Six Minutes

Yesterday it teased 80 degrees here. Yep, y’all, we’re in Texas.

The day before we left, the movers accidentally left Madeline the internationally-traveling cat OUT of the house. She ran away for the entire day. We cried. We looked. We lamented. But no cat. One hour before we were to leave for an airport hotel, she showed up. I think she had a sly smile on her face. I feel sure she knew all the sad theatrics in our home and prolonged our agony as long as she could.

Wednesday the 13th we got up at 4:00 AM and started our 22 hours of traveling. Everything in Nice went well, cat meowing notwithstanding. She sounded more like muh-woooowww, really low and growly.

In Amsterdam, our flight got delayed, which caused us to miss our connection in Minneapolils. I called one set of friends who were going to meet us at the airport, but I spaced out on calling Sophie’s friend, so she and her family and a bunch of other kids arrived at the airport, only to see us NOT get off a plane. I feel horrible about it. My jetlagged brain still hasn’t cleared.

We arrived about 7:00 PM to several sweet friends with signs and good ol’ American hugs. I found myself telling myself not to lean in and kiss folks. I’m so used to the kiss-kiss French greeting! I didn’t cry until John, a wonderful man who has pray-pray-prayed for us these past two years said something like, “We’re so glad you’re home.” Something in his fatherly, tender voice made me crack. Another family brought us gift cards. Several others braved the one-hour drive to hug us. Our dear friends Dave and Rae drove us to their home where we had some chili. Some other friends brought over a car to borrow.

The airline didn’t have our luggage, but they did have my guitar. A day later we received the remaining 9 bags.

We arrived in our little home at 9 PM and went to bed. Our temporary home is an apartment in the corner of a big barn (yes, barn) on a 300 acre ranch/camp. It’s peaceful and wonderful and amazing. Horses live right outside our windows! My dear friend Leslie and her family spent a lot of time adding furniture, food, decor, and even a little Christmas tree for us. We were overwhelmed by their generosity. Yesterday, Sarah (of Eddie and Sarah who own the place) gave us a tour.

I woke up at 4:00 AM (something about that time!) and wrote an article that I had due. That day we went grocery shopping. I nearly broke down crying in the store, hearing tons of American songs, walking wide, uncrowded aisles, finding cheddar cheese in abundance, and not having to stress out at the checkout line (free bags, a boy who bagged and BROUGHT our groceries to our car). Everyone was so friendly and kind. Wow.

I made dinner (meatloaf, baked potatoes, salad) and fell asleep delirious at 8 pm.

Yesterday we ran one hundred errands, something we could never do in France, which prompts the title of this post. Many of you remember our 8 hour wait at the prefecture in France to renew our visas. So we went to the DMV to get our licenses. A sense of quiet panic rose inside me. How long would it take? Would our children grumble? Would the people be mean and angry?

Patrick and I got our Texas licenses in six minutes. Six minutes!!! Wow! We’re not in France anymore.

And during lunch (we had Mexican food), I saw my dear friend D’Ann!!!!!!! How cool is that! Our friends Rod and Mary met us for a movie with the kids, then we went home, fed the kids, and went to a Christmas party at Dave and Rae’s. So much fun.

This morning Patrick is making bacon (I heard there is such a thing as chicken fried bacon here. Sheesh! We ARE in America!) and eggs, and we have nothing planned today but to organize our little home and unpack ten suitcases.

We are home, well prayed for, well cared for, well loved. I am amazed at the generosity of God’s people, and nearly cry every time someone shows us an act of kindness. It’s overwhelming.

But in a corner of my heart lives my affection for my friends in France. I’ll be grieving for a long time, thankful for God’s faithfulness to us in France.

And He is yet faithful.

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