Things in Chile were harder, but harder became my normal. I was always in a state of anxiety - at least a little. When I left my house, I knew I would encounter spanish. I got to the point that I could wade my way through my normal tasks if everything went according to plan. Inevitably, something always went awry. I started to learn to roll with it. It got easier. BUT even with 'easier' there was a constant base of anxiety. When the phone rang, when the yard guys came, when we went to church functions.
The best way to describe it is a low hum of uneasiness. Always.
Even though I loved Chile, I was looking forward to getting back into the US and the normalcy. Looking forward to losing that hum.
Then we got here.
Being home is overwhelming in so many ways.
I expected to be overwhelmed with the house. I knew I would want to get through every single room and purge 80% of our belongings (living oversees really helps you prioritize your "stuff"). Surprisingly, the methodical tasks of sorting have been peaceful. Exhausting, but therapeutic.
It's all the other "stuff" that is overwhelming.
I don't want to leave my house. Not just yet. I'm not quite ready to take on this english-filled world.
The english is fine - in small doses.
When I am out and about, the amount of words that my brain understands is overwhelming. I went through the past year hearing sound around me, not words. Initially, it was overwhelming in and of itself, but eventually, that commotion was just noise. My brain learned to tune it out. Kind of like you normally do in the US. You walk through the store, and while there are people all around you speaking english, you don't try and make out every conversation. Upon returning to the states, I found my brain is constantly picking up on conversations and words all over the place. It's overwhelming.
I also feel a little out of place.
I sat in church Sunday and felt like I was looking in to a fish bowl.
Everyone was the same. They sat in the same places, wore the same clothes, said the same things. It was all the same. Which should be comforting - but I feel so much different. SO much has happened. SO much has changed within me. This isn't my world anymore.
I felt out of place. Awkward. My brain is telling me I belong here, but it doesn't feel like I do. I just wanted to go home. Chile home.
I don't really want to go back to Chile and live forever. I loved it there. I made some amazing friends. It changed my life in a way that nothing else could.
I will miss it.
I will miss the people. I will miss the constant learning and experiencing new things. I will miss the challenge.
I will miss our home overlooking the mountains. I will miss driving like I belong on the Indy 500.
I will miss it all.
After talking with a dear friend, who has done this more than once, I am assured that I will fit back in. I just have to give it some time and go at my own pace.
I am eternally grateful for all that Chile taught me. For every single experience that it gave to my family.
We have grown. Our minds have been opened to new experiences and new people. We have a better understanding of our world. We are closer as a family unit.
We experienced first hand how the gospel blesses our lives and the lives of others in a very real way. We met people who have very few physical possessions yet are full of joy and grace, willing to share and give of what they have.
Chile changed us. I think for the better.
But now it's time to find our way here. To remember those lessons we learned. To follow those examples of humility and grace. To be better people because of our experiences. We have Chile to thank for that.
You will forever be in our hearts.