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Sunday, December 16, 2012

There Is No Reason...

I have always had the view in my mind that everything in life happens for a reason.  Over this weekend, I realized what a child like view of the world that truly is.  I was taking that idea on as a person who has never( and still has never) experienced true tragedy in my own life.  Like so many other people around the globe right now and for the weeks to come, I am completely shaken to the core by what happened in Newtown, Connecticut on Friday. December 14, 2012.  I can't get the thought out of my mind that 20 innocent first graders( the same age as my own son) and their teachers and principal were brutally gunned down without any warning and apparently any reason. 

I think the scariest part of it all for me is that the school and teachers did everything they were supposed to do and this horrific tragedy happened anyway.  This tragedy could have happened anywhere.  As I sat and watched the news reports over and over this weekend (without my children watching them with me), I think I was hoping that the more I watched what happened and heard about what happened that I would somehow be able to make sense out of it and be able to know a reason...there has to be a reason so many innocent spirits were taken from this world so violently.  I kept and still keep wondering what the those final moments must have been like.  Did the teachers even realize what was happening when the shots were fired?  Did the children understand what was happening....did they know what was coming...or maybe they didn't see it at all??? 

There have been so many senseless tragedies which have happened in my lifetime and I am sure that unfortunately they will keep happening.  There is no senseless death which is more important than the other, but I think that perhaps this tragedy strikes me very deeply for two different reasons.  First of all, my son could have been one of those first graders and secondly, I was a teacher and I completely understand how much those teachers must have loved their students. 

I have prayed to God to comfort the spirits of the teachers and children who are in heaven with him now, and I find comfort in knowing that they will never know pain or fear again.  But, through these prayers, I think He also quietly placed an answer in my heart.  When I woke up this morning and saw a father of one of the small girls talking about his grief, it hit me.  There is not a reason for everything that happens in our lives.  How could there possibly be a reason that this has happened?  I cannot imagine being one of the parents of one of these small children and someone telling me that there was a reason for this.  God does not have a specific plan for all of us.  He is a good Father who instills in us His love and His peace , but he gives us the free will to do with it as we see fit.  That is why there is still evil in this world.  God is not a brain washer and he is not going to chase us around with a cross and make us listen to him.  He is quiet; He is loving; and He is always around us, but we have to know who, what and where he is when we see it.  Sometimes, he is staring us straight in the face and we don't even see it.  It could be in your child's face when he asks you to play a game with him and you are too tired so you don't.  It could be the man on the side of the road begging for money, and you turn your face away to pretend you don't see him.

I now believe that things don't really happen for a reason and the only plan God really has for us is to one day make it back Home to Him in Heaven.   He is always there and we have to know where to look for him and truly see Him. He has given us the tools of Faith, Kindness and Love to use in our lives and to spread to the lives of those around us.  It is up to us what we do with them. When tragedies like this happen, people many times say," How could God let this happen?  Where was he when this was happening?"  I really believe that he did not LET this happen.  The person who decided to do this terrible thing chose not to see Him, and completely turned away, and God is not the Father who will force anyone to follow him.  I strongly believe that God was there with the teachers and students when this was happening, and he was ready for them to come Home to Him. I pray that the children saw God in the faces of their teachers and that the teachers saw God in the faces of their students before they left this world.  His plan for them was realized in that instant because those 26 people returned home to Heaven to be with Him forever.

I don't know of anything good that can come from such a horrific tragedy, and I cannot seem to keep the tears from welling up in my eyes as I think of those children and teachers. I know that this instance is very rare from what all the reports are saying, but it doesn't make it any easier to hear.  I am praying for all of the families of the children and teachers who lost their lives on Friday and I am also praying for the family of the gunman...I know they did not ask or want this to happen. 

