I am back in America! Yay!…?
What it’s Like to Be Back
It is so *insert emotion/adjective here* being back. I am overjoyed to be back with family and friends that I haven’t seen for a while. My favorite thing about being back is all the welcome-back-I-haven’t-seen-you-in-forever hugs. I love them so much. It’s worth being gone just to be able to say hello again!
At the same time, it is so weird. It seems like nothing has changed except me. Of course, some things are different but for the most part I don’t feel like I missed anything. In many ways, it feels like I haven’t even been gone. When I see someone for the first time, it feels like it hasn’t been that long since I’ve seen them but for them it feels like it has been a long time since they have seen me! I think it’s because I haven’t been around to notice my own absence. It’s all very surreal.
Lastly, I miss Spain already. I keep saying “at home” and I’m referring to Madrid. I miss the language and public transportation the most. If I could make America speak Spanish and put better public transportation in the suburbs, I would be a happy camper. I think what would be ideal is if I took my family, my friends, my church, and my university and put them in Madrid and then put Madrid on a beach. Yes.
That being said, God is moving in Southern California. Everyone I have talked to has told me that He is changing their lives and the lives of those around them in miraculous ways. I am so happy that I’ll get to be a part of it! In fact, I am positively elated that I am a part of it!
What I Learned
I learned “un montón” of things. Montón is my favorite word in Spanish, I think. I’ll name a few here.
Firstly, I learned to live with a lot less. I had two jackets to choose from every day in Madrid, but then I came home to probably twelve jackets and sweaters. I had four pairs of shoes to choose from every day in Madrid, but I have twenty or so pairs here in Cali. I brought three T-shirts with me, and I have about 50,000 here. I had a serious case of anomie (AKA the paradox of choice AKA being so overwhelmed that you refuse to participate in making a decision) so I got rid of half of my closet. A lot of the articles of clothing were old, but there was a lot that I simply did not need! As one of my friends said, I bet our eyes would be opened a lot more if we went to a third world country.
Secondly, I learned how to live a slower and less complicated life. On the same day that I was sitting by the fountain in the park being happy, I realized that you don’t have to be busy to live a full life. All I need to be happy is Jesus, other people, and telling other people about Jesus! That is what we were put here for, after all. Everything else – all the other business – is just…stuff! The key is using that stuff to tell people about Him. I was too busy before I left, so I am planning on simplifying life and taking up less things. Worth is not measured by business.
Lastly, I learned a lot about my purpose. I discovered the things that God put in me naturally that I can do better than many people, and this will affect which activities I choose to take part in. This includes a job, extracurriculars, volunteer opportunities, etc.
How was it after all?
Spain was…amazing. It was phenomenal. It was the best experience of my life. It was one of the happiest experiences of my life. (The happiest?) It was beautiful. It was an adventure. It was a challenge. It was a blessing. It was wonderful. I honestly can’t say enough good things about it. As a mentor of mine said, it kicked fear out of my life. I tackled the fear of the unknown and overcame it. This has made me a much more open person. I welcome change because I know that God is with me and that He has final say over my life. I did a lot of things I would not have done before (sleep in a hostel with four strangers, to name one), and even though they weren’t necessarily big things, I learned that I am capable of a lot more than I thought. I will be much less likely to turn down a (seemingly) crazy opportunity now.
To anyone who is reading this that is playing with the idea of going abroad: GO ABROAD. It will be one of the best decisions you ever make. If you have the opportunity, take it! I am so blessed to have a family that was so supportive (physically (money) and emotionally) of my going abroad.
I hope that my blog posts inspired you, my reader, in whatever way it might have been. Thank you for sticking with me on this journey. It seems like my journey just ended but really, the journey has just begun!