One of the weirdest things in life for me is the transition from doing something entirely unfamiliar to it suddenly being a part of your everyday, normal life. I remember last March when I had my interview for grad school at Georgia State — I couldn’t find the building I was supposed to be at, was intimidated by the professors I met, and felt like a fish out of water. Fast forward to September, where I was driving to and from and around Atlanta every day, talking to professors who knew my name, and could walk through at least part of campus with my eyes shut. It’s so weird how magically one day, without realizing that it happened, you’re suddenly familiar with something that was once brand new and scary.
When I got to Colombia a month ago, one of my first thoughts was, “wow I am never going to learn my way around this place even if I try.” Every intersection looked the same, and the view of the mountains everywhere you turn, while pretty, makes it hard to differentiate between places. On top of thinking I wouldn’t learn my way around directionally (which let’s face it, I’m directionally challenged in the U.S. too, so that’s not anything new), I really just thought I wouldn’t get used to everyday life here either. Living back in Spanish 24/7 was exhausting, I was riding on the back of a motorcycle every day and trying not to think about whether anybody’s ever fallen off of one on the highway… The day I got introduced at Sueños de Vivir, I doubted I would ever really grow into that place. I thought I was going to be a fish out of water for two months.
But now, here I am, realizing once again how strange it is that a place once entirely foreign is now normal. I can literally tell you when you should brace yourself on the moto because you’re about to go over a bump in the road. I can tell you that if someone says you’re leaving at 7:00, you can expect to leave at 7:25. I had to tell my students at Sueños de Vivir on Monday that I only have three weeks left with them, and I think those people — that group of teenagers that I never thought I would enjoy or fit in with — are going to be my hardest goodbye. They have taught me most of all how possible it is to grow familiar with a place and how important relationships are in helping that along.
Spanish almost 24/7 is still difficult. Code switching is difficult. I still get frustrated sometimes with differences in life here. Life is by no means perfect. But it’s familiar, and for that, I’m thankful.
Basically, the “too long, didn’t read” version of this is that life is weird and unexpected and God is good. Hebron arrives here two weeks from yesterday and I am stoked that included in the trip is one of my most favorite friends from back home. It’s occasionally lonely here, so it’ll be nice to have a Georgia friend here in the flesh for a week. You can be praying for that trip as it approaches — the goal of the group is to, as Dustin says, “be a shot in the arm to the local ministry.” We want relationships to be formed between the locals here and the church here, not with us. Hebron is here for a week, Aby and his people are here for the long haul, and they’re the ones with the ability to invest in the lives of others. As for me, I’ve been struggling a lot this week with anxiety and feeling hopelessly overwhelmed. Pray that I can feel restored and stop feeling so ridiculously anxious because honestly, I’m over it and the pit in my stomach that won’t go away. As always, feel free to fb message me, tweet me, iMessage me, etc. about life in Georgia. I love staying in the loop and hearing what others have been up to.