A lot of Hmong people asked me why we didn’t just make plans to stay with them. I guess that would have been less expensive, but I felt bad, as if I were already imposing on them. So on our last day we checked out of the Red Roof Inn and headed out for our last visit to Milwaukee. I was sorry to receive a message from Milwaukee member Ka that she, her husband Jimmy and her three adorable daughters were still in Appleton (where Jimmy had been playing in the football tournament and where Ka’s parents live), so they wouldn’t be able to make our Monday morning appointment. This is probably the one thing I regret about the entire trip, not being able to see Mala and Nali (I actually ran into Jimmy, Ka and their newest baby, Hayden, whose chubby baby picture you can see me kissing on Day 3 at the Oshkosh, tournament, but OMG, those two older girls…), and I’m afraid the next time I see them they won’t remember me! Though Ka says they talk about me and Johns quite often and with much fondness. The feeling is mutual, girls, believe me. We drove around, taking in a few sights and getting a good feeling of the beautiful, dirty city (although I’m afraid to say I don’t remember it nearly as well as I once did!), looking at the skyline from the North Avenue park, passing by Marquette University, seeing the Frank Lloyd Wright-esque art museum and checking out the lake, even passing by Dep’s Hall of Fades on 27th Street. We stopped by a couple of houses and places to find people not home (“Here’s your taste of missionary work,” I told Mom and Dad) and places closed (due to Labor Day—no Safe House or Sprecher root beer… tsk).
We stopped by Molly Moua’s house to say hello to her and her two daughters Emily and Brittany, both now much taller and getting ready to be in middle school together, and then made for one last visit to the Barretts and then the 1 ½ hour drive back to Chicago.
We didn’t have time to stop by the temple or do any sight-seeing there, but we were ready to get on the airplane and get home to recoup as much as possible before going to school the next day (EEP! Moving! Books! Classes! *dies*).
After a minor crisis involving security not letting me past due to my temporary license (even though it had been allowed at three checkpoints prior) and a detailed security check, we were boarded, and now here I sit. The adorable toddler boy in the row ahead of me spent several minutes expressing just how unhappy he was to be traveling, but his dad is now walking around the back of the cabin while the little one falls asleep. I’m sitting in on the aisle in between groups of people who don’t speak English and Mom and Dad are sitting behind me. My eyes are tired, but my heart is happy. It wasn’t too, too weird to go to Wisconsin as a non-missionary, and it was the perfect time. Any sooner and it would have seemed like I never left, and any later and I might have been forgotten already. It was just amazing to see the fruits of the work I did there, and even though I know that the work isn’t mine, it was nice to know that I might have made a difference in the lives of some of these children of God. Everyone said just the nicest things about me to Mom and Dad, but I tried not to hear. That’s not why I was doing it. Some of these people I want to be friends with forever. And now my laptop battery is about to die.
Sib ntsib dua.