Right now I am experiencing something that I never expected to experience in El Salvador. I am experiencing cold! I am shivering, wrapped in a sweater, and drinking hot tea just to stay warm! What the heck? I moved to the tropics to get away from the cold…so unexpected!
And yet here we are digging through closets for all the sweaters and blankets we can find and just trying to stay warm. Temperatures are a very windy upper 50s at night which is downright cold in a concrete house with no insulation. I find myself once again surprised by El Salvador, as I have been time and time again.
One thing I have learned living here is to expect the unexpected. Every week seems to bring some new, random situation. A few weeks ago, someone dumped sugar in Jon’s gas tank…very unexpected. Two weeks ago, I had a meeting with Ian’s preschool teacher because he had apparently not been talking in class all year…again unexpected. We never know what is coming around the corner, whether it’s an unforeseen cultural adjustment issue with one of our kids, or some situation like a political rally that has the city in complete gridlock, or even an issue with one of our cars such as having to drive to Guatemala to get new tires (Jon did that last week).
I’ve always wanted a life that wasn’t “normal” but some days I think I went a little too far outside the box!
Recently the thing that has thrown me for the biggest unexpected loop is something that seems kind of strange. The unexpected thing is how much I am starting to feel comfortable in El Salvador. I didn’t think this day would ever come. I’ve had days when I hated being in El Salvador, where I searched for some way to leave, and go back to my “real” home. But then I realized I didn’t know where home was anymore. It’s not here quite yet, but it’s not in the U.S. right now either.
But even if I’m not totally home, I don’t feel quite so foreign. Two recent events sealed this for me. First, when we told the kids we would be going to the U.S. for Christmas, Tori couldn’t imagine not being “home” for Christmas. She meant El Salvador. Second, I was at a kids’ birthday party the other day and I talked to the other moms, in Spanish, during the whole party. Maintaining a conversation with people I really don’t know very well in a foriegn language was a big milestone for me. And just like that, I’m staring to feel a little bit more like an “insider” instead of just an “outsider.”
It’s little unexpected moments like this that I thank God for because He gives them to me when I need them, and when I least expect them. It’s like a little reminder to me that He loves me, and that I’m not in this alone. I don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but I’m sure it will be something completely unexpected!