We arrived safely in Cincinnati this morning after flying a red eye out of Las Vegas last night. None of us slept well on the flights, and were propping our eyelids open during church. It was WONDERFUL to see everyone. I could hardly believe how much had changed, and was so very happy about the things that had not.
Sister Holbrook (my final companion in the field) is still here, and we had a happy, tearful reunion. She kept saying over and over, "I can't believe this is happening. It feels so strange!" Indeed. The best part was, in a branch that size I was put to work operating the self-playing piano, and even gave the "missionary moment" during Relief Society. Always glad to serve :)
Perhaps my favorite part was that Ilene, a woman whom I helped teach (along with a slew of missionaries before me, and a few since), was baptised last night and we were able to be there for her confirmation today in Sacrament meeting. It was like a surreal repeat of my final Sunday there because Lisa was confirmed my final Sunday, and Sister Holbrook and I sang (to my everlasting chagrin "Be Still My Soul" as a special musical number). Today the opening hymn was "Be Still My Soul" and Ilene was confirmed. A beautiful full circle to let you know life does go on, and so does missionary work.
The family is in awe of the greenery, and the difference in culture. Surprising how a few states will make such a difference in how things are done, and the tenets people cling to. Tomorrow we are off to Akron to stay at Quaker Square, then a little jaunt up to Kirtland to do some sight seeing.
So far things have been great, and we're hoping for more of the same as the trip continues!