Coming back to SC and NC this summer, we haven’t experienced as much culture shock as we thought we would. But, here are a few things we have noticed that we haven’t noticed before (ok, maybe we noticed them but have seen them in a new light):

1 – There are so many trees and grass. Anyone that has been in the city for a while has this same reaction. But, it stuns me that this is ALWAYS our first thought. So. Much. Green.

2 – It is so quiet! Again, anyone that has been in the city for a while has this thought, but I honestly think sometimes “Is there anyone out there in the world? It is so stinkin’ quiet!” While the quiet has been nice, it makes our kids seem a whole lot louder!

3 – Riding in a car is so boring. Seriously, the first time Ed and I drove a long stretch with hardly any buildings and lots of trees, I thought “This is so boring and feels like it is taking forever.” What’s funny, we travel the same amount of time in the city to get places by riding on the subway or the bus, but you can multitask, watch the people, sleep, zone out, etc. which makes the time go so much faster!

4 – People talk and wave to strangers a lot! When we first got in at the airport, we were loading everything and everyone into my mom’s car and a lady started talking to Ed. I asked him “What was she saying?” He said “She was just talking.” I said “What was she talking about and saying?” He said “April, your forget this is the South and people just talk to you to be friendly.” Wow. In NY, if they are talking to you, it is usually to tell you what you are doing wrong. Even on a run around the neighborhood, I can’t count the number of waves from people I got….so weird!

5 – Where are all the people who aren’t white? Ok – I know this is a touchy one, but we are seriously used to being some of the only white people around, so it is weird to come here and not see people who don’t look like us. Or to feel like we are in the majority instead of the minority. I have actually struggled with this one the most since being back. I crave and love diversity now.

6 – These houses and lawns are so big! Compared to the tiny houses and NYC apartments, everything seems so big. I get that it is because housing is way cheaper here, but honestly, I don’t know if I would want to clean a place this big!

We are a little over two weeks into our month-long break and I can tell you that I feel like it has been a really good thing for our family. It has been great to be with friends and family, to have a little more downtime, to have more room for our kids to run and be loud, and it has been super encouraging to see God providing everything we need for our ministry to get us back to 100%. Seriously, I almost cried yesterday as I got overwhelmed with how God is providing for us. While starting up ministry partner development for the summer can be so intimidating, I love seeing God work, provide, and allow us to partner with others. Blown away!

Here are a few pictures from our last few weeks:

Enjoying my brother, sister-n-law, niece, and nephew-

When we traveled to Greenville, SC, we were excited to see Ed’s parents AND because our really good friends from Raleigh had just moved to neighboring Spartanburg. Spending time with them and their kids has been so life-giving. If you ever get a chance to find a friend like Jenn, hold on tight. She is intentional, direct, God-glorifying, kind, funny, and just a huge blessing in my life. I love having friends who feel like sisters! It is also a blessing that our kids love each other (the picture below is minus 3 kids!)

The kids have loved being able to read in daddy’s hammock (there are actually trees to hang it from!), wash the “cars”, and swim in pools. Ed has also enjoyed taking a break from working in our apartment or coffee shops, and actually getting to work outside!

And if you see Brynn in the next few weeks, please know that we do not beat our child. She has had a couple of nasty falls chasing after her siblings and she looks rough!

Please continue to pray for a great rest of our trip, for safety as we travel to Raleigh on Saturday, and for God to finish our team of ministry partners.


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