We are packing this week for a trip to America!  Jonah waffles between being really excited and saying he wants to stay in Gimbie with his toys. We assure him, Lord willing, we will return to Gimbie and his toys.  The other day he packed up a small wheeled suitcase with his favorite toys and headed out the door. Noticing the sudden silence I dashed out doors to catch him, suitcase bumping along behind, over in our neighbor’s yard. He seemed surprised and had no explanation- not running away, not upset- no agenda he could articulate, just traveling….

Today I was rummaging through our small document folder sorting out what needs to come to America or stay. Passports need to go…. driver’s license renewal (license expired in August)…… tax documents which need to be filed….. new Visas needed….. I was busy writing to do lists and organizing and didn’t have much time to play.  Jonah and Maron (Bogalech’s four year old daughter) had just finished playing “kitchen” with playdough.  Maron had left, and Jonah was hyper and wanted to gab. When he failed to keep my attention, he opened his 1969 edition of Childcraft’s  “How Things Change”  and began his usual commentary and questioning. The book includes predictions that “you” (those reading it in 1969, I presume) may live to eat seaweed flavored like steak or mashed potatoes or candy because, scientists predicted, so many people would be living longer there would not be enough regular food to eat. As a solution it predicted fishboys and frogmen farmers would be growing and harvesting tons and tons of food under the sea and thus no one would have to go hungry…. The book also features futuristic houses with robots doing chores, flying cars, and kids commuting to school with “rocket belts.”  Jonah turned to the page entitled “Trains in the Sky” for what seemed the tenth time over the last couple days to contemplate the sadness of it all once again. The page features the dilapidated, rusty remains of a coal burning train, face forlorn, tears in the eyes, and with a futuristic monorail zipping along above it. After much thought, Jonah had devised a plan to rescue the train, restore it, become an engineer, and then take his parents for a ride around the world in the passenger car…… I had lost track of time and Jonah, when I noticed him patiently trying to stuff more items into a plastic sack and asked him what he was doing.  He had collected his stash of “college money” (he has been saving for college for several months now) comprised of various birr, a Russian coin, some American change and a few Euros,  along with a couple official looking ”documents” gleaned from the trash pile, some discarded wallet cards, his ABC flashcards,  and Bible memory verse booklets. He placed them in a basket, threw in a travel towel and told me “these things are going to be for my college Mommy, when we get to America.” He added, to clarify, that he wanted to go to “Daddy’s college” so that Daddy could live with him. The poor little guy seems to pick up on everything, yet sometimes it isn’t until days later that we find out what he has been trying to process in his three year old mind. He could have picked up on our recent discussions of potential Master’s degree programs for Mark. Or, he could think that America IS college, since most of his best friends here have been student missionaries, medical students, and graduates between college and grad school who eventually leave to return to their studies. Later, concerned that Jonah might be afraid Mark would have to leave to get his Master’s degree, we tried to find out what he was thinking and reassure him.  Jonah said “no Daddy, we just need to get on the same plane to go to college… and I’ll share my money with you, Dad…we just need two glass jars to put the money in.”

P.S btw, where are those tons and tons of edible sea plants? We could use some over here.

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