Guy and I have told both our children about Jesus and God and their love for all of us.  They know ( in our faith) that if they believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that he died on the Cross for our sins that they will go to Heaven.  We have prayed with them.  One more thing we will tell them tonight is that when they are at school, their teachers are us, their parents.  They need to listen to their teachers at all times, and they need to know that their teachers care for them very much.  I pray to God that this tragedy never happens to my own children, but if it ever does, I want them to know that they are with someone who cares very much for them when I am not with them, and when they are scared, they need to pray.

I am ending this post with the realization that "Everything happens for a reason." is simply not true in my mind anymore.  But, I do know that God's plan is for us to love one another, be there for each other in times of pain, sorrow and joyfulness, and ultimately, to make it back home to Him.  I cannot get the thought of the terror in the minds of the children and teachers out of my mind, but I do take comfort in knowing He was there for them to welcome them Home again.

Monday, November 26, 2012


My 36th Thanksgiving has come and gone and like many other people around the U.S., I have spent some time thinking about all the things I am thankful for.  These past few months of adjusting to life back in "the world" have been a little rough, a little fun, but most of all, I have really been able to look inside myself and I have learned a little bit more about myself.

I am thankful for Guy because without him, I would not have had all the experiences over the last 14 years of our life together.  I don't think anyone else on this earth could handle being my husband.:)  He knows all my different moods and feelings and he still loves me anyway.:)  And, I love him more than he'll ever know.:)

I am so very thankful for my children, Lizzy and Jeremy.  There was a time in my life I thought they would never exist.  I remember I would lay in bed at night and pray to God to send me a tiny spirit to be my child.  I had read in a book somewhere that the prayers of a mother are heard above all others and I thought, what the heck?  Maybe the prayers of a future mother could hold some water, too.  And in time, Jeremy drifted into our lives and we were forever changed from the moment I received the phone call he was born in Guatemala.  My prayers were answered.:)  Then, two years later, when I wasn't even looking, our second child drifted quietly, yet surprisingly into our lives and she completed our family.  Though there are many days of whining( from them and me), I always remember how blessed and fortunate I am to be their mother.:)

I am thankful for my parents. I am extremely close with them and they have shown me how important family is.   My Mom and Dad have really had a struggle over the last ten years with my mom's health, but she has pulled through her most recent surgery in October and she is really doing great, and I even got to sneak up to Illinois this weekend to see her.  I am so proud of my Mom for getting through this and I am so excited for both she and my Dad to fly out to California at Christmas to meet their third grand child for the very first time!:)

I am thankful for my brothers.  Being the oldest and the only girl in my family, I didn't realize growing up what great guys they are.  But, now, I look at them and can't believe they are all grown up. One a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy and the other one a brand new dad.:)  I love you guys!!:) I am so proud of you both!:)

I can't forget about all of my extended family up in Wisconsin and Michigan ( Kentucky, Arizona, Florida, and Arkansas, too).  Without all of you, I wouldn't have so many great memories of all the times at the beach, birthday parties, cookouts and pool parties.  Those memories are what I picture in my head when I think of my childhood, and I don't think I could ask for a better family.:)

There is a saying that friends are the family we choose for ourselves and that is so true.  I have a few very close friends who I am so thankful for.  I know I can talk to them just about anything and I know they have my back.   Those friendships are so precious to me.

I am thankful that I had the opportunity to be close to both of my grandmothers, and even though they have both passed away, I have the memories of both of them with me every day.  It hurts me sometimes that I can't call them up on the phone to talk to them, but my life is so much better because I knew them.  I learned so many life lessons from them from just watching them and listening to their stories.  They were two very strong women and I am so grateful they were in my life.

