Sometimes people ask what I miss about home or what I'm looking forward to when I return to California. On a superficial level, I miss avocados, Mexican food, meeting in coffee shops and the availability of inexpensive, quality goods. I also have a list of the things I miss when I leave Ukraine: mineral water, extensive public transportation, purchasing food that is more locally grown and only a 10 minute walk from my apartment and other amazing food in general, to name a few.
But on a deeper level, I miss people and relationships more than anything else. Besides weddings, birthdays and graduations, I miss birthday parties and watching my friends' children grow up. I miss the people who challenge me and spur me on to be Christlike. But the same is true when I leave Ukraine. Two friends are giving birth in the next month. I will miss the opportunities to help them out. I will miss seeing the joy on their faces as I watch them and their husbands revel in having a new child in their lives. Also, two friends are getting married this summer. I will miss out on their extreme mountain-top wedding. I will miss sitting around the table and sharing our lives with one another.
Last night several youth came over for the evening. We ate a lot of sweets, drank tea and just enjoyed talking. Another girl is leaving to study abroad soon, so we talked about that. They made me a memory book full of photos from this last year. I joked about crying but will probably only do so once I'm gone.
Having two homes is good but leaving is always hard. But arriving is always great.
To those I leave behind, I will miss you and look forward to seeing you again in 7 months and all the time we will spend together again around the table drinking tea.
To those I am coming home to, I look forward to the time we will spend together. It will also be hard to say goodbye to you at the end of the year.