Early morning Tuesday, May 31, 2011....the sun is just barely peeking up over the Costa Rican hills and we are pulling into the Liberia airport. It seems very surreal that our year here is over. My head is spinning with so many different emotions. I am filled with anticipation and excitement to be reunited with our families again, but my heart is aching as I think about the many friends here we are leaving behind. I know that each of my kids and Lane are feeling the same as well. It is a very melancholy feeling, and the pouring rain is only adding to our emotion., but is brings me back to the first title of this blog...smiles and rain. Very fitting.
It was a very tender thing to witness Jose saying goodbye to his "best brother"....that is what he always calls him. He had on his "Terminator"t-shirt that he only saves for special occasions....and he said, "the machine is crying!" ah....it was very tearful.
Neida and Jose spent the night with us and helped us get all our luggage to the airport, since we needed two cars. They also stood watch over our bags while we were getting checked in. We love them so much. They stood at the window as we passed through to the boarding area...waving and blowing kisses at us. My heart was in my throat. I was thinking back to the first time we met them and how we felt a connection with them right away. That connection grew into a beautiful friendship that will last forever. Stepping onto the plane was difficult. I did a lot of pondering during the flight. My heart was filled with gratitude for all that our family experienced this past year. I am so thankful that we followed our hearts and took the opportunity to do this. It was a year of challenges and growth, eye opening experiences, facing fears, new people to love, service opportunities, learning, patience, quiet time, laughter and tears. I wouldn't trade any of it. As the plane lifted up over the hills and the ocean came into view, it was hard to hold back my tears. I never would have dreamed that this little country would hold such a special place in my heart. We flew over Nicaragua and could see the volcanoes rising up out of Ometepe Island where our journey began....I thought of our little island family there and my tears continued. I feel so blessed to have friendships with people in so many places. They have enriched my life so much. Knowing that the plane would be landing soon in my own beautiful country, I began to get very excited. After all, the most important people in my life are there. My family.
Well....we finally arrived on the other end and were happy to see our car once again. Lora and Emma were especially excited about this as you can see. It felt strangely familiar.
We have now been back for 10 days and it has been so wonderful. I have never thought Utah looked more beautiful and our families as well. So far, we have had a family wedding, graduation party, birthday party, and baby blessing. It has been busy with so many good things and I have enjoyed every minute. Seeing my kids together with their cousins again has been so fun. They are in heaven.
This will be the last post. That seems sad and yet fulfilling at the same time. I am so thankful that I have kept this blog so that my children and Lane and I will never forget the details of our year. I hope to print it into a book so that we will have it as a keepsake forever. Even if someday it is lost, I know that all of it is stamped into our hearts and has become a part of us. Seeing the beautiful Salt Lake temple again had more meaning than ever. I am so thankful for my knowledge and testimony of eternal family and eternal relationships.
So I will say goodbye to this blog and remind all who have been reading it, including myself...to always
ENJOY THE JOURNEY.