t done in over a year.  I try to go unnoticed, to fit in. But the minute I put on the baby carrier, I feel like it gives me away. I feel like no matter how hard I try, I stand out, I’m recognized.  But mostly I recognize myself.

Doing laundry for the first time since returning:

  • Usually when I’ve done laundry it has been a very thought-out process.  I’ve had to pay attention to the weather and know when there will be enough sun and heat to dry our things within the day.  When I’ve had to hand wash the clothes I had to schedule it out with Scott so he could watch Carter.  I would scrub, rinse, and ring out all our clothes early in the morning to make sure they got the most sun.  The process took about an hour.Today was different.  When I did my laundry today, I put it in the washer and waited while the machine did all the work. I was able to eat breakfast and clean up and I spent time with my family. When the washer was done, I put everything in the dryer and went on a walk with some family and my dog. The clothes were done in the dryer in a little over an hour. I’m now wearing several pieces of clothing that were dirty earlier this morning. That hasn’t happened in a year.

Going shopping and running errands with my mom and grandma:

  • There are so many cars here.  That is how this place operates.  I’ve relied on and utilized public transportation for a year, but now I just step out of the house and into a car.  I can go anywhere I want and I’ll get as close as a parking spot will let me to a store.  No more walking several blocks to get to the bus stop or having to transfer buses to get to the final destination.

 

It’s weird being home, but it’s good being home.  We love being around family!  We’re looking forward to taking on the US for our last country, and we hope you are too!  We’ve got some exciting things coming up next month so we hope you’ll stick around, because we’re not done yet.  Not at all.