I am a very sentimental person.
I'm the type of person that, before I leave home on a lengthy trip, I'm very aware of the "last time" I'll see this or do that, and try to soak in details that I want to remember. Leaving Tennessee to come up here to Alaska for 5 1/2 months was no exception, and it was even heightened because it was the longest stretch of time I'd ever been away from home. I was excited about the adventure and opportunity, but was emotional about leaving my home and family for so long, knowing there would be limited communication from camp.
Once I got to Alaska, I was really homesick for probably the first time in my adult life. I've been across the globe more than once, and while it can be lonely and I've missed certain people, I don't ever remember being actually homesick or missing my family as much as I did for the first few weeks I was in Alaska.
When we saw the Smoky Mountains on a movie one night, my heart hurt and I just wanted to be back home.
I felt out-of-place among all the new people I was meeting and really uncertain about my new job/place at camp. My introvert personality wanted to hide from the newness and the pressure to "fit in."
For several weeks -- or maybe more -- I cried every time Carrie Underwood's song "Don't Forget to Remember Me" came on my iPod.
A few days ago, I began to realize the magnitude of the change that took place over the last several months. As I sat talking and laughing with a group of my camp coworkers, I remembered how, sitting in the same restaurant with the same people back in April, I had felt so uncomfortable and out-of-place... but now felt so at home, part of the family.
And to think that in April, I wasn't even sure that I wanted to be in Alaska, and missed Tennessee so badly.... now my heart ached to think about leaving Alaska. It captured me. I fell in love with it. Now the homesickness would be reversed. Now I'd be homesick for Alaska.
I have loved every place I've visited on mission trips. Coming home is always a hard process. It feels harder this time -- maybe because I was there for so long and it was such a life-altering experience. Or maybe because God has more planned for me there. Maybe it is home, in some way, though Tennessee will always be my home.
All I know is that this quote is entirely true: