Oh, you’re going back to America for a holiday huh? Kinda, sorta.
While we do get to visit briefly with our precious family, but t’s a work trip: fundraising, human trafficking awareness events, donor functions and church visits. It’s exhausting…
Here’s what it takes to”COME HOME” from the mission field..
*Make airplane reservations six months in advance: Seoul, Taipei,Gangzhou, Bangkok, Hong Kong which way to go?
*Acquire housing, transportation and meals for all the six locations you will be living in.
*Wife gets out suitcases and begins to pack one month in advance.
*Wife gets out husband’s suitcase day before the flight and he still hasn’t packed 6 hours before flight time.
*Go to nine different local Cambodian pharmacies to acquire all necessary “just in case” medications.
*Crack a tooth 2 days before you leave and have to get it repaired where?
*Travel to far off remote small strip mall to find your airline to choose your seat assignment.
*Because you’re coming home for six weeks you have to pay your rent and electricity two months in advance so..
*Go to an ATM machine every day for two weeks to get enough cash because the limit here is so small.
*Fill out countless forms because your visa expires when you get back.
*Fill out those same countless forms again because your drivers license will expire before you get back.
*Purchase 24 passport photos and 12 thumbprints later you may or may not get your visa or drivers license.
*Have long sad tearful temporary goodbyes to all your Cambodian friends and coworkers (miss them already).
*Fill an entire suitcase of Made27 artisian products, coconut balls for gifts, countless scarves, and birthday and wrapped Christmas presents for the rest of the year for all family members.
*Completely empty and clean out refrigerator in case the power goes off while you’re gone.
*Wrap or put in plastic tubs any food products left in your cupboard so the ants don’t take over.
*Clean apartment top to bottom, strip all the beds, clean mosquito netting.
*Put mothballs in all closets and drawers where clothing is kept.
*Bug bomb the whole place before you leave.
*Give your 22 plants to your friend so they can water while you’re gone.
*Pray your moto is still here when you return.
*You experience 3 different currencies on the route home- make sure you have enough?
*Try to remember what time zone you’re in?
*Deep breathing as you ponder the 30 hour flight and swollen ankles- pack compression socks.
*Pack 19.9999999 kilos in each suitcase (20K max) see photo yeah!
*Don’t forget your old 110v curling iron you use once a year in the states.
*Pack an entire bag of phone cords, outlet adaptors, car jacks, battery packs, kindle chargers, iPad chargers, computer chargers, small speaker.
*Notice you need a whole new wardrobe after living in SE Asia 4 years- it’s all falling apart after being cleaned and air dried outside in the sun.
*Disconnect internet, swap out Cambodian SIM card, remember to go on airplane mode, buy a $1 phone scratch card to have minutes on your phone when you return in the middle of the night and need to book an Uber.
*Quick mani pedi ($12 here) with your sweet expat friend you’ll miss.
*Remember to say “thank you” in English instead of “សូមអរគុណច្រើន” in Khmer.
*Oops – last-minute T-shirt order came in for Made27 for 440 shirts! *Again have to go to three different ATMs to get enough funds to cover the T-shirts. By the way did you know our human trafficking survivors can make your company or church T-shirts?
*Your 80-year-old mother again reminds you she’s counting the minutes until you are “safe” on US soil again.
*Have beef lok lak, sour soup and fresh coconut juice one more time.
*But can’t wait for chips and salsa, diet Dr Pepper, Tommy’s Pizza, Captain Curt’s and red Twizzlers!
And it is worth every step. Hello family and friends!