5 Places I Miss in Kansas City

Since we announced we're moving home in September, I've actually tried not thinking about it very much.

And then sometimes, it's all I can think about.

Living overseas often puts you in a place of tension. You find yourself comparing your birth place with your current home, vacillating between contentment and homesickness. It's a constant cycle that you never quite get out of. And I'm sure once we move back, there will be countless things, small and large, that I miss terribly about Cambodia.

But in thinking about moving back to Kansas City, there are five places I can't wait to see - especially knowing it won't be my once-a-year visit during home leave.

1. Redeemer Fellowship

Andrew and I started going to Redeemer Fellowship a few months before we got engaged, and it was where my heart finally found its spiritual home. I moved to KC in my early twenties, and I spent a lot of time visiting different churches. And I never really felt settled until I found Redeemer.

Redeemer is in the Westport neighborhood just south of downtown Kansas City in an old stone church. It's where we held our wedding reception and where we spent every Sunday after getting married. We have close friends, supporters, and mentors there. And besides our families, it's probably what I miss most about KC.

2. Kansas City Public Library on the Plaza
Ok, true evidence of my book-neediness: during the blizzard of February 2011, while people rushed to the grocery store to stock up on food, I rushed to the library to stock up on books. God forbid I get stuck in the house with nothing to read.

Ok, I'm a total book nerd. I actually worked at a local library while I was in high school, and loved it. My secret retirement dream is to own a bookstore. But I'll probably be too worn out with living by then, so working at a library comes in second.

And KCPL on the Plaza is my favorite library in KC (Yes, I have a favorite). It overlooks the Plaza area (an upscale outdoor shopping area) and Brush Creek, and its walls are almost entirely glass - making it light-filled and airy, perfect for browsing shelves and reading books.

Here in Cambodia, we don't have libraries. And I've realized what a treasure they are! I look forward to weekly visits and taking little Declan to story time.

3. City Market

I enjoy shopping at our local market here in Poipet and even wrote about our favorite sellers. But let's face it - it's pretty grungy here. And it can't compare to weekends at City Market.

I love all the ethnic restaurants - Brazilian, Ethiopian, Indian, Vietnamese, Italian...and the dozens of farmers who set up shop every weekend, selling their colorful produce. I've gotten used to shopping in a market setting, and I want to keep doing weekly market visits in KC.

4. Westport
I can't find a photo of Westport! So here's another one of our church.

I love Westport. I love its edginess, its diversity, and how I am always surprised or startled by someone walking down the street in an outrageous costume. Granted, it's one of the biggest party districts in KC. But some of my favorite restaurants and stores are in the blocks surrounding the Pennsylvania and Broadway intersections.

During the past few years, we've tried to go home during September, when the best weather, baseball games, and art shows are happening. And my favorite art show is in Westport every year, as well as Thai food, used clothing stores, and book shops. And our church!

5. Grandma's House
Seriously jet lagged but still smiling with Grandma...right before we surprised with the news about Declan!

Grandma Dottie's house - I couldn't write about KC without writing about her house. Yes, I definitely want to visit my parents' house and Andrew's parents' home. But the past three years we've lived with Dottie during our month-long visits, and now I feel like it's our second home. It's also where all our junk is stored.

Grandma Dottie always opens her home to anyone who needs a place to stay or a meal to eat. She says, "This house is the Lord's, and he can use it however he wants!" And trust me, it's a nice place. But it's not just about the physical house; it's the memories, and the fact that her home is always overflowing with friends and family. We always have space to rest, but we also know people who love us and are cheering us on will find their way there.

And Grandma feeds us really, really well. As in one year, Andrew and I gained six pounds each in one month.

Those are just a few places I miss and can't wait to see again when we land in Kansas City in four long short months!

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