Time is Ticking

This week has certainly been a whirlwind. Last Saturday, we hosted the last team meeting to be held in our home. Last Sunday we hosted one of our last house church meetings to be at our home. Jeremy and Katie Daggett arrived on Wednesday morning (YAY!!!), and they are our last house guests before my parents arrive for the final move. Saturday evening, I hosted the last women’s meeting to be held in my home. Do you hear that word? Last, last, last.

First of all, we are thrilled that Team Arequipa 2.0 is almost all here (the last family is flying to Peru AS I TYPE THIS). This is something we have been waiting for a long time to see, and it is so surreal to finally be happening. We were absolutely stoked to host the Daggetts when they came in this past week. They are supported by the same sending church as our team which makes the connection pretty special.

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our posters for greeting the Daggetts into the guest room (aka Cohen’s room)
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our posters for greeting the Daggetts into the guest room (aka Cohen’s room)

Yesterday, Sunday afternoon, I went to town on packing. You see, we are about to take our last “trip” to the states. My little brother gets married on Saturday, and we are blessed to be able to go back and take part in the celebration. But the return flight to Peru will be the last for a long while. Each family member gets to take 2 suitcases on this trip so I have gone to town on trying to get our family’s cherished belongings packed up. This trip will be no exception. We will go to the states with 10 full cases, and we will return to Peru with just about nothing in them (except for maybe some Thanksgiving ingredients). 😉

I know I am not alone in this, but a house doesn’t feel like a home until the pictures are put on the walls. Well, since yesterday, I took some major steps to making this house feel less homey.

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our posters for greeting the Daggetts into the guest room (aka Cohen’s room)

But I have also come to learn, that “homey” for me is associated with memories. And boy have we made some memories in this place. I love this decoration that we made at a celebration Sunday a couple of years ago. Those little hands have grown since then.

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And even though the walls make our home seem so strange because they are now bare, the kitchen is still the heart of our home. I haven’t cleaned out in there, and it is where hospitality happens. Many meals have been prepared for friends and strangers in that kitchen over the years. It will be a weird feeling when I have to pack the kitchen up.

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I feel like we are definitely heading into a new chapter. I can remember taking pictures of our family of three to be framed for our new Peruvian home when we moved here six years ago. Now they are stacked in a pile, and I am waiting to see if there is room to pack all of them to return to our next home in the US.

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The bags are almost all packed. Greg has separated all of his library into 50 pound groupings. It is hard to believe that we will be traveling over a continent with our life in suitcases. But the memories have certainly been made, and time keeps ticking. I will be a big ole bag of emotions when we come back as I deal with the final leg of our lives here, but I am so very thankful to have had this chapter in Peru as part of our journey. We are overwhelmingly blessed.

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This is the first Christmas present that our sweet teammates gave us in our time here in AQP. It is a sillar (volcanic rock) clock. It still hangs on the wall, but it will be making that final trip with us when we leave in January. I don’t know where we will be living this time next year, but I am certain that this clock will be hanging on the wall, and time will keep ticking…

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Time is Ticking

Winter Is Coming

Brace-yourself-Winter

Sorry if you clicked this link hoping to read something about GoT. 🙂 But it is catchy, isn’t it?

I always post something around March/April about “the whirlwind.” It is usually a post about the visitors that we have passing through. This year was no different with my brother and nephew for 2 weeks followed by interns for 8. That is TEN weeks of hosting, people! We love having people in our home, but even this extrovert needs her routine back with just the McKinzie Five. This year, the interns left right before a four-day weekend (Peru’s Independence Day and the day after are holidays). We have a tendency to work through Peruvian holidays b/c we aren’t Peruvian and work through US holidays b/c we aren’t in the US, but this year… ohhhh, how we enjoyed the four-day weekend as a family. I thank God for sabbath and for times where we can recover from work to reflect on his glory and spend time with our closest loved ones.

Well, the official whirlwind is picking up speed. That would be the whirlwind leading up to our departure date from Peru… for the long-term. It became very real the other day when we sold two of our pieces of furniture to teammates in order to clear out our “guest room.” Do you know how many guests have stayed in that room in the time we have lived in this part of the city! We sold our bunk beds. That means no more interns. How can that be?

I will be reflecting a lot through our blog in the coming months. To tell you the truth, I am avoiding processing the departure date. It makes me cry if I take the time to think about it. Here is our plan in a nutshell:

The winter is coming, because we will be moving back to the US in the dead of winter. Before then,

1. We go back to the states in October to attend my little brother’s wedding. (Obviously, it wasn’t ideal to take a trip so close to our leave-date, but I am excited to have two trips of suitcases to get all of Greg’s books home!) We will also be attending the Global Missions Conference outside of Memphis to speak on behalf of CUDA and attend classes.

2. I am slowly, but more rapidly cleaning out all of our stuff. I hope to have all of the kids clothes and toys ready to take with us in October. Only the most important things will go. It is freeing to not hold on to a bunch of “stuff.”

3. We plan to sell the majority of our things. This means figuring out prices and how long we can go without them (obviously, we will sell the majority closer to when we leave).

4. My parents are coming in mid-December to spend Xmas with us. What a weird Christmas it will be, but I am beyond excited to show someone from our families the spectacular firework display of the city at midnight on Christmas Eve.

5. This one brings me to tears if I dwell on it: My parents will take the three kids back home with them the end of December. We plan to initially move back in with my parents on our return. I have tried to envision Greg and me saying goodbye to the kids at the AQP airport KNOWING that they are leaving “home.” How weird that they are leaving AQP and leaving their parents all at the same time. The kids are beyond excited to go to “the farm,” but they are looking at it as they would any other furlough. Ana has made reference to how she will miss Peru. I am still curious to see how all of this transition will affect the three kids, mainly Ana.

6. Greg and I will remain in AQP to sell the rest of our stuff. We also are having a retreat with Bill and Holly Richardson (our team mentors), all the new missionaries, and the church to discuss the future of the work here.

7. Greg and I will fly back to my parents’ home (with as many suitcases as we can carry).

8. I will look like a complete mess in the airports from all the crying that will take place.

I knew this post would come. Tomorrow marks August 1. Unbelievable. I am excited for the next chapter in our lives, but don’t be surprised, friends from our US home, when I am not overly joyous in reacting to, “Aren’t you so glad to be home?!”

I am learning the lesson that “home” is not just where I spent my childhood. Arequipa is definitely one of my “homes.” We will be leaving a huge piece of our hearts here. You tend to fall in love with people after knowing them for 6+ years. You tend to fall in love with a place when two of your children were born there, and all three know that place as their childhood home. We are so blessed by our time here. We have been so enriched by the relationships, the culture, the firsts, the anniversaries, all the memories our little family has made in this place. And though I don’t want to think about the final days or sending our three littles away from their home, all that they have known these six years, I am going to try and savor every single moment we have left here. You think I take too many photos? You ain’t seen nothin’ yet!

So, again, when you ask if I am so happy to be home in January, please understand that missionaries in re-entry to their host countries go through a grief period. It will be a huge transition for us. We are so blessed to come home to our family and friends that have supported us in ways that are beyond beautiful. But I just might cry a lot that first month we are home. So beware. 😉

So here’s to five full months left in this chapter. Brace yourself.

 

Winter Is Coming