It was a bright early morning, the sun just beginning to lighten the horizon. We’d already packed up the truck, and were just putting the finishing touches on everything as we gathered our gear and headed out into the dawn.

It had been three days, back in the luxury and comforts of home and the first world, I was still shocked by how quickly my body and mind had been able to adjust to the time difference, and how effortlessly jet lag had passed. I was still a little tired, but excited and ready to begin our Colorado Adventure. We were on our way, and I was restless with anticipation.

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A couple of days before, we had driven out to Sedona, and visited my Auntie Lo. Enjoying the beautiful mist shrouded red sandstone, and the ethereal smells of sweet mist, alligator juniper and the visceral red sandstone of the mountains was fantastic. It’d been a couple of glorious days, moist cool rains washing across Northern Arizona and bringing the first touches of fall to the land. After spending a couple of hours in town, and visiting a long time family friend, we headed over to Lo’s place for dinner.

As we drove across Sedona and then out to Oak Creek, we passed Baldwin’s Crossing, and I knew we were almost there.

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Baldwin’s Crossing, outside of Sedona, Arizona.

It had been over two years since I’d seen my Aunt Lo and, just as I had felt on the final flight before landing in Prescott, I was a little nervous. Now I wasn’t nervous about anything as silly as what we’d talk about, but instead about how I’d react to the changes that had happened to her in the last two years. I had already been struggling with the issue of loved one’s ageing, and how quickly time was passing in relation to my own folks, the lines of thought and consideration were well drawn. Knowing that I’d be headed back to Zambia for another year, and the realization that during that year I’d be away from my loved ones – out of touch, out of physical proximity and contact was difficult. I knew it was the right choice, and although I had struggled with the decision throughout the process, I had committed to it. The love, encouragement and support of my family allowed me to make a decision based on rational choices, and not feel burdened or trapped by guilt or duty. Nevertheless, it was a tense moment as we rounded the last corners to her neighborhood and finally pulled onto the crackling gravel drive. We finally arrived and the heavy car door swung open. We piled out and headed up to the door. As we knocked and rang the doorbell we heard Lo open the latch.

That moment, the little knot of worry in my gut shattered as the door opened, and one by one we were greeted by Lo’s love and excitement. My nervousness vanished just as the worry and concern had shattered upon my arrival at Prescott Regional. I knew that it wouldn’t be the last time I thought about those feelings. As we stepped across the threshold and into her home, we were greeted with the sweet aroma of a delicious buffet style dinner. Chicken, beef, vegetables, and an assortment of flavors and tastes tugged at our senses as we took our seats and began to catch up. We started out with coffee, tea and snacks, and it wasn’t long before some of our extended framily (friends who are family) started to arrive, and then Alex and I began to talk about our experiences, the trials and tribulations we had faced, and engaged in some good cross cultural discussion. We answered questions about the climate, people, politic, economy, and struggles as well as so many other’s as we eagerly shared of our lives and experience.

It was a fantastic evening. As we continued on, enjoying the meal, relaxing and digesting the sun continued to sink lower in the sky, and as evening swept in to Sedona we said our goodbyes, and headed back to Prescott.