I wasn't usually happy in Nigeria. I had a hard time at the school, I never felt like I fit in at a church, and it's just a generally difficult place to live your first time out of the country (I've been told by my Nigerian friends here in China that my city was one of the hardest as well - don't know how true that is).
Even though my experience wasn't what I was hoping it would be, I still really learned a lot. And I still miss it terribly. I am thinking today of my old students, my old coworkers, my old Book study - and I wish I could see them again. I wish I could have some good Naija food and a trip to the market (even though it smells). I wish I could go to the Lebanese church to have some shawarma, and then enjoy an evening hearing the music blaring obnoxiously from a sound system somewhere in the neighborhood. I wish I could sit with my South African friends and talk about rugby.
I know that I was not supposed to be there any longer, and I am REALLY happy to be here (SO much peace about that). But now, instead of having just one home to miss, I have two.
I've shared before, via other mediums, a quote from "Into the Woods" (a great musical which I will be starring in this coming May). Jack has just climbed down from the beanstalk and he's reflecting on the experience. He says, "And you think of all of the things you've seen and you wish that you could live in between . . ." Preach.
For those of you who have lived in two or more places (even in the same country), you know what I'm talking about. It's that pull in multiple directions. It's the knowledge that you are losing something by being where you are. It's the understanding that things will never be exactly the way you want on this side of death.
But one day - soon - all the best things of this world and far more will be revealed together. A second, eternal Christmas will bring the eternal Emmanuel.
Though it will be difficult, I can certainly wait until that day to be with all those I miss.