Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Prodigal Returns 2

I left for Des Moines for the World Food Conference two weeks ago Monday. The Saturday before I left we got the wonderful email about the return of the sacque. When I told Joy I had wonderful news and she wouldn't believe it, she guessed that our stuff had suddenly arrived. No, I said, that would be quite the miracle.

And then I got this little ping inside me ... yes, it would be something else, wouldn't it? I wonder....

Well I had to head to campus that Saturday to print midterms anyway, so I got on one of the few weekend shuttles in to town. On my way, Pres. Ensign's secretary called. Our stuff had arrived and could I please come in to get it?

What??!? HUZZAH!

We shipped our things to New Orleans where a warehouse was gathering the shipments from many professors, all of which would be sent on to Nigeria at one time. And there it sat. For months. It would still take 2-3 months to ship it to us once it finally left the warehouse, and then another month crossing Nigeria from Lagos after someone paid what are delicately called "customs fees". We were beginning to look at a Christmas without our things. In planning for my Des Moines trip, we had planned that I was bringing two large, empty suitcases to fill with things from WalMart we needed. A good portion of the list included things we had shipped ourselves - especially medicine - and only carried a 3 month supply of when we moved here.

Then Pres. Ensign got fed up with the wait and had it all flown to us!

I was the first on the scene and got to watch them unload. I stood around, learned some Hausa from the men who knew no English by showing them pictures of my family and learning some names and nouns. Finally the others showed up, we gathered our boxes and counted them.
What man of you, having a hundred [boxes], if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? 
They were ALL there. All 62 boxes. We never even dared hope we would have them ALL! I've unpacked a dozen boxes or so and everything has been there and everything has been in great condition - much better than could have been reasonably expected.
And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbors, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my [boxes] which [were] lost.
I drove home in a truck loaded with most of our stuff (the truck wasn't large enough for all of it) with a uniformed but unarmed security guard standing on the few inches of lowered tailgate not covered by boxes. When we got back to our complex, I leapt out and pulled out box #10 -- the one with Prince's plushes that he had colored. I broke it open while the driver and guards tried to figure out how to unload the truck without toppling everything. I pulled out big Mickey, Princess Peach, and the Backyardigans and raced upstairs. I had texted Joy to have Prince answer the door when I knocked. I arranged his plushes at the door and knocked.

When Prince opened the door, his mouth opened wide in shocked delight and all he could utter was, "Wow!" He was so thrilled to see them he didn't know what to do. Finally he turned to Joy and told her that the plushes were here. He gathered them up in his arms, then raced to find their friends who had been waiting for them and bring them all together.

Joy, the guards, the driver, and I unloaded the truck and hauled all the boxes upstairs, then she went back with the driver to get the last six large boxes that hadn't fit.

Pictured are a few of the more beloved things we waited for that have been unpacked. When Prince saw our picture of the San Diego Temple Aunt Virginia gave us for our wedding, he declared, "Now that is home" - which we take to mean that having the temple picture here makes this more our home.

 I unpacked the keyboard, my big birthday present, and spent some time playing it Saturday and Sunday before I left for Des Moines.  It's wonderful to hold church with a keyboard. It's wonderful to be able to play a little bit whenever I want. Princess and Prince have both been very happy to have the extra music in our home too.

A few of the other things we have already unpacked that have brought large smiles: a mattress pad that makes our bed much softer; imitation vanilla so our cakes will taste much better; books and toys for Prince, with one or two new ones showing up every few days he gets to rediscover them all over again; measuring spoons and cups; our non-stick frying pan and pots; we've made good use of the movies what with a feverish Prince this last week; Princess' toys, which will be seen in another post. I'm delighted to see my work books and papers back.

Prince looked in his drawer last night and found a tie-dye shirt. He told us that my Ithaca shirt had somehow accidentally been put in his drawer. No, Prince, I assured him, this is your very own tie-dye shirt. He is quite excited to try it on after school tomorrow.

[This also teaches me that my iPad takes MUCH better pictures outdoors than indoors, as the quality of these pictures demonstrates.]