Four Months and Counting- Am I Paraguayan Yet?

12037982_10156001184505467_4238631727154627780_nThe answer is simply “NO”.

No,I am not Paraguayan yet.

Living abroad is so much harder (and infinitely cooler) that I had anticipated and yes, you can say, “I told you so“.

You know when you have that feeling when you’ve been doing something (working, living somewhere, had kids, etc…) for only a short time, but it feels like you’ve been at it forever–or the exact opposite–you’ve been at something for a long time, yet it feels like you only started yesterday? I get those kinds of feeling all the time. I have 2 children, yet it feels last year when I found out I was expecting my first. I’ve been married 7 1/2 years, but it doesn’t feel that long! I’ve been teaching for 7 years, but it feels a LOT longer than that! For most people, those feelings usually go one way or the other-it either feels like you’ve been in it for a lot longer or shorter than you have.

We’ve been in Paraguay for 4 months now. When I think about it, it feels like I’ve been here so much longer. We’ve somewhat adjusted to life here. Sofie goes to school, we’re invited to birthday parties, most days have a predictable rhythm, our paperwork is kinda getting done, we hang out with friends, I’m able to find my way around the nearby neighborhoods by myself…one could say that we’re adjusting fairly well.

On the other hand, We’ve been here for 4 months and it feels like we just got off the plane some days. Cultural and interpersonal family faux pas happen all the time (and I’m mainly at fault-just blame the American, right?), I’m still not driving, I haven’t learned as much German as I had hoped by now, and did I mention that everyone seems to know I’m American just by looking at me? I’m reminded DAILY that I’m new here and I don’t quite belong and everyone can tell and it just.gets.old, you know?

So it goes both ways for me.

Saying that we’ve made (read: I’ve made it) it four months is a pretty big deal. I can’t say how it’ll feel after another 4 months or even after a whole year, I just know that I still have to take it day by day. Things are so different from what I expected them to be, but what ever turns out to be exactly how you pictured it? I’d thought I’d be running my Etsy shop from here, but that’s not really feasible. I thought I might be working part time and traveling more, but that’s not happening either. I could let those things be disappointments, but I’ve chosen to see them as #blessings and things I can be grateful for.

Such as:

  • We’ve been able to make a few really good friends and I can’t imagine life here without them
  • Even though I’ve not learned as much German as I hoped I would by now, I’ve still learned a lot-probably enough to pass my A1 exam
  • The awfully hot and humid summer hasn’t hit yet. Spring is lasting longer than usual! I wore a sweater thins morning! #FTW
  • I’ve been running regularly, except for the two times I’ve injured my legs and had to go to the hospital. Stitches are no fun.
  • My daughters get to spend so much time with their Oma, Opa and UhrOma
  • We are almost finished with out Paraguayan paperwork. Once that is finished, I can travel to most of South America without a visa! Woot woot!
  • SO many friends and former students, and family back home take time to encourage me and message me. You know who you are and you make me so happy. Thank you. Thank you more times than you can imagine.
  • Red Rocks Church in Denver is amazing and I don’t know what I’d do without their online services!
  • Because I’m not working and Nickie is, I get to be a Stay-at-home-mom for the first time and I can’t imagine not being home with my little one anymore. This time with her is priceless. 
  • Because I have so much time, I’ve been able to do what my good friend Linah calls “character work” and it has been rough, but like firing clay, it must be burned before its polished! I’m seeing the other side and it’s beautiful.

Living abroad has made me more aware of what I took for granted and made me more thankful for what I have (and don’t have in some cases). I’m growing closer to my husband and daughters and with each passing day, excitement builds for what’s to come next!

So here’s to four months and counting!

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