Sunday, January 29, 2017

the Koukouas

**Not a post about Japan. They are coming, but we're so crazy busy enjoying a full life that I haven't had time to sit down and type it all out. I will, because I don't want to forget anything about this first week, but for now I will post this one that I wrote up last month. This family is now happily settled back in Montana and my con's column is much shorter now that we're here. :)

This little family is another gem I can put in the pro's column of military life. When the con's column gets heavy, and it's real heavy right now, the pros side still wins when it comes to relationships we've made thanks to dear ole Uncle Sam. 
They've only been here a few short months and they're already on their way back out. They're one of those families that makes one feel like an idiot American. No, it's true. They speak like eighteen languages amongst them and the little one's babble really does sound more intelligent than my one and only language. 
Jireh has become quite the military baby in the short amount of time he's served. He's a pro at being happy while being passed from lap to lap. He gives a guarded once over and agrees to being happy and cuddly so long as one understands he still prefers his mama. 
Brice and Kristel stepped into the music role at church. Brice learned to play the piano on a piece of paper. A piece of paper! He is absolutely amazing. I've never seen Sean be taken aback by someone else's skills. 

Lest any reader has given up on finding true love...
Brice is from the Ivory Coast. Kristel is from Montana. The story goes that Kristel had recently returned from living in Honduras to her small town in Montana. She'd given up on men and Brice wasn't all that interested in finding a woman. Via mutual acquaintances, these two ended up at a salsa Montana. Being the ignorant white person that I am, I would previously have assumed that there aren't a ton of West Africans who know how to salsa dance. I would also have previously assumed there aren't a ton of Montanans that would be salsa dancers. Shows what I know. 
Another funny little anecdote to their story is that they were both interested in the other, fairly quickly. Brice sent a quick prayer up that he was not going to pursue getting her number. If God wanted him to go for it, he(God) would have to work out the securing of her phone number. As salsa dancing goes, it must be a noisy sport. The dance hall was too noisy for them to work out the details of what Kristel was hoping would be their next get together. She hosted salsa dances at her home from time to time and thought maybe he'd like to come to her next one. As she couldn't convey her phone number to him over the noise, she said, "Here, I'll just put my number into your phone."
And the happily ever after is now. 

The military sometimes has some pretty silly rules when soldiers are students. For instance, this family could only be together in a public place or outdoors. When we were coming up with ideas for these family pictures, I asked Kristel, "What sticks out in your mind the most about your time here? What do you want to remember?" She said they spent most of their time playing Bananagrams at the park. 

Brice's closed eyes, LOVE!!! It's like he was just breathing them in. 

I'm going to miss this sweet family. I hate that I'll have to know them from here on out via Facebook. I wish that we'd been given more time. I would love to have seen Jude finally come around to loving this sweet boy as much as I do. It would be awesome to continue being a big military family, but that's not how this thing works. We all know it and hate it, but we are so very, very grateful that for a time, God saw fit to write us into each other's story. 
For that, I am thankful. 

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