My mom and I made it home safely! It was very hard to say goodbye... There were many tears.
Paul's friend drove us to the bus stop, and we boarded. That two-hour bus ride felt like it was wrenching me further and further away from my dearly beloved family and all the sweet times we enjoyed together. Despite the sadness of departure, after boarding the plane and take-off I got very excited and was thrilled about flying over the world in the night. Opposite from my mother, I wasn't tired at all and spent most of the flight staring out the window at the darkness and faint white of clouds. Over the course of the night I saw three separate storm fronts, huge thunderheads and lightning flashes. It was incredible seeing the massive mountains of clouds rising up out of the sea of calm. I also caught glimpses of faraway cities with their twinkling lights, and saw many rivers flying over the Amazon. It was the most dazzling thing I had ever seen as we came in for landing at the Chicago O'Hare International airport. The night was dark and the city was ablaze with miles and miles of street lights as far as you could see and flat as a board.
Stepping onto the familiar soil of the U.S. I felt hit by a hard, cold air. The atmosphere was different, and the whole mood of the airport was a completely different feeling than Brazil. It was cold.
Readjusting to "normal" life has been harder than I anticipated it would be. I thought coming home would be much easier than leaving, but it wasn't.
The biggest thing I notice is the silence. And people keep to themselves. Everything is automated and electronic. Upper-scale.
For the first three days back home I could hardly function. I was exhausted all hours of the day and couldn't comprehend where I was. My body was all mixed up, jet-lagged, and in shock from the sudden climate change. This was a totally new thing to me as I'd never experienced "re-entry" before.
All that to say, I was only gone for 25 days, and it only felt like one.
A week and two days later and we're all doing great! :) In fact, Thursday evening a friend called me up and invited me to the beach for the weekend. So Saturday afternoon found me at the Pacific Ocean again. :) It was a great weekend, and we spent our evening on the beach singing and meeting new people around the campfires. We even got the chance to share our faith and pray over a young man.
Now we have returned, Mother and I are back to normal health, re-acclimated to the time, and settling back into normal life. Brazil was an incredible experience, one I will not soon forget and that shall be forever etched in my mind. It was very sad to leave, hard to return to the mundane, and eye-opening to see my own culture from a whole new perspective.
Thank you all again, so much, for your prayers. I'm looking forward to what God has in store for me in the near future!