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Tonight seemed like a good night to start cleaning up my bedroom.
My older sister and brother-in-law are coming into town next week, and they may not be staying with us, but they are visitors, and it looks like a tornado localized to my bedroom swept through and made a mess of everything.
The problem is that I ran into a stack of old notebooks from my college days, and putting those away led me to the drawers where most of my old writing projects now reside.
Getting into those drawers meant going through them, looking through old and unfinished stories I might want to finish someday.
And going through those old stories made me think of my old journals, which led me to the journal I kept from my trip to Kenya five months ago.

That journal's been sitting on a high shelf, untouched for almost as long as I've been home.
There have been a few moments here and there in the intervening months where I've thought about pulling it down, dusting it off, reading it, and maybe throwing some words out into the blogosphere about that trip.
This trip I think about as much as, if not more than, my experiences on The World Race.

Because I do think about it all the time.
I think about my first twenty-four hours back in Kenya, and standing on a hill looking out to see the Indian Ocean in the far distance as the sun started setting behind me, leaving my camera in my purse because I knew I was standing in a moment there was no capturing the way I was experiencing it.
I think about the unexpected thrill, on the way home, of getting to see Mount Kilimanjaro from the air.
I think about the boarding house we stayed at, and the rapport we developed with the staff there by the end of our stay.
I think about the hotel restaurant we ate breakfast at almost every morning, and the walk to it, and how it seemed to be the one place in the world where we could get away with bringing in food from other places to eat there without being asked to leave.
I think about the 'buses' and motorbikes and other means of transportation we used to get around.
I think about the never-ending hospitality, the willingness to stop in the middle of whatever they're doing whenever a visitor arrives that challenges me to be more open and gracious and hospitable.

More than all of the above, though, I think about the people.
Ruth and Esther. Pastor Julius. Gladys. Their children. Isaiah's wife. Miriam. Meshach. His wife. His daughter. Our driver to and from the airport and his family. John. His wife and children.
So many names, so many faces… my fingers would probably fall off if I tried to type all of the ones I remember out.
So many friends I dearly miss and cannot wait to see again.

Part of the reason why I haven't written much has been the whirlwind of events unfolding at home before I got on the plane to come back to America.
My dad. The arrival of my youngest nephew. My sister and her family. My aunt.
But part of it is the horribly wonderful ache of being away from a place and people I love that hits whenever I think about them.
It's difficult to write through the ache sometimes, so I just haven't tried.

I hope to come back to writing about Kenya soon.
And I hope that when I do, you'll see a glimpse of the reasons why my love runs so deep.

Until next time.


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