Oi—that’s my most used word these days. It’s a little more lighthearted than the big sigh I want to give all the time and Lord knows I need a little light in my heart!
I leave Belize is a little less than one month. Everything is more final, more dramatic, more ‘everything’ these days.
Sarah left yesterday. She’s the first of the steady stream of us that’s to leave this year She’s home; we’re here; this isn’t happening.
We now talk about leaving all the time—at home, at work, on the street, in church—and my phrase is: ‘I don’t want to talk about it’; as if I don’t talk about it, it won’t happen! Right.
I will be devastated to leave my life here---my friends, my work, the people, the culture, the beauty, all that I have worked hard to know and love these past two years. This is really my home now, and thinking of leaving makes me very very sad.
However, I’m not so stuck in the muck that I’m not able to still laugh (at myself and others), appreciate the moment, take a deep breath and look around. That’s a step.
This weekend I’m supposed to go to my football game in Pomona (a few hours south of Belize City) but Ms Cherry invited me over and to me, that’s more important. It’s father’s day, and they are having a rough time these days with holidays, as their son Emilio, died less than a year ago. We might go to burial ground, we might not, we might just sit and watch television---but whatever we do will be right and will be enough. I’m just pleased that she invited me.
I had my last session last weekend—these sessions are a pain in my butt. They’re for work and they’re held pretty much every other Saturday . I disliked them because they were from 2-4 in on a Saturday—right in the middle of the day and the weekend, prohibiting me from doing much of anything. However, these sessions were so good for the Hand in Hand folks. We started to slowly build community and this last session proved that. We had the BEST session---talking about how we’re all family and how family helps each other, we pledged to help each other paint, clean, do jobs that would normally require hired hands and money. We spoke of the connection we all have and the power within us to teach, learn and help. I told the folks that I truly couldn’t have ended on a better note. Then there were lots of hugs and goodbyes, which was sad. I feel like I’m abandoning people, which, I guess I am. Great.
It’s hot. Always. We just turned the lights off in the office because we’re not even moving, we’re just sitting here and we’re sweating. Ugh.
Recently, but strongly these days, I’ve been wanting to rip the bandaid off. That’s my term for knowing that the pain of the transition is coming, and just waiting to do it all in one fell swoop and to do it soon. It scares me that I have strong feelings of wanting to leave---it’s not that I want to cut my time here short, it’s just that it’s going to be SO hard and it might as well start now! However, instead of ripping off the bandaid, I’m kinda doing the opposite. . . .
Some exciting news is my upcoming travel plans. I’m, as my mom says, taking the ‘Maria’ way back. My roommate and I will bus through Central America, stopping in El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama. We have places to stay in all countries except Costa Rica, so if you know anyone that would like to host us, PLEASE let us know. We’re trying to do this on the budget that JVI gave us for our tickets back to the states. After Panama, I will fly to Boston to go to Lakeville for a bit, then make my way to Philly, then fly to Milwaukee to see Cherry Abbey folks, and then finally to Portland. Phew. I think that travel time will allow me to decompress and to be grateful (rather than resentful) when I arrive on familiar soil.
I don’t really know what else to write. How to encompass two years that were amazing, challenging, lonely, difficult, joyful, confusing, full of so much love, and everything in between!?! I’m sad these days, but I’m happy too; I’m terrified of leaving and returning to a culture that I’m not thrilled about, but I’m excited about the possibilities that await me; I don’t want to leave the friendship of my roommates, Ms Cherry, and others, but am thrilled to think about seeing family and friends again. It’s an up and down time. But, (thanks to our Spirituality night last night in which we sought to look for the Christ in each other) I’ve been thinking about Jesus today. He had ups and downs; I’m sure He was sad about stuff and His transition wouldn’t have looked too good from His point of view. But thank goodness He did what He did, and because He did, we can too. So, there’s that.
We’ve got exciting plans before we go: a farewell BBQ, adventures within and outside of the city, and just ‘being’ while we still have the time and luxury to do just that.
I hope you all are well, joyously loving yourself and others, and reveling in this one life we’ve got.
Strange to say, but. . .See you soon!