dear ayan

Dear Ayan,

Hello, sweet friend! Pam told me you found my blog, and the two of you read it together last week at tutoring. That’s so fun! And makes me so happy! I hope you and Pam get a chance to read this post together too, because I’m writing it just for you.

I miss you!! You were such a ray of sunshine in my life last year. I love, love, loved being your neighbor. I loved how you always just barged right into our apartment without knocking, just like you were part of our family. I loved how you would shamelessly ask for popsicles or fruit snacks or something else yummy, but you liked just hanging out, even if we were all out of treats.

I remember when we first met. You had hardly been in America very long at all. You couldn’t read yet, and math was very hard for you. You didn’t know a lot of words in English, but you learned so quickly!! Holy cow, did you learn quickly!! Before I knew it, you were reading and writing and doing math! And, whenever I’d come to your house, you would translate for me and your hooyo (amazing!)

I know it was hard for you when you had to switch schools in the middle of the year. Your teachers were sad when you left too! (especially Ms. Hickey) But you adjusted so well and made new friends and kept learning and learning.

I loved how you would let me hug you but, after a few seconds, you would say, “Done!” and I’d know you’d had enough.

I loved how you would say, “tanagayou!” when I would give you something, and I asked you what that meant in Somali, and you’d laugh, because it didn’t mean anything. You were just saying “thank you” funny on purpose.

I loved watching you take care of your little niece and nephew (say hi to Amin and Miraj for me, and give them kisses!), and you were such a big help to your hooyo. (say hi to your hooyo too and give her a kiss for me!) (And Roda and Asma and Ugbad too! Okay, and Amin and Guled! You don’t have to kiss the boys though!)

I loved going to the zoo with you. You had so much fun taking pics with Gabe’s camera.When we found out we’d be moving to Cambodia, one of the first things I thought was, “Oh, I’m going to miss Ayan so much!” I wanted to move to Cambodia for a long, long time, but after I met you and your family and all of our other friends at Abbey Lane, it made our move so much harder.

I miss watching you sing and dance to Katy Perry (and all those other crazy pop stars) in our living room. I love how you can move your shoulders back and forth really fast.

I miss drinking sha at your house and sitting on your living room floor eating sambusa.

I missĀ all the hellos and hugs I always got from your family.

I miss laughing at you and Gabe when you would wear his hat, and he would wear your hijab.

I miss your beautiful eyes and smile and skin and laugh. And your love for bright, happy clothes.

I miss you so much!!

But I thank God that he brought you into my life, even if it was just for 15 months. I think of you often and pray for you. I hope that you will always know that you are smart and beautiful and that God loves you very much. And that I love you very much! Our whole family does!

When we come back to Ohio to visit next year sometime, I just want you to know that I’m going to give you the BIGGEST hug, and I’m not going to let go for a long time, not even if you say, “Done!”

Be good for your hooyo, and do your best in school! Make sure you go to tutoring every Tuesday, and help the younger kids with their homework!

Hugs and kisses, sweet girl!!

Love, Marla

4 thoughts on “dear ayan

  1. Pingback: dear ayan | Marla Taviano

  2. Ayan

    I miss you and I miss Ava ,Livi,Nina and tell than that I said hi and Gabe and I love you and can you give them a big hug!

  3. Sarah Farish

    I love this…perhaps because I got to witness Abbey Lane first hand – and it taught me SO much about the terms we use as Jesus followers – like missionary when we should say neighbor…and I could go on and on about how AL helped me to realize that perhaps God never meant for ministry to be a business that we set up with fancy terms, demographics, strategies, and such. That what he really desires is for us to love our neighbors and live for Him right where we are. Prayers today as you miss your people at AL:) I love you!

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