There is a song by Christian singer Fernando Ortega that was popular among the elders in the mission field called "This Time Next Year," and it always led to conversation about where each of us would be the year following. Eventually the time came that we knew that a year later one or all of us would be home. Well, here I am, celebrating my one year anniversary of coming home and being released as a missionary. I remember being extremely nonplussed when a freak blizzard caused cancellation of all flights on the date we were initially scheduled to fly home, leading to two additional days of cabin fever-inflicted elders and a hard-working mission president just trying to get his boys home for Easter. My word, has it really been a year? It seems really not that long ago that I took off my nametag for the last time. I remember reaching six months, but this year mark really sneaked up on me. I think I adjusted pretty well, in general, and was ready to get back to dealing with things and making decisions, even though it's pretty rough sometimes to get back into the swing of things after being out of the loop for so long. I still love to hear about how my elders are, and how the Hmong people I knew in Wisconsin are doing, especially those who felt the converting power of the Spirit. Back at home, some of the things that have been going on since last year have been expected adjustments, but others really took me by surprise. All in all this year has been a whirlwind of ups and downs and generally getting back into real life. Though, strangely, I still respond to "Elder Graham," when the name occasionally surfaces, and of course I will always respond to "Kuab Ci." Ah, the memories.
Some noteworthy things that have happened in the last year:
- Meeting Jeff/Elise's wedding
- Two new nieces, and two (?) babies on the way!!!
- Visiting Wisconsin with Mom and Dad for Labor Day
- Back to school!
- In and out of minor jobs
- Translating for General Conference
- Weddings of dear friends (Jared! Nicole! Liza!)
- My first of each holiday since I came home
- Visits from sisters Emily and Cami
- Turpins moved to Utah
- Meeting and falling for the love of my life. You were a little bit (but wonderfully) unexpected. I love you, baby!