Screenshot 2014-08-31 08.17.32     There are days in one’s life that are absolutely impossible to forget. Days so deeply etched in your memory that all you have to do is close your eyes to bring forth every detail lived, whether you want to or not. August 31st, 2013 is one of those for me.

In March 2009, when Nathan came home and told me about a job opportunity in Saudi Arabia, I laughed! There was no way I would move there. Or so I thought. Then, 4 years later, I had to say goodbye to the kingdom, knowing that, more than likely, I would never go back.

In spite of being excited about starting our lives in a new city, and being closer to family, those last days in Arabia were heartbreakingly sad. The friendships I made while living there are among the greatest blessings I’ve received in my life. There’s something about being away from everyone and everything you know and have come to rely on that brings people together and closer that anyone would have ever imagined.

Those last few days at KAUST brought with them an amazing outpouring of love and comfort and hugs from all our friends and people who had touched our lives in ways that are impossible to describe. When the taxi arrived, and it was time to say our final goodbyes, I could feel a piece of my heart breaking away and deciding to stay nestled among the cushions of the yellow couch at I-5317. What a ride! It’d take me hours and thousands of words to relate how much I grew, changed, and experienced while living there.

In about a month, we’ll be celebrating the first anniversary for our life in Knoxville, while marveling at the fact that just a year ago we lived on the other side of the world. And that’s how life is. One chapter ends while another begins, and for as long as there are pages turning, changing is inevitable and welcoming it with open arms and a smile is how I choose to face it.

During this past year, so many of our dear desert-adventure friends have visited us here in Knoxville, that now when I close my eyes and think of them, the last memory I have with them is not one of tear-filled hugs but of shopping at Turkey Creek, or hiking The Smokies, walking up our hill in the snow, or just laughing in our kitchen.

Today, then, I cherish my nostalgic and wistful memories, and thank the heavens for an amazing and friend-filled life!


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