Moving back to the U.S. has been a bag of mixed emotions for me.  I am happy to be back and closer to friends and family, but I left someone behind there who was a huge part of my life while I lived there.  Sometimes, i think to myself, it would be so much easier if I had not met her, but then, my eyes would not have been opened to so much that I saw while living in Lagos.  I am forever changed because Happiness came into my life.  She had a way of looking at things and they weren't so complicated after all.  She calmed my fears many times while living there, and she became a part of our family.  It has been a hard last few months for the kids and for me without having her with us, but I am so thankful that she was part of our lives. She taught us to look at things differently and I was humbled many times by her view of the world.  She always saw the "glass half full", and she truly lived up to her name.:) 

I am so thankful for the opportunity our family had to go to Nigeria.  We were able to see things and have expereinces there we would never have had if we hadn't gone.  We now know what true poverty and destitution looks like and we know how fortunate we are to be citizens of the U.S.  We also learned so much about other cultures during our time there and we learned a new appreciation for people from all over the world and not just in Nigeria.  I am so thankful that my children were able to experience some of the beauty of people from different parts of the globe.

I truly have so much to be thankful for not only at this time of the year but every day throughout the year.  My life is so much better because of all the people who were, have been and  are still in it.:)

Monday, October 15, 2012

A Village ( a post for Blog Action Day)

It is so hard to find time to write anything down these says.  One good thing about living on a compound in Nigeria was there weren't so many other distractions because you really had not too many other places to be.:)  I had my Happiness and the kids were happy with their friends on the compound, and I had so much more time to write about my thoughts and feelings about living in Lagos.  Now, my time is filled with car rides, homework and very early mornings because without my Happiness here...there is so much more work to do!!!!!  Can you tell I miss her????!!!!

I checked my email today and saw that a contributor for World Mom's Blog, a blog I also contribute to as well, let us know that October 15, 2012 is Blog Action Day.  I went to their facebook page and I was inspired.  The whole goal of this day is for bloggers all over the world to write about one theme for this day, and this year the theme is "The Power of We" where bloggers can write about making a positive difference in the world right in their own communities or half way around the world.  So, I am putting my evening counter wiping and last sweeping of dog hair aside to finally sit down and just. write.

Asking for help has always been something I have struggled with....I don't like to admit that I could be wrong about something and that I actually can't do something all by myself.  For some reason, I have always thought that if I had to ask for help it was a sign that I had failed somehow or some way.  I had always heard the quote, "It takes a village to raise a child." and I had listened but tucked it way back in that part of your brain that seems to collect dust because there are too many other things to think about.  Then, I moved to Lagos, Nigeria and wouldn't you know that that very quote is a Nigerian Proverb??!!  If you want to see and read about my first impressions moving to Lagos as an American expat, you can check out my blog archive but I can put it into three words for you right here: shocking, heartbreaking , and exhilarating. 

I thought I knew what poverty was before I moved to Lagos.  Not because I had any real first hand experience, but because I had seen homeless people on the sides of streets and sometimes had rolled my window down a sliver to drop a bit of money to them.  But, nothing prepared me for the utter destitution and desperation I would see in Lagos.  When I say that many people living in this city have nothing, that is exactly what I mean....some didn't even have clothes...

I felt overwhelmed about what I saw and how lucky I had been and I really could not wrap my head around  what some have and some simply didn't.  I didn't know if there was a light anywhere to bring some kind of hope and to help someone when there seemed to be poverty everywhere around me.

I had heard about the Ishahayi Beach School Foundation, a charity established by expats in Lagos to support Nigerian Children's education.  Since I was a teacher (and I didn't know where else to start), I thought helping with Nigerian children's education was as good a place as any.  When I first started to go out to the beach school and visit other fishing villages only accessible by boat, I was shocked at the fact that the children had no shoes, and that they had to add bleach to their well water or that some didn't have the 20 naira (about 15 cents U.S.) to buy food from the local village woman who prepared lunch each day.  But, after a few months of visiting the schools and getting to know Lady Salami, a missionary who founded one of the schools the Foundation helps, I saw how much we as the foundation were learning about the Nigerian culture as much as they were so thankful for new material for uniforms and bleach to clean their water and books donated to make a small library for the students.  I loved being a part of that foundation for the three years I was in Lagos.

