We often talk about how some things have just become “normal” around here. Zipping around a bus that is dropping people off is pretty much expected, and it’s what we do!! Guys peeing along the side of the street are just a “normal” (but not necessarily welcome…) sight, and swerving out of the way to miss a dog is a common thing to do. So many of the “normals” around here are things that would have gotten me completely up in arms in the states, but my views on what are reasonable and acceptable have changed a lot, and, I think in general, Guatemala has changed me in many different ways!!
First, I am much more relaxed about times, etc. In the states I ALWAYS wore a watch; the thought of even being a few minutes late would get me really worried and frantic that we wouldn’t be there on time!! Around here, there really is no such thing as “on time,” a few minutes late is the norm and being early is an extreme rarity! Now, I do still try to be semi on time, but being exact isn’t as big of a “fear” for me!
Also, I think I have come to appreciate all the things that I have much more than before Guatemala. In the states, I still wasn’t one that would want to buy clothing to just wear once and never pull it out of my closet again, but I am even more conscious of those things around here. And really, it’s hard not to be a little more conscious… when we drive out of our community and see people walking around barefoot, dirty and in torn clothing, why do we feel like we need so much?
I have learned to treasure friendships even more so than before. When you live away from most people that are around the same age as you and speak the same language as you, eventually you need some friends to hang out with!! Whether that means work teams, volunteers, church friends, whatever!! Also (as much as I hate to admit it), I have lost touch with many friends in the states, so those that stay in touch are even more valuable than I would have though before!
I have learned to work, and to enjoy working! If someone would have told me in the states that I would be shoveling sand and helping with concrete, I probably would’ve told them they’re nuts. But what do you know?
My sisters have become friends, even more than “simply” sisters. I guess when there aren’t other friend’s houses to go to and too many others to hang out with; you learn to love those around you even more!!
I have learned to rely on God much, MUCH more! Life in Guate isn’t always thrilling, or even safe for that matter, so I have learned to trust God and depend on Him in everything! I have seen him provide things and perform miracles (no matter how small they are) in ways I never would have thought before!!
I have learned that goodbyes never get easier, never. Saying goodbye to a little one that you may never see again, and really don’t know what their situation will be like at home, is a REALLY hard thing to do. Every time. Never easier. NEVER!!
Guatemala (and God, for that fact) has taught me that no two children are the same. Each child is different in their own special way, and each needs to be loved in a different way. A hug and snuggling works perfectly for one child, but rough housing works better for another! Some children won’t even look at you, but others come running as soon as the car engine cuts off, looking for loving. I guess the variety is kind of nice though!!
Here are a few more random ways that Guatemala has changed me. I think my stomach has become much stronger. If I look at some of the things I eat, some straight off the street, I probably shouldn’t be eating it. But the stuff is oh so good!!!! Also, I have learned to drive like a Guatemalan. Look out; the USA roads will never be safe again!! =) Ok, I’ll take it easy… Oh, and I’ve learned Spanish, small thing.
|Carnitas, I wouldn't suggest eating them unless you've "prepared" your stomach, but they're amazing!!|
I think that, in general, when someone moves to another country, it is impossible not to change and not to learn new things. I know for a fact that I have changed and learned new things since moving to Guatemala, and I’d say, overall, it has been a good thing!! I just pray that I can use my new knowledge and changes in life to honor and glorify God!