Hang in there!
I've gotta preface this one a bit, but stay with me...
(and sorry I don't have any pictures to illustrate this story, but maybe you'll read it anyway?)
So we were in the States for 3 weeks starting at the end of June. I did something I shouldn't have. You see, when we got on the airplane to leave Managua, and the movie came on (I think it was "When in Rome" - very cheesy), and I started sipping Ginger-ale on ice...I took a deep breath and checked out of Nicaragua.
I checked out physically, emotionally, spiritually, psychologically, and all those other "ally"s and completely surrendered myself back to my homeland, my family, my friends, my comforts, and really good food, and meanwhile I stuffed Nicaragua in some old box up in the attic.
So after a fantastic, and fast, 3 weeks in the States, we were packing up to go back to Nicaragua. "Are you excited to go back?" my dad asked me the night before we left, "ummm...well..." (I'm squirming inside), "I'm excited to see the dogs again..." Then I said something about how I would, "selfishly," prefer to stay put, but that I think I'll be happy to see people when we get back to Nicaragua.
"Am I excited to go back?" I dunno. Am I?
Right now, we've got a great friend, Emily Willard, visiting us for two weeks here in Rio Blanco, and we met her at 4:30AM on July 12th to head to the airport and fly out together to Nicaragua.
We got to the airport and I just felt so disappointed that I was back. Isn't that awful. But it's true, so that's all I can say - I wasn't happy to be back. I started noticing Nicaraguan cultural nuances that I'd forgotten, the stuff that I'd packed away in the attic for 3 weeks, and for some reason, they annoyed me so much - I didn't have patience for them (or even a fondness of them) like I had before I left. I was experiencing culture shock. I haven't experienced culture shock like this in years.
I could go into lots of detail about our day, but to keep it short, at 4:30PM (12 hours of traveling later), we were loading our many suitcases on top of a public bus to head to Rio Blanco (a 4 hour trip). I was dreading, I mean dreading, the 4 hour bus trip. I was just ready for a bed! BUT, we were on the last leg of the trip and hope of being "home" was near.
Then, there was the straw (you know, the one that broke the camel's back - whatever that means), when Tedd tells us:
"there aren't any more seats on the bus...
we'll have to stand."
now the four-hour trip I'd been dreading all day would be spent STANDING!!?!?!?!!! RAAAAAAAAAWRRRR!!!
Well, that's how I felt inside. And as the bus took off, I grabbed on to the overhead bars and let my weary body hang there while I took in the familiar sights, smells, and sounds...and despised all of it. I spent the next 5 minutes or so crying into Tedd's armpit (he had to hang on too) and I vented a bit. I was tired, cranky, and culture-shocked.
For the next five hours, Tedd, Emily, and I told stories and played games to keep ourselves sane as we stood in the crowded bus aisle. It was hard to keep a good attitude after some ladies got aggressive in the aisle and started to squish us so they could get comfy, and when we realized the trip was going to be 5 hours instead of 4, and when the kid sitting down next to us threw up by our feet...yeah that was awful, too. But, after it was all said and done, we "hung in there" (literally and figuratively, you see).
Thankfully, I've bounced back since. I've accepted the fact that I'm gonna be back here for awhile and that I need to settle in again. I'm starting to, once again, laugh off the things I find very annoying about this culture, and I'm remembering all the things I think are great about this culture. Emily has been a great encouragement and source of fellowship during her visit here, I love being with our puppy dogs, and I'm starting to get excited about literacy classes again. It's all gonna be okay. God will give me the strength to serve Him with a joyful heart and take on life here in Nicaragua - I'm sure of that!
Thanks for tuning in.
Next...I is for Illiteracy