We did it. We actually left East Asia after 23 years of service there. The last month was an emotional whirlwind of packing up and saying goodbye. Obviously, saying goodbye to so many of our long term friends was very difficult. There were so many tearful goodbyes, even at the airport. It still doesn’t feel quite real that we aren’t just going back again after a short visit to the States like we usually do. I think it may take months or even years for that to really sink in.
Other than saying goodbye to people, we tried to spend some time going to some of our favorite places. It became increasingly difficult to do that in our last couple of weeks as Covid numbers were going up in our city and while we weren’t afraid of catching Covid, we were concerned about ending up in quarantine if we happened to be somewhere that happened to have someone who knew someone who had it. I realize that is quite a different experience of Covid than most of the world has had.
It was also difficult saying goodbye to our house and most of our possessions. We ended up only being able to take 18 bags, which while it sounds like a lot, is very difficult to put your whole life into. We ended up selling or giving away about 90% of our things. While our possessions don’t ultimately matter that much, it’s still a big emotional cost, and it’s hard to stop going through the list of hard choices we made and second guessing it all.
The international flight was not very hard, but after experiencing strangely empty airports we were shocked to arrive in the very crowded Orlando airport and to discover that outside the airport few people are wearing masks anymore. It all feels very post-Covid here, which is very surprising to me. Definitely not what I expected. What I did expect was that our time here would be full up with family time, which has been excellent. We spent the first week at Rebecca’s parent’s house in Orlando, and then joined her extended family at a beach condo for Thanksgiving week. Then we came to Gainesville for some time with her brother and even got to go to a Florida Gator’s football game. It has been really good to spend this great time with family!
This week we will be going with Rebecca’s parents to spend a week with them in Colorado. From there we will fly to Minnesota and have a month to see family and friends there. We’ll be having a couple open houses during that time and hope to see many of you there.
We are really excited for our move to Asia Minor, but it seems a little unreal in the midst of our whirlwind visit here. Here’s a few things we could use help with us during our visit.
- Adult and kid hats and gloves to borrow from December 1 – January 8. (Pick up and drop off in Orlando. Our package with hats and gloves from East Asia won’t arrive in time to be useful in Colorado and Minnesota.)
- An extra vehicle (small is ok) to create flexibility during our time in MN, December 9-January 7.
- Sign up in advance for one of our open house opportunities to see us while we are in Minnesota.
Thanks for your prayers for peace, joy and provision in the midst of this strange season.
Jeff, Rebecca, Miriam, Isaac, David and Elijah Staege