Last month, we celebrated our 1 year anniversary on the field. Actually, celebrate is probably too strong of a term. Briefly acknowledged is more accurate. To be honest, the actual day was a really bad one. It was at the end of my mom’s visit, she was still pretty sick, and I was having one of my “Why in the world am I here?” days. It didn’t feel very celebratory. I didn’t feel much like counting the little victories or reflecting on the blog. A post written on that day would probably have gone something like this. “We made it. Nobody has starved to death. None of us has been admitted to the psych ward. We’re still here. What more do you want?”
I’ve learned with the ebb and flow of life here that if I’m willing to ride the waves of grief and sorrow when they come, I eventually find myself back on the beach enjoying the sunshine. So, even though I wish I didn’t struggle like I have with the realities of life here, I’m learning to live and grow through those struggles. Which leads me to the point of this post...
We made it through a full year! Actually, we’re at 13 months now. And I’ve learned a few (gazillion) things in that year. Things about life, things about my faith, and things about myself. Here are just a few of them:
- Eggs don’t need to be refrigerated.
- I don’t like guava or grapefruit, no matter how many of them are dripping off the trees in my backyard.
- Pointsettias can grow to be really, really big.
- Powdered milk tastes much better if it is refrigerated in a glass pitcher.
- It is not the responsibility of merchants to carry correct change. If I don’t have it, I shouldn’t be surprised when I receive my change in the form of really disgusting candies.
- The rest of the world does not consider America to be the center of the world. They don’t look at world history through the lens of George Washington. Who knew? Making friends from around the world has been enlightening in that way.
- Reese’s eggs taste really good, even if they have traveled 6 weeks in a bubble envelope and you have to scrape 60% of them off the wax insert with your front teeth.
- Most of my Muslim neighbors love their kids. They work hard. They are kind. They think it’s ridiculous that “Muslims” are bombing churches, sort of how I think it’s ridiculous that “Christians” are bombing abortion clinics.
- 24 hours of electricity a day is overkill. Seriously, we function just as well on 12 or 14. 17 minutes however, is not enough.
- It’s really, really important to choose your spouse wisely. If God calls you to the ends of the earth with somebody, you had better like them. Thank the Lord I got that one right!
- Chameleons are absolutely fascinating while mosquitos are simply annoying.
- God doesn’t need Sunday school classes or youth group socials to teach my kids some pretty amazing lessons, as evidenced here.
- My kids miss Sunday School and youth group socials.
- I love bacon. Especially when I don’t have to cut the hairy rind off of it. In fact, if I have to cut the hairy rind off of it, I won't be tempted to eat it!
- It’s a lot easier to save money when your shopping options are limited.
- The Lord cares about the details of my life and can provide for me in some really creative and surprising ways.
- I like blue jeans. I miss blue jeans. When I visit America, I will probably wear only blue jeans. So, if you’re going to invite me to a wedding or a fancy dinner or to speak at your church, there’s your warning.
- I hold enormous powers of embarrasment over my children, as evidenced by their begging and pleading everytime I hint that I’m going to purchase a caftan style dress to wear around the house. Don’t you think that would make a good substitue for blue jeans? Oh, and I could wear it when I speak at your church too!
- Just because you’re certain that God has called you to something, you better not expect it to be easy. But, you can expect it to be worthwhile.