The Ishahayi Beach School Foundation is not a huge charity and will probably never receive any global recognition for its efforts, but what they have done and will continue to do is provide hope in a place where hopelessness is a daily fact of many lives I saw there each day.  Just as Lady Salami could not run her school alone, the beach foundation cannot run by itself either.  Like the children at the school, it takes many people to help them succeed...some may even call it a village.:)  I learned a valuable lesson during my time there...everyone needs is impossible to do great things on your own.  But, together, many people can come together and provide some hope in the lives of some very deserving children and that is why I had to write about the Ishahayi Beach School Foundation.  I am happy to say that I was a member of that fabulous board and I am so proud of everything they are accomplishing for Nigerian children's education now.  It truly is the little things that count in one's life and this foundation definitely provides the glimmer of hope that the children whom they touch desperately need....just to know they are not alone, and that there is a small village supporting them:)

Thursday, September 27, 2012


I haven't been here for a while....there are lots of reasons I guess.  It is not that I haven't had anything to say...actually, there have been so many thoughts in my head these last months and I haven't had the time to sit down and start to write to be able to sort all of them out...

There have been many things happening in these last weeks...some dear friends of ours lost their daughter after she battled cancer with the bravery of a Roman warrior.  Our hearts have been breaking for them...

My time has been taken up with 2-3 daily phone calls to my mom who is back in the hospital again because she has been battling a staph infection in her leg these past 6 weeks.  Saying that I have been worried out of my mind over her would be an understatement...

The kids have started in their schools.  Jeremy is in first grade....I still can't believe it....and we have homework.every. single.night. on top of his soccer practices and games.  Elizabeth is in two days a week, and loves it, and she has ballet two times a week.

I feel like since I moved back I have become the taxi service I always heard my mom say she was when I was younger.:)

It's strange because the whole time we were gone to Nigeria, I was worried about the kids adjusting and the kids having friends and how they were feeling.  Everything else just kind of fell into place...I thought, "Three years isn't that long...we'll come back and be able to pick up where we left off..."  And, it is true, the kids have adjusted really well and love their school and friends and Guy is doing great with his new job.  I just didn't realize how different I would feel when I moved back here...

I miss Happiness...not just because she did about 99.9% of my housework:)....but I miss her friendship and how when I talked to her each day she opened up a window to a world I didn't know about...

I feel torn between the life I lived in Lagos and the life I am living here.  I saw a picture of the board from IBSF the other day and tears came to my eyes because I miss that....I miss them and I miss feeling like I was a part of something bigger than myself.  I miss seeing the children and I miss feeling like I was really and truly helping others and until I moved to Nigeria I had no idea what it was to really help people who had nothing....until I physically saw them along the sides of the road...

I like being back here because the freedom to hop in my car and drive myself wherever I want to go is really nice....sometimes the compound life was a little confining. I love being able to take my kids to school and pick them up and help with homework and watch them grow and change each day. But, I would be lying if I said I have been really outgoing trying to meet new people because I haven't.  My good friends are sticking with me through this time...but I almost feel like I can't identify with anyone new.  The other day I was at the grocery store and asked about bean sprouts and the man looked at me like I was crazy, and he told me that bean sprouts were off the market because of an outbreak of salmonella about 6 months ago...I didn't know...

I tried to take the kids to the children's museum a few weeks ago at the mall near our house.  I wandered the mall and looked at the directory and asked a few people until I figured out that the museum had moved to another location two years ago...I felt like an idiot...I thought "Three years really IS a long time."

I am back in my home country, but I feel a little out of sorts...kind of like I am in a limbo between two worlds...

I am not sure what will happen with this blog...I don't know if I will continue it, start a new one or just stop.  It's hard to just let it go because this blog has kind of become like an old friend to me. But, until I figure it out....I'll just keep on posting about my "re-entry" even though it may be a bit jumbled...

Friday, August 24, 2012


It's been a summer of saying good bye and hello again.  We went back to the beach

 and visited family we hadn't seen in a year, but picked up right where we left off...
 We spent time with a loved one who needed extra love and care...

