I'll be home for Christmas (sort of)

In less than a week, we'll pack up and head back to Cincinnati for a brief time.

We've made plans with our families, and a few of our close friends.  The schedule will be busy, but we are looking forward to reconnecting to the place we have called home for most of our lives.

In the first few weeks after we moved to Nicaragua, I reprimanded myself for referring to Ohio as home.  In some ways I felt that it represented a disloyalty to where I now live.  Somehow that phrase made the move feel more like a trip, and less like a long term decision.  And yet, the people who have loved us most are there, counting down the days until they can welcome us with open arms.

But we live here now in a place where seasons change discreetly.  If I didn't have a calendar I might never know the page has turned to December.  The temperatures are still hitting ninety, but the last few days have relieved us with the kindest kind of breeze.  I smile at the poinsettias blooming near the walkway outside, Nicaragua's gentle nod to my remembrance of Christmas.  I'm becoming attached to the life we are building here, and even in the current difficulties of learning a new culture, I can feel the roots reaching down and grabbing hold of this new land.

Slowly, we have been turning a house we rent into a place that feels like ours, a place that feels as if we belong.  It is becoming a blend of Nicaragua and North America.  I suppose in some ways, I am too.  It's hard to start over after uprooting.  It's hard to feel that lack of fitting in.  Weeks pass and I look back only to notice that those acute feelings from before have softened their edges the slightest bit.

The rhythm of life has changed.  We no longer have a calendar full of shopping and wrapping and parties and plays and places to go with people to see.  The change is new and it's nice and it's different, but still there remains that ache for something familiar.

In a few days we will find ourselves in the flurry.  I mean that quite literally, as the forecast is teasing us with snow.  We will be seeing familiar faces and be in familiar places with all of the glowing lights and traditions that have always been celebrated.  I won't have to pay an exorbitant amount of money for apples or chocolate, and I can enjoy a full sized red and white candy cane.  I blush at my fantasizing of wearing my favorite sweatshirt, and once again enjoying the idea of being cozy by the fireplace.  My friends will laugh at my corny jokes (probably), and there won't be a second thought of whether or not I'm accepted just the way I am.  I pause to think of my reaction to this reacquainted belonging.  Will I like it too much?  Will it make another goodbye that much harder to face?

Honestly, I'm afraid.

We are five months in, and already the idea of home has become complicated.  There are quotes that fill the pages of Pinterest with their beautiful pictures and wise words that give a moment of inspiration.  We hang them on our walls, declaring our belief, singing our anthems of truth.

"Home is where you hang your hat."
"Home is where the heart is."
"Home is not where you are from, but where you belong."
Home is. . . home is. . . home is. . .

I think most likely though, I will find that my home is neither here nor there.  The only place I can now imagine will end these questions of belonging is the final move to eternity.  Sometimes, when I am especially exhausted of the question of where I call home, my heart yearns to reach that destination.  

One of these days I will forever belong.  One of these days I will truly be home for Christmas.


  1. I relate so much to these thoughts, evidenced by the welled up tears in the corners of my eyes. "Home" has been something I have thought much about, something I used to not question at all, when I was a child. Now, well..."the only place I can now imagine will end these questions of belonging is the final move to eternity." There's a lot of truth there. Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts. I was curious how you were feeling. Thank you for giving me a small window. Love you and am looking forward to seeing you.


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