We flew from Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday, taking a route through Taipei in Taiwan for the first time with EVA. The carrier is nothing special, eight seats across on our flight and packed all the way back. But the service was decent and the in-flight entertainment worked. The bonus for us was the terminal in Taipei which was clean and efficient. The longer flight from KL meant a shorter flight to North America, and anything that reduces the length of that monster is appreciated.

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Jon and Nic and the kids were waiting for us at the other end and it was a total delight to see them all. Ben was good enough to vacate his room for our stay, and we have been quite happily ensconced outside of Seattle since then, confining ourselves to walks to the school and the grocery store and going no further than the valley for church yesterday. If you were to ask us what we having been doing, I’m afraid it wouldn’t amount to much. And that, I suppose, is precisely the point.

Going home doesn’t mean you dash around doing all the things you miss, because quite frankly there isn’t much of that we miss. What we miss, and are getting stocked up on, is simply sitting around chatting with our kids and grandkids and fitting back into their lives. Having a barbeque on the deck, and a ride on our bikes around the block; having a meal together and snuggling on the couch reading a book with the grandchildren. These are the things that you can’t get anywhere else.

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We went out for dinner at a very nice restaurant overlooking the water, and then took a walk around the locks that are still much in use nearby. We watched for a while as the boats went through and the bridge went up, and then we had a look at the fish ladders that have been built nearby so that the salmon can swim downstream and out to sea in the Spring (late May), and upstream to spawn in the Fall (September). The grandkids have been a constant delight with their chatter and their cheer. We both love that uncluttered take on life. When we were talking through our options for the year ahead, Pam said at one point, “We’re not quite sure what we are doing.” Eli, the youngest, said in exasperation, “We’re eating supper, grandma!” Love the statement of the obvious!

Family, friends and former students; that is about the sum of it, I’m afraid. Nothing terribly exciting; nothing terribly new. But irreplaceable. And being away from them is the cost of serving the Lord in a foreign land. I can’t imagine how it must have been in the early days when missionaries got home once every four years. How did they ever manage to leave again? We are finding that an entire year is just too long, especially when the little ones are this age. We are missing so much!

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