November 5, 2004

Taking Applications

My life right now is not so very different from what it was a couple of months ago.

I mean, of course, there are some huge differences as far as geography is concerned and national languages; but overall, if I closed my eyes and forgot I was in another country, today could have happened this last summer. I got up, I went to work at the church, I organized some things, worked on Sunday school lessons, drove to the store out of boredom, and I have spent the last couple of hours reading a book. Definitely sounds like my life as the summer intern in Jasper.

Well, except for when I got up at 6 because the sun was shining in my eyes; and when it took me 45 minutes to drive the 5 miles to work; and of course, I never had to revert to hand signals and miming in Texas to ask the cashier at the grocery store a question about apples; and in a good turn of events, I didn’t have to buy the book to read since there is an excellent library at this church.

But, let’s look at the big picture here, ok?

Oddly enough, this is a comforting thing to me tonight. I know I talk big about adventures and wanting to get away from the life I already know, but sometimes, it’s nice to be in the familiar. I think this is a good sign. Every day life isn’t stressful anymore. I’m settling down and getting comfortable. I even cut somebody off in traffic this afternoon and didn’t feel a bit guilty. I’ve had some good experiences with the kids lately and with my boss, and instead of feeling overwhelmed at the ever increasing demands on my time, I feel challenged. Bring it on. I’m ready for it now.

Well, except maybe for my Spanish test on Monday. I haven’t studied at all this week and I have a feeling I’ve lost some ground on my understanding of direct object pronouns. Even though no one will ever see these grades, I nonetheless still feel the need to make a good showing. I guess I still study on Sunday night, because really, why mess with tradition?

I really need to be writing my newsletter for this month, but I haven’t found the words yet. But it is on my list of things to do this weekend. It’s looking like Sunday night is going to be a long one. Man, it feels good to be back in the saddle. J Procrastination is definitely comfortable, familiar territory.

I’m hoping to get the nerve up to go to Antigua by myself tomorrow. I really, really want to go, but I’m also really, really nervous about going anywhere by myself. Antigua is a lot safer than Guatemala City and I have a great desire to go and explore it some more. I’m honestly more nervous about getting into a situation where I can’t communicate well enough than anything else.

If not this weekend, I am going next weekend. I do have to help paint in the youth room tomorrow morning and it is going to take a chunk out of my day. And with daylight ending around 5:30, I don’t have as much flexibility. It’s just plain stupid to be out by myself at night, even if it’s safer. Oh, well. No use debating it in here. I’ll decide tomorrow. But I am promising myself a trip out of the city within the next week. I need it. I think escaping every once and a while will be the only way I can survive living in this big city.

So, I’ve been thinking, (which I’ll admit I’ve been doing too much lately) and I’ve noticed something about this trip that is different from those in the past. Since I’ve been here, I’ve done a remarkable job in keeping in touch with my friends. I guess this is in part because I actually have the means to be on the internet regularly, which isn’t a luxury afforded in the middle of the woods at camp. But even this summer, when I had internet at my disposable almost 24/7, I only wrote emails occasionally and hardly called.

Here, though, I’m back at blogging semi-regularly, I have the rule that I can call one friend each weekend (since that is all I can afford), I’ve talked to my parents every week, and I’ve written emails like it’s going out of style. I knew from the very beginning that I’d been better since I got here, but I didn’t really want to think about it much because I saw it as a weakness. I thought I was leaning too heavily on my foundational friends instead of branching out and making friends here.

It’s true that I don’t really have any friends here yet. But, while I’ve been here about a month now, I don’t think I’ve done anything wrong. It’s simply a matter of time and availability. I’ve laid the groundwork for friendships to grow, but these friendships take longer to produce fruit. It’s not like college or camp where you spend hours together each day. Under those circumstances, it’s easier to get the feel for someone or to find your common ground. There are people here that I barely spend an hour with each week.

So, instead of berating myself at failing to make friends quickly, I’m going to just relax and be myself and trust that God will provide for me.

Anyway, I was thinking about this tonight, and I realized that I miss my friends from college and camp. And it’s totally ok. In fact, I’m going to say that it’s a great thing for me to realize. I often try to be so independent that I forget what it feels like to lean back and let others catch me. I want to be the hero so badly that I don’t always enjoy letting others be my hero.

Because I’ve been missing my support group so much lately, I’ve also wondered what that means for my future wanderings. Does it mean that I’m getting to the point where I’m willing to sacrifice my wanderlust in order to have some stability and comfort? I don’t know. I can’t imagine that this will be the end of my wandering; but maybe, I need to find a partner. I like being alone to a certain extent, and we all know that I love to be independent, but it sure would be nice to share some of these moments with someone who understood just how amazing it is to be here.

So, I’m taking applications for a travel partner for my next adventure, due to depart sometime after June 2005.

Any takers?

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