Monday, June 06, 2011

There's No Place Like Home

It's amazing how one comes to feel at home somewhere. What makes "home" home anyway? Is it a building? A feeling? A situation? A contentment? Is it the duration of stay or the people or the environment?
As a Christian, in a very real way I know that my ultimate home is in heaven, and while I am here on the earth for a time to live my life for God's glory and to share the love and truth of Jesus with others, I look forward to eternity in my true home. In another sense, I am "home" wherever I am because my home is in God, and He is always with me.

And yet there is still some aspect of the earthly meaning of "home" that I'm talking about. What makes a house a home? What makes a place you live a place that you love? Oh I'm getting cheesy.

Whatever the answer.
I feel so at home here.
And I can't quite believe I will be leaving in 6 weeks.

Though I am daily reminded in one way or another that this is a foreign place, the majority of the time I feel decidedly not foreign. I understand the language for a good portion of interactions, and sometimes even manage to speak it passably well. I have "my" florist and tailor, and the lady at the photo shop knows my name (and spells it correctly!) to write it on my order form. The lady at the post office no longer scowls but smiles at me and even glues on my stamps FOR me sometimes. I run into friends at the grocery store, bank, and tailor. In fact, pretty much any time I walk out of my house. I know where to buy what and not get ripped off. I have even grown to appreciate (Eastern) Euro techno pop. I am indeed at home here.

I often find myself chuckling that I say "I'm going home" and I could be referring to several different places. More than once I have been talking with a friend and said something that included the word "home" but was not specific enough for them to know where I meant and they will say, "PA? New York? Romania?" Well, they will only say "PA" if they are from the state. Everyone else calls my state Pennsylvania. But it's just too long to be saying the name in full your whole life, so we Pennsylvanians have taken to calling the state PA. I know the rest of my fellow Americans find this strange. But alas. I digress.

PA. New York City. Romania. And even, I dare say, Yakima (Washington). They are all home to me. I hate cheesy sayings, but they say "home is where the heart is." Usually not actually said but embroidered on a pillow or painted on an antique looking piece of wood with little red apples surrounding the text. In a very deep way, my heart is here in Iasi. With the quirky Romanian people. With our quirky international church. With the grey concrete blocks and the 1970s German street trolleys. With the sarmale and mamaliga and the Romanian "populara" (traditional folk music). With the endless mountains of paperwork and the equally endless fields of sunflowers. There is indeed no place like home.

You will likely get a good dose of sappy reflectiony entries in the coming 6 weeks as I process these past two and a half years and what it means to be finishing my time here. God is so gracious and His plans are so wise and satisfying! I am beyond thankful He brought me here, and I pray I will treasure and keep the memories, lessons, and experiences vividly in my mind and heart.

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