It has been over a month since I left my home of Cleveland, Ohio and I can honestly say that time has FLOWN by. I have been living in La Plata for almost three weeks…what??!! Before arriving here I had a fear of time passing slowly and missing home. Now, I fear time passing too quickly and that I’ll be back home and missing Argentina before I know it. I think it’s a bit irrational of a fear, but it’s irrationally present.
I think time is passing so quickly because I still feel so new to this place. Everyday is a constant, yet beautiful, struggle to learn and get accustomed to the world around me. I’ve always been a bit of a child when it comes to the amount of sleep I need, but now it’s just downright pathetic as I find myself so mentally drained by the end of each day. It takes an incredible amount of energy and focus to simply try to keep up with the conversations taking place around me. All day, everyday…yeah I need a bit of sleep.
Before traveling here I purchased a Spanish/English Bible that has been one of the greatest resources in learning new words. Each page has two columns: one side with verses in Spanish, the other in English. This morning I read Matthew 18 with a very new understanding. Verses two through four state, “And He (Jesus) said, ‘I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
I’ve never truly understood what it means to be humble like a child, and I may never completely, but I think I’m getting closer. I am nowhere near receiving the “Greatest in Heaven” badge. That’s not at all what I am trying to say nor can I praise myself for being in a situation that the Lord placed me in. However, those of you who know me, know that I like to think that I’m always right, that I like to have control over the situations taking place in my life, and that I think I can achieve most things that I want to on my own, without the guidance of others. I’ve really had to step out of those roles that I’ve created for myself these past few weeks. I praise the Lord for showing me what it means to realize that I am not okay on my own, that I do not know everything (in fact, I know very little), that I am so in need of grace and guidance and the joy that only comes through Him. I am but a child.
Even beyond such realizations, everything has continued wonderfully here. I am continuously growing in friendship with the people around me and with my level of comfort with my surroundings. I am learning more of the language everyday and continue to have my ups and downs.
One thing that I have really learned is to celebrate my accomplishments, no matter how small. I’ve made steps in my cooking abilities here, learning to use the oven to make granola, cookies, and empanadas and I’m proud of myself for doing so. (I’m going to continue working on my empanada skills so that we can have an empanada feast when you get here, family. Get excited!) I find joy in carrying out full conversations and using, “Qué?,” only a couple of times vs. every other word as is often the case. I can’t help but secretly pat myself on the back when I interject one of my new vocab words into a discussion. These little joys are so motivating throughout my day. They are proof that I am learning something despite often feeling like I’m running in circles.
There are a lot of other small things that I’ve had to learn and grow accustomed to. The biggest of the “littles”? Eating dinner between 9:30 and 11:00 each night. All of my previous roommates in the US know that this is my typical bedtime. There has to be a really good reason for me to stay up past 11:00 and there aren’t many. Sure, some people will eat an early dinner here….at 8:30 pm, but that’s for wimps. One night I ate at 9:00 pm and my roommates laughed at my early hours. My stomach has been really struggling with this new schedule for some time, but I’m working on it. And by working on it, I mean that I have a large dinner-like snack at 5 pm to get me through the rest of the day.
There is one other thing that I struggle to be grow accustomed to. My first nights here I kept hearing horrible screams that sounded like someone being tortured. I was very concerned, but no one else seemed to be. When my roommate noticed the distressed look on my face, she laughed and said, “El teatro (theater).” You see there is a theater within the church building and attached to our home, which puts on classes and practices (what are apparently very violent scenes) until very late. Now, I have the pleasure of falling asleep every night to the cries of someone dying. Part of me wants to get comfortable with this so I can sleep easily through it, and part of me feels like it’s wrong if I ever do.
I am slowly beginning my work here and am excited to share with you as I continue to get involved. However, I am going to wait to share about such things for one more week. There’s only so much I can write and there’s only so much that you want to read within each post. One week at a time (or a little longer in this posts case)…
All of you back home will continue to remain in my thoughts and prayers! Thank you so much for the prayers and support that many of you have been providing me up to this point. If you feel called to continue to pray for me, I ask for prayers for open eyes and heart, continued learning, and the energy I need to be truly present and understanding throughout the day. LOTS of energy!
I talked about maté in my last post. This is one example of a maté, although they come in many shapes and forms. The "straw" or bombila has a mini filter at the end to keep one from drinking any of the yerba.
Cookie, round 1. Somehow all the cookies just ended up being one very large cookie.
Cookies, round 2: A little flour....much better! It's the little things that make me happy:)
Speaking of little things...isn't she just the cutest??? Little Morita posing in front of the Catedral.
So I'm a little in love with her. But during the very rainy past week we had here, nothing made me happier than a good book and a sleeping pup.
This was a gift from, Iara, the cousin of one of my roommates. She liked me solely based on the fact that I spoke English. At only 6 or 7, she surprised me by interacting with me in a little English of her own. Nothing better than a bilingual "I love you" sign.