The Journey Home - Skillful Cook
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The Journey Home

Sunset beyond an airplane wing.

I just ate one of my sister's citrus scones with butter and honey that was in the welcome home basket from my family and I'm wearing a grey hoodie because our house is just a little bit cold. Did you hear that? COLD. Some things about being home are really, really nice.

We arrived yesterday, and besides seeing family and friends and eating the world's most incredible scones, I enjoyed a very large BBQ Chopped Chicken Salad, a hot, high-pressure shower, and 12 hours of sleep in the world's most comfortable bed (that would be OUR bed) last night. Those crisp white sheets and white fluffy comforter and thick, feathery pillows? It was 100x sweeter than I had remembered, especially coming from a final few hot days with no furniture, no fans, and no AC.

Woman sitting on the wooden floor in an apartment.

Although it's all so suddenly wonderful and luxurious, it's hard to know exactly how to feel because in order to be here, we said goodbye to our warm Filipino neighbors, friends, and the 80 precious children that we had the privilege of working with this year.

Three people smiling at the camera.

And the dogs. The dog goodbyes were so hard.

Woman looking at two dogs.

Just kidding. These were our garage dogs that kept me awake all night and even though they're kinda cute, I'm totally okay parting ways. We actually thought about bringing the black and white spotted one home with us because she's the happiest little thing and she doesn't bark. That lasted for about 2 seconds. Not one of our better ideas.

Man in an empty apartment.

After the emotional goodbye at the shelter (which I'm hoping to share a video of in a few days when I get my life organized again) my class, my four girls, asked if they could come with us to the airport. They each brought their prized bottle of Coke and bag of malted milk balls saved from last night's movie so they could have some snacks in the car. They were 150% giddy about getting to stay up late and drive across the city with us.

But even with all that, the ride to the airport was pretty quiet, and that final group goodbye hug could not have lasted long enough.

Woman hugging children.

I hope I can always look at that photo and remember that feeling. Like warmth just seeping into your heart.

It feels good to be home, and surprisingly really normal. Which makes it weird. Because it's normal. Confusing, totally different, emotional, yet here I am on my same old couch in my same old sweatshirt looking through the same old window, and the grass is still long and green, the neighbor's patio is still covered with plants, and our grill cover is still dirty. Like nothing ever happened.

But something DID happen this year, and IS continuing to happen all the time, and not just in the Philippines but all around the world. In the midst of pain and poverty, there is a lot of God's hope and healing happening through places like CSC. I am just bursting at the seams with pictures and videos from our last few weeks in Cebu and I am too excited to share them. Get yourself ready now.

Welcome home sign and food on a table.

Things will be a little bit off-schedule for a while because I'm pretending those big boxes labeled “miscellaneous kitchen” do not exist, and I'm indefinitely avoiding my grocery store of choice, SuperTarget. My eating plans involve mostly my mom's homemade granola, those life changing scones, and sorry to be so predictable: Chipotle.

I did have visions of a citrus scones post coming up compliments of my baking genius sister, but that means I have to save at least one scone and photograph it, probably on top of my suitcase or something, which reminds me - where's my camera again? Hmm. We'll see how that one plays out.

Unpacking on the floor.

Thank you for being sweet and caring. ♥ from Minnesota!

Filed Under: Living Abroad

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  1. Skillful Cook Logo

    Thank so much for sharing! Having a hard time fighting back tears reading this. Reminds me somewhat of leaving the Philippines. I have not been in PI for 15 years and having grown up there, malt balls were one of my favorite childhood snack! Plus any soda in a glass bottle. Because that was the only they had it back then.

  2. Skillful Cook Logo

    Glad you made it back and what a wonderful year you had! I first started reading this blog while you were in the Philippines and it holds a special place in my heart since our family sponsors a child who is from there and is the same age as our own son. Reading your blog made me feel like I knew a little more about a place I previously knew nothing about. I have made many many of your recipes and look forward to more to come! Have a fun week getting back into your “normal”!

  3. Skillful Cook Logo

    Welcome home! I remember when you left. It feels like just yesterday. I can only imagine how SURREAL it is to be back! I know that when I travel for 4-5 weeks at a time, that it feels strange and surreal to be back home; can only imagine after a year. I would love to hear about your reflections after it’s had time to sink in in the coming weeks, months, etc if you would do it all over again, what you think the best/worst things were, etc. If you feel like sharing, I would love to read a post like that!

  4. Skillful Cook Logo

    Thanks for sharing.

    Each time I came back from a mission trip I had those same feelings. Oddly normal to be back home but confusing in what I should feel and how to get back in the swing of normal life yet not live it like I was never gone.

    Welcome home!

  5. Skillful Cook Logo

    Welcome home!! And the next chapter begins….scones are a pretty good way to start it off!

  6. Skillful Cook Logo

    Thank you for the year you and Bjork stayed in our country. I am sure you both brought a lot of blessings to others just by being there in Cebu.

  7. Skillful Cook Logo

    Welcome home Lyndsay and Bjork! We started following/reading your blog about 7 months ago, half way thru your journey, it’s been fun to follow all your adventures!
    Looking forward to the next!

  8. Skillful Cook Logo

    Welcome home! Why is it always the high-pressure showers and Chipotle that call out to use the moment that the plane lands and starts taxi-ing towards good old MSP? Hope your adjustment is smooth and that you don’t have a panic attack in Target like I did once. 🙂 What a perfect time of year to be coming back to MN – enjoy the family, cool weather, and scones!

  9. Skillful Cook Logo

    Welcome home! We kept a light on for ya. Looking forward to the video and more food.
    God bless!

  10. Skillful Cook Logo

    Welcome Home! What seems special about you two is that it’s obvious you’ll keep helping those sweet children and many others like them and that although your life is back to a new normal it is also forever changed. Thanks for letting readers like me have a glimpse into your lives.

  11. Skillful Cook Logo

    WELCOME HOME! Seriously – what you did over there – INSPIRING! You changed quite a few lives and inspired us all to be better in all that we do. I’m so glad that y’all arrived safely and I’m looking forward to what your next chapter will be. Oh – and before I forget – my Sous Pug thinks that you should have a pug of your very own to work with you in the kitchen 😉

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Our anniversary is coming up… perfect time for a sweet gift… I’m crossing my fingers that there’s a wrinkly pug face in my future… 🙂

  12. Skillful Cook Logo

    I just love you and your style. 🙂 Welcome home and happy unpacking and making everything normal again and adjusting to the crazy culture we live in.

  13. Skillful Cook Logo

    Welcome home!! I am so glad everything went smooth and you guys had nice happy goodbyes with everyone! It must feel crazy to be back and like everything all normal again. Weird!
    Hope you start to get settled and I can not wait for more photos! I love following along!

  14. Skillful Cook Logo

    Welcome back to the states!!! Loved reading all of your blog entries while you were abroad. You guys are both such an inspiration. So cool you could do it as a couple too 🙂 Many people think life changing, people helping stuff like that isn’t do able because they are older, or married. Simply not true. Can’t wait for what comes out of your kitchen now that you have a.c. 🙂 Glad you had a safe trip back.

  15. Skillful Cook Logo

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on your journey home! Some of the kids at the Shelter were talking about you two yesterday :). I am sure I will hear many more stories of you both in the weeks to come!
    In hearing of your transition back, it is making us think forward to our first time home as well. Our list of foods we are looking forward to is endless! And of course, seeing our beloved dog for the first time is something we talk about almost daily. Enjoy your time at home!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      AHHHH! That just makes me heart swell. Give them hugs and kisses from T Lindsay! 🙂 When are you guys headed back next?