I am becoming well acquainted with the dull ache of loneliness here in Nairobi. I’m starting to get to the place where I have people who I can call up to do things with, but I really miss the friends that I could call up and invite over to do nothing. I miss having people around who knew what I needed before I told them, the ones who would come sit with me when I was having a hard day even when I told them that they didn’t need to– because they knew that I really did need someone to talk to. I miss the people who don’t think twice about the fact that I frequently laugh and cry at the same time because somehow I just have ALL the feelings simultaneously. I miss the people that I don’t have to explain things to because they were there when it all happened. I miss the ones who helped me pick up the pieces of my life and put things back together in the aftermath of several hard losses. I miss the people who would listen to me as I talked about the same thing for hours because I externally process things and I need to say things out loud to make sense of them. I miss the friends who it’s not weird to ask for a hug from, and the ones who could always tell when I was having an “I really need a hug” kind of day. I miss feeling deeply known and loved. I have loved meeting new friends here in Nairobi. I’m growing so much. I know that this is where I need to be, but going from being captain of “team no new friends” to having all new friends is hard. It’s hard to start over completely. It’s hard to live in a different country. It’s hard to reconcile the fact that this move is so right for me but also difficult, painful, and exhausting. Sometimes living your dreams is far more difficult than you think it will be when you start out. Expecting to be lonely and actually being lonely are really different things. As much as it hurts though I’m thankful for this season of loneliness because I am realizing that it is an opportunity to draw nearer to the heart of God. I am learning to trust him more with my relational needs, and to look to him first instead of people.