Fond Farewells

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A week ago, my AB and I arrived in Croatia. We were tired and hungry, and our hair was really messy and our luggage was somewhere in Belgium.

Now I’m at least five pounds fatter (he’s still as slim as a rail), tired but happy and utterly enchanted by this beautiful country.

There’s a horrible thought lingering in the back of my brain. A thought that’s creeping closer and closer into the foreground: this may be my last year here.

Of course, I say that every year. The first year that I said that because I thought the missions trip was a one-time deal that I was using to figure my life out. I came back anyway. Last year I said I wouldn’t come back because I’d be going to grad school far from home. That changed, so here I am.

Now I can’t go back because my graduate assistant contract lasts for twelve months and I get ten days off all year. So maybe if I don’t get sick or need to have emergency surgery or don’t celebrate Christmas, I could go back. But only if.

My grad program lasts two years. So for two years, no Croatia for me. My students will grow up and leave town. My students I taught when I first came will be in college. And when I’m done with grad school, I have no idea where I’ll be or what I’ll be doing. Well, I have an idea, but I don’t know if I’ll be able to do that and go teach English in Croatia at the same time. Money doesn’t grow on trees.

My fear is that returning to Croatia becomes one of those things I hope I’ll be able to do every year, but year after year will roll by without giving me a chance to return.

But I know if God wants me back, He’ll send me back. If not, He’ll find something else for me to do.

But a slice of my heart will always be here, in that little classroom in the school on the top of the hill.  

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