On the east coast of the United States, there is a long and beautiful state called North Carolina. Somewhere in the middle chunk of the state (known as the Piedmont), there is a small but welcoming community called Browns Summit. And in this community, there sits a warm home.
If you enter the home, you’ll be met with a tall staircase — one that has held the running feet of laughing children for over 25 years. Climb the staircase and you will find a hallway; at the end of the hallway, a spacious bedroom; in the bedroom, a closet; buried in the left corner of the closet, a box.
And in this box, gathering dust, are priceless souvenirs from over 27 countries spread across 6 continents — the travel “treasures” Gabriel and I have picked up, over the years.
From sake sets (Japan) to tagua bracelets (Ecuador), Murano glass (Italy) to carved animals (Kenya), items that once caught our eye in markets as must-haves are now glanced at, once a year, during spring cleaning.
This year, the box was unusually lucky to be opened twice, as we re-organized the closet and added a few items to its inventory. Without fail, when it is opened, we take everything out and delight in each item, remarking how one day, we’ll actually find a place to display them. People will come over for dinner parties and we’ll be able to share the stories behind the unique pieces, as each proudly sits on a bookshelf or mantel.
The problem is, we’ve forgotten where some of our travel possessions came from. Did we get that beaded necklace in Tanzania? Or was it Nicaragua? That carved bowl… does it have Indonesian roots? This tea set… it came from South Korea. But then again, on second glance… maybe it came from Taiwan?
It seems utterly silly that we can’t even remember the continent that some of our travel “treasures” came from anymore, let alone the stories behind them.
Our pastor recently said this:
“You might intuitively know something of your destination, but it is impossible to chart your course if you do not know where you have come from.”
We can’t deny we’ve forgotten the origin of many items in the travel box. It happens. But it’s significant because when we forget about where they come from and who crafted them, those items loose meaning. They gather dust in a box instead of sitting on display, their intended destination.
Isn’t it the same for us? When we forget where we have come from — who created us, our heritage and roots, our family stories — we can start to feel lost because we do not know how to get where we are going.
At the end of 2016, Gabriel and I know we are going to Uganda. But where we have come from is just as important. It is part of our journey.
We are grateful to our friends who have kindly taken an hour out of their schedule to listen to our story, so they can better understand where we are coming from — ultimately, so they can better understand where we are going.
Uganda is not Japan. It is not Australia. Or Costa Rica, or Greece. Our reasons for moving to Uganda are different than any other move abroad or travel venture we’ve been on before. And while I love blogging, our story cannot be consolidated into a post to be read.
That is why we’d like to invite you to join us for a coffee, or a beer, or a sweet treat (we love fro yo or cupcakes!), or dinner, and give us just one hour of your time. The background of why we are going to Uganda is just as important as the act itself. Even if you’ve never met us, or we are barely acquaintances, we’re inviting you to join us on this journey.
Will you accept?