Friday, December 20, 2013


A word that has become more difficult for me to describe in recent years. Is my home in Chardon where I was born and raised? Is home in Ashland where I set out on my own for the first time? Is home in Rio de Janeiro where I officially realized my calling in life? Is home here in Siguatepeque where my life has been changed within the walls of my Grade One and Two classroom?

I honestly don't know.

To me, each one of these places is home. Each one of these places holds a very real piece of my heart. Without each one of these places, I wouldn't be the person who I am today. Longevity has nothing to do with it-- I spent 18 years in Chardon and only 3 months in Brazil.

Every day my heart longs to be home. To be in Chardon, to be in Ashland, to be in Rio, to be in Sigua. Every day I feel like a piece of me is missing. Like I'm not completely whole. The unfortunate truth is that since my heart has made it's home in so many places, it never feels whole.

Going home is always a tricky blend of happiness and heartache. Joy to be seeing the people that have always meant the world to me (and joy to be eating Taco Bell again, if I'm being completely honest), but sadness to be leaving the people who have become regulars in my daily life.

While I don't particularly love always feeling like a piece of my heart is missing, I cannot help but know that this means I have been more abundantly blessed than I could have ever believed possible. I've loved people in many places, I have so many people and places that are hard to say good-bye to. And for that, I am grateful.

I'm going home tomorrow. While doing so, I'm leaving another home behind, but I'm coming home tomorrow.

Sunday, December 8, 2013


thank·ful [thangk-fuhl] adjective 
feeling or expressing gratitude; appreciative. 

Sometimes I get in really cranky, wallowing in self-pity moods and think of all of the things I've had to give up to be here. I play the victim, portray myself as such a good person who sacrifices so much for others. But let's be honest here for a second, I'm not. And I haven't.

We spent a lot of time in Grade One and Two talking about all of the things that we are thankful for. Which really reminded me of all of the blessings that came into my life the second that I stepped off the plane over a year ago.

Starting here, with Grade Two and all their crazy adventures.

Continuing here with my twenty-four blessings in Grade One.

And ending here with all of the people who have enriched my life inside and outside of the classroom. 

Being here is hard. There are things that I have given up to live here. But what I have gained has more than made up for the things that I have left behind. My life is more abundantly blessed because of all the people who have walked into it throughout the past two years.

On a more lighthearted note, Cristian and I gave our students the real American Thanksgiving experience by playing a little football on Thursday afternoon. It involved a lot of shrieking, a lot of  "hey, run that way!", and a lot of laughter. None of us may be headed to the NFL, but there's always next year.

Karen and I could never seem to decide if we wanted to high five or fist bump and accidentally ended up combining the two. All while saying "gobble, gobble". In true Thanksgiving tradition, we gobble gobbled all day long.

I am so thankful. I am so blessed.