 We went to a family wedding...

and felt like we had only seen each other yesterday...

We missed one of the pillars of our family across an ocean...

and shared laughs in the summer sun.

There were first baseball games to go to...

Uncles and Aunts to see...

Brand new cousins being born...

and special birthdays to celebrate....

there are old friends to welcome us in our new home...

And a new friend in our new home...
And through this whole summer, I kept thinking to myself how in some way, everyone we meet or know are woven to us.  I am going to be honest...the middle of August came and went and I feel a sadness that I am not on that crowded plane on that long flight back to Lagos. I miss Happiness so much and never knew I could become friends with someone from a world so different than my own. I didn't realize how much Lagos had woven it's way into my life.  I miss it...I really and truly miss it.  I am happy to be back and be closer to my dear family and friends, but I hope that my heart does not forget the things I saw and did there. I hope my heart does not forget how lucky and blessed I am to be a citizen of the USA.  I hope my heart does not take for granted the rights and privileges we have here.  I hope my heart never forgets the time and happiness we had in Lagos. 
Then, a package arrived from my Great Aunt Marty today.  When I opened it, I actually started to cry.  She is one of the most gifted, talented, awesome quilters I have ever met, and a few years ago she had asked me for some fabric from Nigeria.  I brought it back and sent it to her.  When I opened up the box, I couldn't believe the beautiful masterpiece she had made with that fabric for our family....
I will forever treasure this gift and the memories our family has of living in that far off place.  Those memories are forever woven in our hearts.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Summer Break

I hope all of my American friends had a great Fourth of July!  I have decided to take a blogging break for the summer.  I am in the process of adjusting and regrouping, and I am planning to be back here more regularly the end of August.:)  I hope you all have a great summer and I'll see you again in a few weeks!!!

Thursday, June 28, 2012



These past two and half weeks have been filled with happiness at seeing old friends again, nervousness about finding a house, anxiousness about putting an offer on just the right house, elation when that offer was accepted, happiness at Guy being able to join us for almost two weeks, sadness that he had to leave and go back to Nigeria to finish up his job there, worry about safety over there, and exhaustion from everything in between.

We've survived 2 trips to Chuck E.Cheese, at least 5 trips to Sonic, 7 trips to Chick-Fil-A, and umpteen trips to Mickey D's and somewhere in there the kids have even managed to eat some fruit and veggies.:)  They have been troopers through their fourth straight summer of living out of a suitcase.  I don't know how we'll feel next summer when we will actually have a house.  I was starting to feel like I was at home in Lagos, but I never really felt like the flat was "mine".  It was assigned to us, and I always felt like I was living in someone else's house using someone else's furniture.  I am looking forward to living in a home we chose with things that belong to us.:)  Although that home won't be ready for us until August...

This next year will be a struggle for me to find my "new normal" whatever that may be.  But, for right now, my" normal" is packing up our bags for yet another plane ride....this time to see some family in Michigan.  And for the time being, our "home" is wherever our suitcases are.:)

Friday, June 22, 2012


This past week and a half of coming back to the states has been very different than the last three summers.  When I came back the other summers, I was a visitor, on vacation.  I didn't really jump back into the U.S. culture, but I hadn't really grasped the Nigerian culture either.  I was an "in betweener".  I could have the best of the U.S. fast food restaurants and rationalize it because I couldn't get that in Nigeria.  I could bounce around from friends and family's homes and visit and not have to think about where my children would go to school in August.  It seems that in many ways, my expat life has come to an end and the reality is that if I keep eating at McDonald's the way I have been when I have come back over the last three years for an unknown length of time.....I will probably be as big as Jabba the Hut!!!! 

