For some reason I can't turn off the closed captioning on my Jillian Michael's Extreme Shed & Shred DVD and I had to pause it (not because I was too fatigued to continue, but because a child needed my immediate attention) in the middle of Jillian's cool-down motivational speech. The words paused on the bottom of the screen that I could barely make out due to the sweat dripping in my eyes were: You lived through it.
That got me to thinking about my mindset for our 1st Mozambique experience versus how I'm preparing this time. Last year, I kept telling myself, "You can do anything for 10 weeks." Harvest School was an incredible experience, but one I had psyched myself up to get through, to endure, to survive. From the beginning I had my eyes on the prize: finishing well. Mostly finishing, but if I could do it well - then I would be bi-winning. For a trivial example, we brought food with us - oatmeal, Jolly Ranchers, life-saving Starbucks Via, etc and we rationed those things trying to make them last the whole time. Hanging on to things like that perpetuated the feeling that we needed them to feel normal and happy. There's no way pack enough comfort food for 6 months (we'll be there for 2 years, but have to leave at least every 6 months to renew or visas/stock back up on trash bags and malaria medicine...) so that pressure is a non-issue this time around. But don't kid yourself, I'm bringing Via again; when I said "life-saving" I wasn't messing around.
This time around is a whole different ball game. First of all, the terror of the unknown has been taken care of and I have a better idea of what to expect. My pep talk this time is, "You're not there to live through it, you're there to LIVE!" We are going to call Pemba home for a while and that's where we are going to thrive not just survive. This is where Judah is going to learn to speak Portuguese, Luciana will learn to read, and Asher will be potty trained (Thanks, Moz.). There's a good chance Shawn will get to be a better pilot and I will see children go from being hopeless to having opportunities and choices.
So, we press on living our lives by faith. This promises to be our biggest adventure to date and I have kissed the word normal goodbye.