New country. New language. New culture. New life.
That pretty much explains my last several months.
I wish everyone could see what it is like to move to a foreign land. I am not talking about a week or two mission trip (although those are good too!)... but leave behind everything you know and go somewhere for a year or two or life. Its an amazing journey. Its full of adventure, learning, new experiences. I can promise, you won't regret it!
People from home often ask me "what is a typical day like?" I feel like there isn't a typical day! Everyday is unique... different... and fun (usually!)
I thought I would just put a small update on what it is like to "move away".
Friends from home .... Still friends but somehow it is different. There lives continue without you there. They have milestones in life that you have to miss...Forunately through todays technology.... They are just a click away. But of course... I am fortunate to be able to make new friends as well! Friends who will be life long and who are becoming like family to me here.
New language. This has truly been the hardest part of my journey so far. I pretty much came to mexico not being able to understand or say anything (i didn't even take it in high school!). At least now i can hold a small conversation... I can go to the store and be able to find what i need or ask about it, I can get around, if I'm lost I can ask for directions, etc. But there is nothing more frustrating then either not being able to say what you want when you want, or not being able to quickly and efficiantly thinking of the right word in the right form.
I can pretty much understand and follow conversations but when someone turns the conversation to me, in Spanish... It is like my body panics... And i no longer comprehend what they are saying. Frustrating.
I could keep talking about this... but I will stop here.
I know it will come with time and practice. And I thank God for the progress i have made.
New culture. This is actually a great part, mostly. It is an adventure every single day! New sites... new sounds... new smells... new food! I love it! (well... mostly love it. There are some crazy smells i don't typically enjoy... and some food I can't handle either!) There are some cultural things that make me laugh, some that make me just say..."really?", and some that make me smile and wonder why we dont do that specific thing everywhere. Of course there is always the times when i accidently offend someone by not greeting them.... Just last week, apparently there was a group of women in the park that i didnt greet...they asked someone if i didn't like them. Of course i do. I love them. But i wasn't paying attention. I didnt see them. It isn't the first cultural mistake.... And I'm confident it wont be the last!
Here are a few things I have learned along the way...
1. Communication... It may be hard for you to believe but it IS possible to communicate to another person without a common language! Even when I could only say a few words, I was still able to communicate. It teaches you a lot about how relationships and friendships work and how communicating is so much more than just the words you say.
2. Being Silly... Ok this isn't a stretch for me... because if you knew me before Mexico you know that I am willing to be silly. I am willing to do just about anything. But, moving to a foreign country where you don't really know the "rules" of the culture. You find yourself doing something that is dumb... and you realize that you have to just laugh at yourself and brush it off!
3. Being open minded... I am a whole lot more open minded then I ever was before. I am not just talking about people and places (I have always been pretty open minded about that)... But about cultural experiences... food... etc.
4. There is no shame in saying "I don't know".
5. Be yourself. I will NEVER fit in here! I am white and stink at dancing! I just need to be me... and that is enough!
(I am sure I hit the "publish post" i will think of more i should have written here!)
And above all of that... God has taught me numerous things about MYSELF. It is pretty incredible. I could write an entire blog on just that topic!
I could expand more on of those topics (if you want, ask!) but... I think you get the picture, for now at least!
There have been some definite ups and downs on this journey. But the ups FAR out number and out weigh the downs! I thank God for the opportunity to be here... everyday!
But, this blog is long enough... and my dog wants to play!