Friday, December 11, 2015

Home for the Holidays

We enjoyed our time with Ormonds.  However, as soon as it was time for them to leave we had to scramble to get ready for our own big trip back to the USA.  We will fly out on 15 December and will come back on 8 January.  I still can hardly believe we are actually going home for the holidays.

We are excited beyond words that Aaron and Stephanie have chosen to go to the temple - which is the real reason we are going.  On top of that, however, is a chance to see so many we love and to enjoy having a real white Christmas in Idaho.

We have been packing and unpacking and repacking our suitcases to get them all at just the right weight.   We want to take home all the little things we have picked up in the islands, plus Christmas presents we have for our family.   Additionally, we will take some of the clothes/shoes/other stuff we brought with us that we don't often use and leave them in our storage shed so they won't take up space or weight on our final exit.   Then, on our return trip back to New Zealand after the holidays, that space will go to some of the supplies we will pick up in America that we can't easily get here.   We will also raid our clothing box in the storage shed for a few items to bring back.   Oh, what a delight to have something different from the four or five mix-and-match outfits I've worn over and over again since this mission started.  

We didn't have a clear idea of what would be practical for us here. The only direction we had was the mission guidelines which are really intended for the young missionaries who have very different rules from Senior missionaries.  We definitely wish we had brought more casual wear for the things we get to do on our P-days.  So we are grateful to get the unexpected blessing to get a Do-Over on our wardrobes at the half way point of our mission.

Besides just wanting to change out some clothes, we are making lists, trying to think of anything and everything we might want to consider to bring back with us.   People back in America have NO idea what a blessing it is to be able to just go to a store and have such a wide selection of goods available to them.  

We are fortunate in that New Zealand is very much part of the developed world and does have most modern conveniences.  Still, there are so many brands and products that we just never see here. Others are in the store but are outrageously expensive.   (Example, in the USA a LARGE bottle of hydrogen peroxide is less than $1.00.   Here I got a TINY bottle for $10.00.   I almost choked!)

We will restock on vitamins and bring back another full year of our prescription meds.  We will get Shake 'N'Bake and sun screen, a box of Larry's favorite granola and who knows what else?    
We know this will NOT be a restful holiday.   We have quite a long road trip planned in order to see as many of our family and friends along the way as we can.  (Also to get my car from where it is stored in Arizona up to Idaho where we will be when this mission ends.)   We have so many details yet to get sorted out.  Through all the planning,  I've been on pins and needles with anticipation for days.

Last Christmas was so forlorn - here in a far away land with no clue of what we were supposed to be doing and missing our family terribly.   This year we are nearly giddy to know we get to go home.   What a blessing!    We so appreciate the fact that President Pearson and President Balli both gave us the green light to make this trip.  Rules for Senior missions are indeed VERY different from those of the young Elders and Sisters.  I think if more seniors knew just how flexible it really can be there might be less hesitation for people who hold back from committing to a full time mission.

Elder Pearson told us in Tonga that if any Sr. missionary had a special family event they wanted to be part of they should go if they could afford to do so.   This will definitely strain our budget.  We never expected or planned for this.  But once we got over the initial worry over the price tag and decided it was the right thing for us to do we just went for it.   Now, as the days are getting closer for our departure, I am so very glad we did.   We are going HOME for the holidays.   I can't wait!

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