I am coming home.
Don't worry, nothing terrible has happened. In fact, this year has been one of the best years I can remember. I wish I could go back and live it over again, just because I enjoyed it so much. Life on this ship is beautiful and amazing, and I only see things getting better for this precious and powerful community next year. But deep in my heart, in the place where I know things, I know that it's time for me to come home to the US and be there for a while.
Now, I imagine that you probably have one or two questions for me. I have therefore created this handy-dandy list of "Frequently Asked Questions" for your personal satisfaction and further illumination.
Sarah's Going Home F.A.Q.s
1. When are you coming?
The current plan is for me to finish out the field service here in Tamatave, sail with the ship to Durban, South Africa, and then somehow wend my way to Geneva, Switzerland for one last hurrah with some ship friends (and my mom!). After that, I'll fly back over the "pond" and be state-side some time around the 12th or 13th of July.
2. What are you going to do when you get here?
This is a very good question. My first plan is to spend some good quality time with family and friends in California, Idaho, and Washington. I'm talking like two or three weeks in each place (if you don't mind giving up your couch for that long). I want to re-connect and to invest in these relationships, to make new memories, to just "be" for a while.
After that, I am not sure what I'm going to do. I feel myself being drawn in a certain direction, but I haven't quite found the right words to say exactly what that is yet.
3. Where, exactly, is home now?
Honestly, I don't know. At present, I find myself in the beautiful but heart-breaking position of saying goodbye to a place that has become my home, and to people who have become part of the everyday fabric of Me. My life is beautiful here. I love my students, and am so proud of the amazing people they are becoming. I love my friends, who take such good care of me. I love my community, this delicious variety of cultures and personalities all bound together for a common purpose. I love what we stand for, the spiritual hope of Christ made real in the healing and deliverance of the blind, the lame and the outcast. I wish everyone had a home like this. I wish we all had the chance to give up a measure of independence and comfort so that we could work as communities to invest in the poor, to heal the broken, to be a living breathing manifestation of the hands and feet of Christ. I am seriously hoping I can find some sort of community like that when I come back. I guess when I do, that will be home for me.
4. What about money?
Currently, the money that is donated on my behalf goes into a crew account, from which my crew fees, insurance, and other costs are withdrawn. When I leave, I would like to transfer any leftover funds into Mercy Ships' general fund, where it will be used to continue the good work that we do here. Of course I am going to need to spend some money to travel to the states and to start over, and I have a little bit set aside in my own bank account for that purpose. If you want to help out with that, please let me know so that I can transfer your gift from my crew account to my personal bank account. Otherwise, any other funds that I receive between now and the end of the field service are going to be used to support Mercy Ships.
5. Is this the end for you and Mercy Ships?
No. I will always be part of the Mercy Ships family, and I certainly hope that I find myself traveling back to the ship (or even checking out the new ship after it's finished) someday soon. I just know that for now, I need to spend some time learning how to live in America again.
6. What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?
African or European? It doesn't matter because the answer is 42.