This evening I was walking home from the hospital, I realized that this is home.
It doesn't always feel that way. Not at all. But after being gone for 2 weeks (in Cameroon! More on that later), coming back to somewhere familiar has been really nice. When I walk through the hospital, I see multiple people who I know and stop to say hello. When I go out to buy more megabytes for my phone, I see people there who I know. And as I walk down the street, I hear my name, and look up to see someone who knows my name, although whether I know them or not is debatable. (It does help that multiple Sarah's have been here over the years...it's a safe guess if you see a white girl.) Coming back after being gone (in big, unfamiliar cities) has made me realize that I have friends here.
Living here isn't always easy. For multiple reasons. One of them, for me, is the very friendly, involved culture. I'm an introvert. The only one in Chad, I sometimes think. I love people, but I don't always love talking to them, and I don't always want to be with them 24/7. That hasn't necessarily changed here. But I'm learning. I'm learning how to talk to people that I don't know. It's especially fun when we don't speak the same language. At all. I'm learning that sometimes I just want to go in my room and close the door, but playing with my kids is more rewarding. And I'm learning that relationships are rewarding. And those are built, incidentally, by talking to strangers. I've learned a lot of things here. I still have a lot to learn, but I wouldn't change the experience I've had here. When I leave, a piece of my heart will stay here always.
But while I'm talking about home, one month from tomorrow, I leave Béré. I few days later, I arrive back in Portland, my other home. I definitely left a piece of my heart there when I came here, so it will be good to be back. Maybe someday I'll have left pieces of my heart all over the world, so that wherever I go, I'll be at home.