"We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;" -- 2 Corinthians 4:8
"Be careful what you pray for," the old adage goes, "you just might get it."
For the last month we have desperately prayed that we could just get home. With heavy hearts, we were deferred flight after flight to the point we wondered if we would ever make it back home to Hungary. We literally wandered from Airbase to Airbase up and down the east coast desperately seeking a flight. Finally, a week ago today, the girls and I boarded American Airlines flight 70 and made it to Germany where Russ and Levi (who had flown in earlier that week) picked us up and after a little rest we embarked on the 13 hour drive home.
Ahhh, we breathed a sigh of relief to be back in our village. But the sigh was short lived. Not only did we return to a dead dog (which, thankfully, a neighbor had buried), within the first few days we were barraged with all the irritations we had forgotten about life in Hungary.
1. Our car's registration had expired so we cannot drive it and are waiting to go pay the fine (an undisclosed amount). Keep in mind they send no notification to car owners about this. Each car owner must remember to re-register his car every two years or so. We await our day in court.
2. The gas company tried to turn off our gas two days AFTER we had paid all the late bills. It took a special trip with a translator to the gas company's main office (payment receipts in hand) to defer the looming shut down.
3. After buying curricula and preparing to homeschool Niki, we arrived at school to learn they had set up a new special ed program in the Mikepercsi school. Niki was expected to go to her new special, smaller class and stay all day at school. Upon visiting the class, I discovered that the school does not differentiate between learning problems and behavior problems, so now Niki is stuck in a class, the only girl, with the 10 biggest trouble makers in the 1st-4th grade. There will be more to come as I work out these issues with the school.
All this while fighting jetlag and trying to remember Hungarian.
So this is what we prayed so hard to come to?
Even though our hearts sink when the dogs run to greet us and Blacky is all to obviously absent... And even though the station wagon sits undriveable until we navigate the bureaucracy, reregister the car and pay the fine ... and even though we have many agonizing meetings ahead as we sort out how Niki should be schooled, we can still somehow be thankful because after two and a half months away, the Chuns are home. Indeed "we are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair."
It's not the "welcome home" that I'd hoped for. I thought we had already done the "overcoming" of great obstacles, and now we were poised for our "happily ever after." But real life does not work out as neatly as Disney movies. In real life, it seems overcoming one set of obstacles only prepares us for the next.
But there is a joy in the journey.
And so when I look out our back window and see crimson sunset blaze the sky, silhouetting the quaint village rooftops, it reminds me of the opening of Fiddler on the Roof, and I can genuinely say, "It's good to be home."