On December 13 we began our journey back home for the holidays! I had been counting down the days for a long time and we were both so excited. Our journey began by driving five hours to Belgrade, Serbia on Thursday to be ready to fly out early Friday morning.
On the way there we stopped at a cute bakery in Serbia for a pastry and coffee! We exchanged five dollars for 500 dinars and bought two coffees, a chocolate pastry, and two huge buns to save for later for 250 dinars, which converts to about $2.50.
We flew from Serbia to Chicago, where we stayed with some friends of Sam’s for a couple of days so Sam could preach at two different congregations Sunday morning and Sunday night.
Sunday afternoon we were able to meet up with one of our very dear friends Cassie. Cassie is one of my closest friends and my last year at FC we lived across the hall from each other and spent a lot of time together. She was also one of my bridesmaids in our wedding. I was so happy that she drove two hours to come see us and worship wish us Sunday night!
That night Sam and I were so eager to get home to Mississippi that we decided to start driving right then. However, Sam had a section of a final to take before midnight, so we just had to find somewhere with wifi for him to complete it, since he had already studied. The task of finding somewhere open with adequate wifi connection proved to be much more difficult than we anticipated, but finally Sam was able to complete his test in a McDonald’s parking lot right before midnight. The conditions were less than ideal, but he got it finished and we began our journey home around midnight. (And Sam’s professor graciously let him retake the test under much better conditions!)
We arrived in Mississippi at 9:30 Monday morning and surprised Mama and the family! We were exhausted, but we were all so happy. The next two weeks were a whirlwind of activities and events and loads of quality time with family.
Thursday after we got back Sam, Daddy, and Clay undertook the challenge of the Tanglefoot Trail from Houston to New Albany. Sam ran the entire 44 miles and Daddy and Clay alternated running and biking, five miles at a time. I had planned on being with them, but unfortunately I got sick the day before and I was not able to join them. I was very lucky to have a Mama at home to take care of me though 🙂
They were exhausted, but they finished and I am so proud of them!
Every year it is my family’s tradition to do a LOT of Christmas baking, both for our family and to give to others. Mama saved all the baking to do after I got there and I absolutely loved being in the kitchen all day with Mama and Leah!
We also all decorated gingerbread houses together, which was also a lot of fun.
After Christmas Sam and I made a trip up to Kentucky to be with his family for his brother Paul’s wedding. Sam was a groomsman for Paul and I got to be with all the girls all weekend making flowers and setting up everything for the wedding. The wedding was beautiful and we are so excited for Paul and Alayna!
For New Year’s Eve we celebrated with lots of friends and family at our friends’ the Mims house. We did not last quite until midnight, but we watched the ball drop at midnight Eastern time and enjoyed being with everyone! Sam’s brother Abe and his wife Grace also came home with us after the wedding and we loved getting to spend a couple more days with them.
On New Year’s day we went to Corinth to brave the frigid weather for Koach Kenneth’s annual Resolution run! I think it was 10 degrees, but the windchill was much lower! I think it was 1 or -1. Either way, it was freezing! We were one of the very few crazies to run (we had ski masks to avoid frostbite) but many other runners joined us for breakfast, including the rest of our family.
We were so happy when we were done and able to warm up inside with coffee!
Early Tuesday morning we began our trip back to Romania. We had a 9 hour drive to Chicago, then a 7.5 hour plane ride to Munich. After a quick layover we had a 1.5 hour flight to Belgrade, then a 5-6 hour drive to Craiova! We got home around 1:00, finally got to bed around 2:00 and slept well into the next day! Last night we were able to get a little closer to a normal sleep schedule, and we hope tonight will be the final night to get us back on schedule.
The trip home was absolutely amazing and I enjoyed every bit of it. It went by entirely too quickly and I was not ready to leave yet when the time came. Coming back was so much harder than I expected, but it is slowly getting better. The more I focus on spiritual things and doing things for others the easier it gets, and we are taking it a day at a time. The more we get settled and back into a normal routine the better it gets.
I have a wonderfully long list of goals for the year and ways to keep up with family, including a book club with Mama and scheduled FaceTime sessions with my sisters and friends. I hope to write a post about 2018 goals soon!