So, the day has come (tomorrow) for little Noah to head to the other side of the world (literally) to Laos. He graduated with his masters in May and, during grad school, pondered what he wanted to do after graduation. His degree is in History and he loves to teach, but wanted to do something, well, wild and crazy before settling down to teach. He came across this program that placed English-speaking individuals in countries all over the world to teach English to college students. A new program was starting up in Laos. He was the first teacher to be placed in the country.
He called David and me up one day a few years ago and told us his plan and to be praying for him. "Sure, of course!" we said, secretly hoping it would kind of just fizzle out in his mind. But, that's one thing you gotta know about Noah. If he tells you he's going to do something, he's going to do it. He raised the money required for the program all by himself. We willingly gave, again secretly hoping he wouldn't raise enough. But that little booger did and then I thought, "Shoot, maybe if we hadn't donated to it, he couldn't have gone." But, God has big plans for little 6'2" Noah in Laos and he would be going with or without our contribution.
Off he flies to Los Angeles tomorrow. Dad is going with him because he needs helping lugging all of his junk through the airport. I think they're gonna check out LA for a day or two while they're there and then he flies out super early Tuesday morning on a 13-hour (ha, I almost said "year"...a 13-year flight would suck) flight to Taiwan. And then Cambodia, where he will train for a few weeks. And then it's Laos for a year (possibly/probably longer).
Noah can barely speak English himself, so I don't know how all this is going to go.
Of course, none of us want him to go. But this is what he's meant to do and we are SO excited for him. And he better bring me back some silk (there's a huge silk industry in Laos). I don't know what I'd do with it and I can't sew, but still...it's silk and I've seen enough Project Runway to know it's pretty nifty.
But, it's actually not so bad. He gets to come home during the summers, so I mean, by the time he gets here next June, we'll already be tired of him again.
I've written him a letter...
Dear Boog, Booger, Booger Buns, Ellawheeza, Hoop, Scoop, Norah, Little Bro...
I remember the day you were born. I really do. I don't remember who we stayed with while Mom and Dad were at the hospital, but I remember them bringing Sara and me to the hospital and into the room where Mom was laying on the bed. She had both her hands behind her back. She told each of us to pick a hand and out she brings a little troll doll for each of us. You know those 80's troll dolls with the jewel belly buttons and crazy hair. We collected them. I still have mine. Probably not a great idea, since I'm sure they're haunted or possessed or something. I don't remember you much, but I remember my awesome troll doll. I do think Dad took us to the nursery to look at you through the big window. But, to be honest, you kind of looked like all the other babies in there. I did love my troll doll and you were partly to thank for that. So, thanks.
Sara and I were very glad you were born. We ate all of your banana and plum baby food. That stuff was delectable. Mom let us get away with a lot of stuff because she was so tired. We could blame things on you. Like, "Noah broke that dish," or "Noah knocked the plant over," or "Noah pushed the chair up to the counter and wrote on it with a Sharpie." Mom would always question us, "Noah isn't strong or tall enough to do all of those things." And our answer was, "Noah is deceptively strong and can jump pretty high, so..."
You used to sit quietly and let us smear red clay all over your face, neck, arms, and legs and when we'd tell you to run, you would. And Sara and I would shoot acorns out of our slingshots at you.
When Peter came along, you showed him the ropes of being a baby brother and warned him of the torture we would put him through. You had his back.
You pretty much did whatever we told you to do and said whatever we told you to say. You were, and still are, so easy-going. But, you're stubborn for the good causes and you stand up for what you believe in and, admirably, don't apologize for it.
You were one of the first people to walk through the door at the hospital after the girls were born. Some of the sweetest pictures we have are of you and Peter holding Piper Lee in the room and visiting Harper in the NICU. Your nieces love you so much. Their love their Uncle Hoop. I'm sad you won't get to see Sutton in person right away. I'll miss you being there, but I know God has something hugely special for you overseas and we have FaceTime, so we'll be good. It was just so special to me to have you there for the girls and I wanted you to know that. Thanks for being an awesome uncle to my kids.
I can't even begin to tell you how proud I am of you. You are an incredible example and inspiration. You are so generous and uplifting. You mean the world to me and I love you. I can't wait to hear stories of your time in Southeast Asia. And I hope you have a chance to see the mysterious river fireballs. And maybe you can find someone in Laos that can cut your hair as good as I can. Probably not gonna happen, but we can all hope. Peter, Sara, and I have been so blessed to have you as a sibling and friend. We got a good one.
Lastly, I would like to say, if you do something stupid over there...like ride your moped to a dangerous location or jump off a waterfall or go to a "party" with some people you don't know...and die, I will be SO PISSED. Like, I can't even tell you. I've seen videos of them riding mopeds over there and they're maniacs and we drive slower here and you maybe just should walk everywhere, okay? And yeah, I know Mom always tells us to stay off the waterfalls, but there's a reason you should. Idiots die climbing waterfalls. Ever heard the story of the really smart and safe boy who listened to his mother and sister and died climbing the waterfall? No, you haven't. Because it never happened. Stupid people climb waterfalls. And those "parties" thrown by people you don't know really well always end up being a murder house where they cut out your organs and sell them to the highest bidder. While you're still alive. You just need to stay in your house and read.
Have a wonderful time, Boog! Love love love you!
Your Favorite Sibling
To keep up with Noah's adventures in Laos, check out his blog at Half A World Away.