Things are definitely different this time around.  I feel like I am noticing more because I know I am not leaving this time.  I have had to find a house, and register the the kids for school.  I have been trying to watch how much junk I'm eating.....but it's hard when you are relocating.  I thought I'd share a few things I've learned on my re-entry:

1) Bruno Mars is not a planet

2)  New Direction is not on my navigation system, but it  is one of the latest heart throb boy bands

3)  Nicky Minaj's song "Starship" makes me want to throw my hands up in the air and shake my bum bum

4)  I can consistently drive my self around in a car by myself, and am loving the back up camera on my new car!!!!

5)  My patience has been tested to new limits without having Happiness here to help me with the kids:)

6)  I am not taking the clean, well maintained streets for granted here

7)  I kind of miss the bumpy,flooded streets on V.I. and the okadas whizzing by

8)  I am not the same person I was when I moved away three years ago

9)  I see people differently now

10)  I'm afraid I will become boring....I kind of miss Lagos...yep...that is a huge shocker for me, too!!!

The past few weeks have been full of happiness and confusion for me.  I know I lived here three years ago, but I can't help but feel I am a little different now. Angela, a friend of mine I met in Lagos wrote to me the other day and she said she was so happy for the time she had in Lagos because "it made us all come alive again". I can't agree with her more. I don't know if I realized it when I was there, but I saw so much and did so many things I otherwise would have never done if I hadn't gone.  In a way, living there did bring new life into our lives.  My hope is that that "new life" will stick with our whole family so we can continue to "see" people and celebrate the differences all around us.:)

Monday, June 18, 2012

He's Back...

On Friday, Guy landed back in the good 'ole USA.:)  The kids were so happy to see him and so was I.  It had been a long week of jet lag, househunting and not sleeping. I needed serious reinforcements and I did miss him...just a little bit.:) We were so happy to have Guy with us for Father's Day. For the last three years, the kids and I have traveled out of Nigeria the beginning of June and not returned until the beginning of August.  Guy has always joined us in the U.S. the beginning of July so we haven't been with him on his special day for a while.  It was a great day of eating good barb-e-que and being together with the best dad my children could ever ask for.  And it was topped off by some pictures of our trip to South Africa with some frames from the real Lekki Market in Lagos, Nigeria...not Houston, Texas (Poor elizabeth....she is so confused.:)

Happy Father's day to my dad, Father-in -Law, Grandpa and all the great dads today!:)

Friday, June 15, 2012


It is so interesting to me how life always seems to work out.:)  It has been a little bit of a sad and confusing week (not to mention the jet lag) since coming back to the U.S. from Lagos, but it always seems like the universe seems to balance itself out.  As lost as I felt a few days ago, these past two days have been filled with hugs and smiles from some dear friends right here in the U.S.  Laughs, hugs, and some glasses of wine with a good friend can take all the sadness away.:)
My "silver" friend from Lagos in Houston.:)
And a waffle the shape ( and size) of Texas can bring a smile to any one's face.:) ( Courtesy of our hotel).

Lizzy was camera shy!!!???
These are friends I had before moving to Lagos (thank you Amy and Jim for having us over!) and who have stuck with me the entire time I was gone. And, guess what!!??? They are here to welcome me back!:) There is one more dear friend who I haven't been able to see yet.( Although I did get to see her husband who graciously let me store some of my very heavy bags from Lagos in their home.  THANK YOU!!!!)  She has been traveling to see her family, and she'll be back next week! Once I see Emmy again, it will most definitely feel like I am back home.:) Last year, I wrote a post called Silver and Gold about the new friends I made while living in Lagos.  I am so thankful for my "gold" friends for sticking with me on this three year adventure even though you didn't understand it all the time. My friends, Jen,Mindy,and Kirstin who didn't live near me before but have always been just a phone call away have also been there for me and supported me.:) I thank all of you for everything you did to not make me feel like I was a crazy fool for going to Lagos. You all let me go on this journey and then, were ready to welcome me back into your lives with open arms.   I am so thankful to have you in my life.  You are my "gold".  Thank you for welcoming me back home:)
Jeremy and his Godparents:)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


