Well our stint in Oklahoma is now over, and our brains are very much appreciating a little break from linguistic analysis! While we definitely appreciate the experience and we can see how valuable it was, we must admit, we are thankful that our write-up is complete!
Though we learned a good deal about the makeup of the Cherokee language (well, hopefully…), I feel like the experience itself was much more educational. Rhett and I had to learn how to work as a team to gather information, we had to determine for the most part which information would be important and what topics we had to pass over for the sake of time, and we had to learn how to explain what we were looking for to someone without all of the linguistic training or technical vocabulary.
Our language helper, Lorene, was such a sweet, wonderful lady- she put up with us asking the same question in dozens of ways because we didn’t know how to ask in a way that made sense, she repeated the same words and phrases over and over, she even introduced us to fried crawdads!
When we weren’t at our language sessions with Lorene, our time was split between analyzing the information we gathered in the mornings, cooking, and hanging out with our classmates. We were so thankful God blessed that time (as we were expecting there to be a bit more drama while living in such close quarters) but we ended up really enjoying hanging out together! Even Milo got to play with his friend each morning while we were gone- they loved to catch grasshoppers together and “play” with the cats that ran around the camp.
The only major hiccup for us while we were there was catching the hand-foot-and-mouth virus. The boys (including Rhett) had fevers and sore throats and little blisters on their hands, feet and around their mouths. It was a rough couple days, and we ended up missing a couple sessions as well as the entire weekend’s worth of Cherokee National Holiday, which was a bit disappointing (h,f&m is very contagious). Thankfully, it didn’t spread too much to the other families. Overall though, our time there was great and we learned so much.
When we were finished in Oklahoma, we moved back to Missouri for about a month to write up our analysis and what we think we understood about the Cherokee language. This time was a little stressful, as there is a lot of time balancing, between needing to work on the write-up, playing with the kids, making sure we were all still eating and packing and cleaning our apartment in preparation to move out for the last time. We were very grateful that we ended up handing our write-up in on time (with only one all-nighter!), and now we just wait for our grade, which we will hopefully have before the end of the year.
Packing and cleaning was a pretty bittersweet experience, as we just loved our apartment there. It was also a bit difficult, as being seven months pregnant diminished my stamina pretty significantly, but the boys cooperated really well and Rhett was blessed with an extra dose of energy, I think!
One thing that was very cool to see was how God provided for our needs when we were trying to figure out how to get all our things back to Wisconsin. Our original plan would have had us renting some sort of moving vehicle and cost several hundred dollars. Through many prayers and plan changes, Rhett ended up being able to carpool with some staff up to Wisconsin, using their SUV and a borrowed trailer, and only needing to pay for gas (as opposed to gas and rental fees).
We’re very excited to be moving on to the next stage in our lives, though we’ll miss the people and places we’ve now left behind. God has been so faithful over the last couple months and we’re looking forward to seeing his faithfulness in the months to come.