Today I finally got to see my friend Hasina for the first time since we parted ways at the end of summer 2013 when we both worked at Sky Ranch Lutheran Camp in Colorado. It was Hasina's first time outside of the U.S. and my first summer away from home. We talked a lot about homesickness, family, and the things that we love about home. That summer we shared a room, went on weekend hikes, played jokes on each other, co-counseled a cabin together, bonded over our similarities, and appreciated our differences. While we had differing first languages, we used French a lot to communicate. After three months, we said good-bye, promising that we would see each other again someday and joking that if we ever got married, we would invite each other to our weddings.
Little did we know that at the end of the following summer, I would find myself on a flight to Madagascar. Hasina is the only person on this whole island who even knew I existed before a little over a year ago. It has been such a blessing to have a friend who has spent time as a newcomer in my country and welcomed me in hers. We don't live far from each other here in Madagascar, but it took us a long time to get organized and meet up. We stood outside my church this morning laughing and reminiscing. After spending significant time in each other's countries, we are connected in a way that transcends the time we have spent apart. Just two years ago, I spoke English and French and Madagascar was a faraway country on a map. Hasina spoke Malagasy and French and had passed an English test to work as an international camp counselor in the U.S. Today we didn't need to speak a word of French to communicate. Today we both have 'homes' in Madagascar and the United States. We have learned each other's languages, eaten each other's food, and worshipped in each other's churches. It was a moment so full of peace and joy and recognition of God at work in this journey. I am so thankful for Hasina's friendship and look forward to the next time our lives spiral around close to this same spot.
|Hasina and I during our last week in Colorado, summer 2013.|