A brief introduction, if you don’t know already. I’m Luke. Enchanté. My wife’s name is Leigh Anne and our sweet baby boy is Isaac. There’s that’s a good start.
As part of this reinvigorated blogging, I figure it’s time that you get to know me. While 31 years is difficult to fit into a blog post, I’ll start with the most important relationships of my life, other than Jesus that is. Those of my wife and my son. Many of you may not know the story of how my wife and I met and fell in love… well, lucky you. Over the next few posts, you get to read about some of the most wonderful, embarrassing, hard, and beautiful parts of my life thus far. I hope to have Leigh Anne guest write a couple of these too.
It was June 2012 and I had just graduated with my bachelor’s degree. Through a whole series of events which I won’t go into here, I was about to start my first job after college. I was hired as the “intern” at an international school in, of all places, Kabul, Afghanistan. However, before that, I had pre-field orientation (PFO) at the headquarters of the school’s governing network in Southaven, MS. It was there that I first met the woman who would, eventually, become my wife.
In the blistering pea soup known as northern Mississippi in July, I spent two weeks meeting many of the people I would soon be living and working with in Kabul. Fast friendships were made during this week, and… well, I sort of starting dating one of the women that was starting there as a teacher. No, she wasn’t Leigh Anne. In all reality, I had no business getting into a relationship with anyone right before going overseas. None at all and lesson learned, although slowly…
It was also during this week that Leigh Anne came to meet all the new people. She wasn’t at the orientation because she had already lived and taught in Kabul for the past year. I don’t think that I made much of an impression on her, other than her thinking I was an idiot for starting a relationship before I had left the country. However, my first impression of her was very different. First off, I remember thinking that she was really pretty and well spoken. I was surprised that she didn’t have much of an accent, even though she claimed Mississippi as her home (as it turns out, she’s 3/4 Yankee). I only got to see her for a couple hours over the next few days. We did have some good conversations in groups, but that was about it. At that point, a romantic relationship with Leigh Anne was the last thing on my mind, I was too busy thinking about 1.) moving to Afghanistan and 2.) the aforementioned relationship.
PFO ended, the rest of the summer went by quickly, and before long I found myself on the first leg of the long trip to Ktown.
The next months were incredibly busy. Running a school is hard enough, doing it in Afghanistan is something else entirely. During this time, my identity as a college student slowly bled away. I began to fall more in love with the country of Afghanistan, it’s people, and with Jesus. Suddenly the lessons I learned were no longer from a book. Our principal described time passing in Afghanistan to dog years, each one seems packed with more stuff than should be able to fit inside.
The Kabul I know and love, while a painful place often enough, is a place where true warmth and friendship can be found. It’s a place far from the headlines. Horrible things that should never happen anywhere are a regular occurence. However, I will never be able to say enough about the Afghan (not Afghani) people. The best word that I can use to describe them is deep. Preface here: To my Afghan friends, please bear with a silly ‘horagee’ as he prattles on about a people he was only beginning to understand. Carry on.
It’s hard to explain. Almost all the Afghan people that I met were very polite and kind. However, you will never get to know an Afghan person in a month, barely even after a year. It wasn’t until my third year that I began to feel the makings of deep friendships with some of my local colleagues. Their relationships are forged through the experience of shared hardship, shared joys, and, most of all, time.
Some of the best memories I have of local people are when I was invited into someone’s home and had the honor of sharing a meal with them. Hospitality is one of the highest values to an Afghan. Others come from playing soccer or basketball, or a million other experiences that seemed inconsequential at the time, but added up to so much. Afghans are a deep pool. Each experience is a pebble, tossed in. You can’t tell by looking, but each experience alters them slightly, and over time, you realize that there is so much wonder and value beneath the surface.
I’m shaking my head at that description. How can I relate to you two and a half years of my life that made one of the heaviest marks on who I am? I guess that’s what this blogging thing is for afterall. I’ve gotten a little off topic, but it’s important for you to understand that Afghanistan is so much more than what you know. It’s so much more than what I know. And this, this was the place where love for my wife was forged. I wouldn’t change a minute.
Next time, I’ll share about one of the most awkward, worst beginnings to a relationship imaginable. Until then, I hope you enjoyed what I wrote. Leave your thoughts and feedback down below, I’d love to talk with you!