It was a strange sensation to arrive home, in Santander, after spending two-plus* weeks at home, in Michigan. As I sat in the back of the taxi I’d hailed to take me from the bus station to Calle del Sol, I marveled at the streets and sights (and warmth!) of my Spanish city. How blessed I am to be able to call both places home, to have clothes and coffee mugs and friends and familiarity in two different cities.
I spent one snowy Thursday morning in Michigan, just after the New Year, reflecting on some of my goals from the previous year, and setting new goals for the upcoming months and year.
In August, I set 8 goals for myself for my time in Spain.
Some of these goals have been achieved (#2, 5, 7), others are in progress (#1, 3, 6, 8) and I still have absolutely no idea if I would ever want to be a teacher in the US of A (#4).
I’ve added a few more goals to this list:
9. Eat out once a week at a new restaurant around town.
10. Hug my housemates everyday (I know, this might seems like a strange one, but who else is going to give us hugs?!? You might get “dos besos” from a Spanish acquaintance…but a good solid hug? Not so much. We have the privilege and responsibility of being each others best friends and family for the time being).
11. Share something at church – a prayer, a verse, a story.
So here we are, in 2014. A fresh year, to be filled with new stories and new challenges.
Mostly, I’m just so happy I don’t have to do this year alone. There are some really awesome people who are going to walk through the ups and downs and transitions of 2014 with me, and for that I am so grateful.
It is really good to be back here. To be in a routine, to see my Fulbright and Spanish friends, to go grocery shopping, to grade papers, to have Bible study on Wednesday nights, to double my daily consumption of white bread and chocolate, to get birthday cards from my students, to have the excitement of Spanish youth burning toilet paper in the second floor boys bathroom, etcetera, etcetera.
Oh, and just one more thing:
For Christmas, Bryn gave me the book Help, Thanks, Wow by Anne Lamott. I highly recommend it. You can borrow it, if you’d like, as long as you’re okay with all my underlining and smiley faces littering the pages- and you must promise to return it. But anyways, there was this quote that resonated with me and that I want to share with you:
“Sometimes- oh, just once in a blue moon- I resist being receptive to God’s generosity, because I am busy with a project and trying to manipulate Him or Her into helping me with it, or with getting my toys fixed or any major discomfort to pass. But God is not a banker or a bean counter. God gives us even more, which is so subversive. God just gives, to us, to you and me. I mean, look at us! Yikes. God keeps giving, forgiving, and inviting us back. My friend Tom says this is a scandal, and that God has not common sense. God doesn’t say: ‘I have had it this time. You have taken this course four times and you flunked again. What a joke.’ We get to keep starting over. Lives change, sometimes quickly, but usually slowly…” – Anne Lamott
*The “plus” was not intentional, but many thanks to winter storm Hercules, I was able to be home for a few extra days!