Well, I’ve been back in the U.S. for a day now, and I’m still somewhat in culture shock. It’s not really severe or anything, but it’s just strange to here in the land of television and very sweet candy.
My trip home was bittersweet. It’s always tough to say goodbye, but maybe Yoli and I are getting to be old hats at this. This time is different–we have very real things to look forward to, and very real work to do during our time apart. It was also hard for me to say goodbye to Bolivia, to the seminary and the mission and the people in those places, to her family, to her friends.
We did so much more than I ever dreamed we would. I came there to learn about Yoli’s culture and her family; I ended up joining them by getting engaged. I came here to design a website for the seminary; I also designed two brochures and started a website for other ministries. I came, planning to stay for four weeks; I stayed five.
I already miss many things. I miss all the people walking in the streets and neighborhoods. I miss the little stores and businesses on every block. I miss the hexagonal blocks they use in many of the roads. I miss drinking hot mate. I miss driving past the “smelly market” in a crowded bus that I’m too tall for. I miss my independence from TV and the news media. I miss the beautiful wild green mountains and the incredible scenery outside Santa Cruz. I miss ficus trees and palms. I miss the dogs on every street. I miss the way everyone builds walls around their property. I miss milk men pushing their carts down the street and playing their “moo” sound effect over and over. I miss Spanish, even though I’m not too good at it.
Already I can feel myself being sucked back in. While candy here still tastes too sweet to me (I didn’t have much candy in Bolivia), I know I’ll gorge myself on it if I’m not careful. And I’ve seen more TV in 24 hours here than I probably watched in 5 weeks in Bolivia. It’s cold in St. Louis. I’m in my room in the basement (which feels familiar, since it’s got a concrete floor), and I’m freezing.
And of course I miss Yoli very much. Now is our time to be separated again and to spend time preparing for marriage. We both have some reading and talking and deciding to do together. But separately, I need to finish my part of the visa application and mail it in. I need to get money by collecting on debts, selling unused computer equipment, and getting full-time work (hopefully with health benefits). I need to find a place to live that’s affordable. There’s much to do, and much I need to trust God for.
I learned a lot in Bolivia. I can’t wait to go back, hopefully in six months or so. I hope we can go back often, and maybe we’ll live there. Our plans are in God’s hands.
It really was an amazing adventure.
So — is this the end? No! At the very least, I will have new pictures to put online here by Sunday or Monday. So make sure you check back for that.
Thanks to everyone for reading the site, and thanks especially to those who posted comments here or emailed me. You made me smile every day!