I'm awake right now when I should be sleeping, but I was reading a blog post earlier about having domestic help in your home and feelings about that, and I couldn't help but think of Happiness.  When I moved to Nigeria, I never in a million years would have thought I would have made such a wonderful friend.  I never would have thought that I could make such a wonderful friend and when I had to leave one day, I would probably never get to see her again.  I couldn't help the tears from falling down my face as I read that post and then thought about it tonight.  I am happy to be back in the U.S. and to see all of my friends here. It's just that I feel like a left a piece of myself in Lagos with a dear friend.  I've taken the kids to a few places here and seen them laugh, and I know she would love to see it, too.  Part of why my kids have done as well as they have on our move to Nigeria is because of her...  ( and of course because of my hubby's meticulous planning!)
all smiles at Chuck E. Cheese

  • brain freeze at Chick-Fil-A
 Moving is hard, and I know I will get through this change.  People have told me that moving back home after having an assignment as an expat is hard.  It's funny because I would look so forward to "civilization" when I would come back to the States on holidays.  But, now, I realize that I was just starting to really think of Lagos as home, and it was time to leave.  I kind of feel like the mancala (ayo)  game that Jeremy loves so much.  You take some pieces and you leave some pieces.  I guess that is kind of how life is, too.  You leave some pieces of yourself with dear people you have met, and you take some pieces of them with you, too.  And, I have to say, leaving a piece of myself in Lagos does hurt a bit, but I would do it all again because it brought a very special person into my life.:)

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Tidal Wave

The kids and I made it to Houston at 5 a.m. local time yesterday morning.  It was nice to sleep on a fully flat seat in business class, but we still didn't sleep all that great.  There is just something about sleeping on an airplane that doesn't let me ( or the kids) get a really good sleep.  I was able to get all 9 bags and four carry ons to the car rental place with the help of another sweet family who was repatriating to the States along with me.  Thank you so much!!!:)  Thank goodness Guy rented us an Expedition or I wouldn't have been able to fit all the bags!!:)
We made it to the hotel only after stopping at McDonald's for our U.S. fix!!:)  Then, the kids and I took a marathon nap from noon to 5 p.m.  I usually never let them sleep that long after traveling from Nigeria, but I don't know if it was the physical exhaustion combined with the emotional exhaustion of the last few weeks and the roller coaster of emotions I have had but I could not move from the bed until 5 p.m.  I made the kids wake up or else we might as well grow hair on our ears and hang upside down because letting them sleep any  longer was surely a recipe for nocturnal disaster!:)   We went to good 'ole Wal Mart and got some snacks for the room and went to another favorite of Jeremy's...Taco Bell!!! I know, I should win" Mother of the Year" award for the nutritional food I'm feeding the kids!!!! :)  But, I'll blame it on exhaustion and whatever makes 'em happy at this point!:)  They keep asking me if this hotel is our new home, and I keep telling that that we need to find a home.  They both look at me like it's crazy that we don't have a "home" right now.  I guess it is...

We're doing okay, but every now and then, a tidal wave of emotions sweep over me.  I think of my final hug to Happiness before we boarded the bus knowing I most likely will never physically see her again.  The look in her eyes and the tears running down her face as the kids and I waved good bye to her and as I blew her a kiss through the window she grabbed it in mid air and placed her hand on her heart. It was so hard to leave.  I didn't ever think it would have been three years ago. 

When the kids and I were in the Wal-Mart (Elizabeth keeps calling it Lekki Market..I'm not kidding) yesterday, I noticed a woman in traditional Nigerian dress.  At first I didn't think anything of it, and then I realized I was in a Wal- Mart!!  I heard her talking to her daughter in the familiar Nigerian accent, and I almost went up to her.  But, I couldn't because I realized I had tears in my eyes and no matter what I would say to her ( I had no idea what that may be) I wouldn't be able to say anything because all that would come was tears.

