(Sestra Carley Schoen arrived home Dec. 18, 2014, having honorably completed her mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Czech Republic)
Well, I have been home for about a week now and I think it is fitting to add some of the things that happened this final week coming home and perhaps some tid-bits of what I have learned collectively from my 19 months away.
The plane-rides from Prague to London to Dallas were...looong. Seriously felt like sinking in molasses. My mind was racing like a derby-horse as I sat there for 17 hours of airport/airplane time feeling like a bump on a log. I am pretty sure all the A.D.D. of a year and a half kicked in as I sat there. I tried to take a nap, assuming the most comfortable position I could. Hands on and around the fold-down tray with the "pillow" under my ear. I wake-up again, groggy-eyed, drool on my face, turn to Sister Huggard and ask how long I was out (expecting to have killed at least half our trip)... She chuckled as she responded "30 minutes." -_- We were sitting next to this really nice girl from Texas who was coming back from South Africa, having been gone for 6 months. We enjoyed talking to her and feeling the spirit as we talked about service, the importance of family, and prayer. We all knew we were meant to sit next to each-other. She also kept me sane on that plane. We even ended or trip with a heart-warming prayer together. I am very grateful for her kindness and service and look forward to our continued friendship.
As some of you have likely seen on my facebook, the welcome home was an exciting occasion. As I got off the plane, I melted hearing the warm greetings and southern drawls that echoed through the airport. Music to my ears. I looked up as I was exiting the plane and saw a woman with a camera pointed at me. It took me only a second to recognize our dear friend, Tami. And that's when I knew I was really home, where else would someone go out of there way so much to get a picture so that the rest of the family would know that I was a few minutes away? As I came out of the terminal, I saw my family and heard my mom scream my name (if I was at all unfamiliar with being called my own name, I think it was shattered in that instant.) I ran at her and hugged her and perhaps everyone in a 50m radius... I got a little carried away. ;)
Since then I have been loving my time with my family. Watching the movies and listening to the music I missed didn't seem as important as just being with them. I think everyone has asked me how the transition's been. It is all still familiar to me so its not like I am so out of my skin. I have been getting up early still and striving to keep up the same habits. I am grateful for my time as a missionary, I am still a missionary at heart:) So it has been an easy transition I think. I have loved chatting with my buddies from the Czech Republic and those that I haven't spoken to in a while. It helps me understand the true purpose of facebook, to unite people. Not to tear others down or start drama. Its a tool for friendship not judging. Anywho, that's a little rant that can be saved for another day. I love the Czech Republic and my friends there. I miss them a ton!!! But I know we will see each other again and it will be glorious:)
I want to thank you all for your love and prayers. It wasn't an easy experience, but my oh my, it was all worth it. :)
Sestra Sch.... Carley