Well, I have been meaning to write a closing blog to Nicaragua since we’ve gotten home. But each time I think about writing it, it just makes me tired. So, the other day I walked to a Starbucks, sat down and wrote in my journal about this New Year, and being home and I thought I would share it with you all. Here goes…
So what the heck have we been doing since we've landed back Stateside? Well, we have been adjusting to a much faster and expensive pace of life. I have started working as a nanny three days a week and have pretty much concluded that this in combination with some other sort of part-time job is what I'm going to do till a new school year rolls around. Josh on the other hand is working as a one man show opening up a branch of a news monitoring company called Dateline Media. He is the Operations Manager, Sales Manager, Production Guy, I.T. Guy and Accountant all mixed into one. Needless to say he's had a pretty steep learning curve but an extremely proud wife as he tackles this position. While these jobs aren't exactly what we thought we'd be doing we are thankful for our jobs especially in the reality of our country's current economic state.
But let’s go back and reminisce for a moment about our first few days at home. I wrote down a list of all the things we found to be surprisingly different from Nicaragua. The first was how you have to pump your own gas! Josh actually forgot you have to swipe your card before you start pumping otherwise you have to go inside. Guess that’s what you get for not having to use plastic for a whole year! Drinking milk was a marvelous new addition to the diet. Milk in Nicaland is good with cereal but not for drinking on its own (unless it had been put in the freezer for about 20 minutes and doused with a bunch of chocolate and was then downed rapidly.)
But at an emotional level, for me the whole thing has been strangely unemotional up until about 5 days ago when we hit our two month mark of being home. I kept waiting for the wave that has hit in the times before when I’ve come back after being gone for a long period of time. For how tantalizing home sounded and for how it frequently made me struggle, neither of us were riding an emotional wave regarding leaving Nicaragua or coming back to Seattle. It just all felt surreal. Sitting in the airport, getting on that 1st plane, reaching Houston, reading English magazines during our long layover, and then getting back to our long awaited destination, it didn’t really feel like ever sunk in emotionally. I remember getting to Seattle and having my in-laws meet us at the airport, my mother-in-law said “I’m so excited! You’re finally home! Aren’t you excited?!” Honestly, I didn’t feel much of anything, not sadness at leaving Nicaragua, nor excitement to be home, it was just a new change and the ending to a wonderful year. I’m still not quite sure what to make of it all, but I think part of that void is just that we know we accomplished what we were supposed to, we will be returning to Nicaragua in the future, and that we are where God wants us to be. Because of that we have peace in all things.
So, what’s culture shock like? I’d say we’re adjusted pretty easily to life back in the States! We still marvel at how uneventful and quiet driving is, how big and spacious the roads feel, how delicious milk tastes, how wonderful being with friends and family is, and how much we miss speaking Spanish daily and even feeling sweaty. The one lingering thing I find is that shopping still takes a lot longer because there are so many options to choose from. Also, it’s incredible how productive you can be up here, everything just runs so smoothly. I remember one day shortly after we got back where I went to the bank, to the post office, filled up on gas, returned some things at the mall, hung out with my brother and went grocery shopping. All of this was accomplished in one day and done without breaking into a sweat or getting irritated by lack of progress! It’s seriously amazing!
With all that said, I think one of the biggest struggles we are up against is the subtle, and not so subtle, pressures of life in the States. We live with family, we have one and a half (now that I’m nannying part-time) incomes, which is enough but doesn’t enable us the financial independence married 24 year olds should supposedly have. We are so grateful Josh does have a job; yet it is a struggle to trust sometimes that life won’t always stay at his point and that we are doing and have done amazing feats of faith. Sometimes it’s easier to walk in that trust when you are out of the ordinary than when you live in what has always been home. It’s comfortable, maybe almost too comfortable, and now comes the battles of taking what we’ve learned, perspectives that have changed, and apply them to the life we knew before. It is an interesting journey. While I love the busyness of life and the comfort of home, I also miss the parts of simplicity of life in Nicaragua. I miss our Nica family. We miss not being there for the first day of school which happened last week, receiving our daily hugs from the kids, hanging out with dear friends, and reading copious amounts of books. But either way, I am grateful for the beauties and differences of each place and the knowledge that my heart is at peace.
So here’s to another year filled with completely new joys, frustrations, and adventures. Thank you for journeying with us. We have appreciated all the love, encouragement and support knowing you have been able to walk with this past year. We will continue posting life events on this blog, although they won’t be related to daily life in Nicaragua.