I feel a little lost and confused right now. Sometimes I think I am just on summer holiday visiting the U.S. and then, I realize that I'm not going back to Nigeria in August.   This transition will be a process, but I know one thing for sure.  Our family found" happiness" in Nigeria and I know we'll find it here, too.:)

Friday, June 8, 2012

Don't Cry Because It's over

The air shipment back to the U.S. is sorted with a post it to add to it in case there is more room...

 9 bags at 70 pounds each=630 pounds of luggage + 4 carry ons......thank goodness for business class on our way back!

As I was weighing and packing up the bags, I looked out the window and saw this...
 The man in the picture is turning this bent up iron re bar
 into perfectly straight re bar with his bare hands....
It occurred to me that when I move back, I won't see such unexpected things like this.  My heart feels heavy and there is a deep pit in my stomach, but if that man can do that with his bare hands, I can have the strength to say good bye this afternoon.  I just can't get over how much it feels like de ja vu to be packing up ...again.  Part of me keeps forgetting that this time it is "for good".  I keep feeling like I am only leaving for the summer and I'll be back in August...but this time that won't happen.  I am happy to go back to the U.S., but will miss many friends I made here dearly.  So, this is when I remind myself of a quote straight from the mouth of Dr. Seuss:

                              "Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened."

So, when the kids and I are boarding the bus today and saying our final farewells, I'll remind myself of this quote and know that I am only shedding tears because of the once in a lifetime opportunity we had to live here.  And, I will know that a smile will cross my face when I think about my time here.:)

Thursday, June 7, 2012


This is my 500th post on this blog...I never thought I would stay with it so long...who knew I would love it so much!!! I thought we could look at a few pictures from when we first arrived....
Arriving in Lagos July 2009

Meeting Happiness for the first time!! July 2009

first beach trip August 2009

first day of school August 2009

And, now a few from just a few weeks ago......they have changed so much since we moved to Lagos...

Jeremy and his Teacher
It's funny, I heard once that people cry when you move here and they cry when it's time to go.  I didn't really understand that when I first came here. I didn't think I would ever get used to living here.  It took a few years, but I have felt so much more comfortable here this last year.  And, now as I type this with tears in my eyes, it is time to leave and I don't feel like it's time to go yet.   I feel like there is an aching pit in my stomach which I haven't been able to make go away for the last few weeks.  I am having the same feelings I had when I moved here, but in reverse.  I never expected to ever be happy here.  I never thought I would meet people I would truly care about.  I am mostly an all or nothing person.  I won't do things half way...if I'm in it...I'm in it.  I threw myself into the Beach Foundation and the kids schools, and I loved every minute of it.  I made new friends and I knew I would have to leave one day, but I didn't realize how much I would hurt inside.  I am happy that I'm going back "home", but somehow, I feel different now.  I know I am not exactly the same person I was when I left to move here three years ago.  I hope I don't forget what I have done and what I have seen while living here. I hope I was able to make some small difference here.  These past few weeks, I've been busy packing up bags and saying farewells...

Good bye to the Beach School Foundation...

The kids have had farewells....

 And so have we....
 I've met so many great people here who are hard working and they will always have a piece of my heart...
Daniel, me, Happiness and Josephine
I don't even know how I will say good bye to Happiness. (Please pray for me...I mean it...I really don't know how I will do that.)  We can't even look at each other these past two weeks and not cry.  How do you even begin to tell someone she saved you from the fear you had about coming here????  She is truly a special person with a beautiful spirit, and because of her, I will always be forever connected to Nigeria.  I will miss so many people I have met here dearly, but I will have them in my heart forever.  If you know me, I don't like change much.  I never have, but once I accept it, things usually are okay.  The only thing I know which is constant is change....nothing stays the same forever. The kids and I leave tomorrow, June 8 and Guy will follow later this summer. I have heard that with every ending comes a new beginning, and I hope you will join me as I adjust to my life back in the states right here on this blog.  Thank you so much for joining me on this amazing journey!!!!:) And to my friends on the other side of the ocean...I am coming home!!!!!!!