In Houston my flight to Albuquerque was overbooked, so I volunteered to catch a later flight for a free flight voucher. Love when that happens! The only unfortunate part was that unknown to me, Matt, my boyfriend was waiting to surprise me in the Albuquerque airport. When I finally did arrive in Albuquerque, seeing him waiting there with a sign welcoming me back to the U.S. was just what I needed to set the tone for a happy re-entry.
I spent the next week in Albuquerque talking with Mary and the sisters about my experience, how I was feeling and how I should prepare for the transition back to life in the States. I was able to spend relax with Mary and even visit her hometown of Los Alamos, spend a day with Sr. Marilu in her kindergarten class, visit the kids and workers at Casa Angelica, visit with the sisters in both houses, go to Mass for our Lady of Guadalupe at San Jose parish and visit with the youth group at San Jose and impress them with my Spanish skills. It was a wonderful week and I think a good thing for my transition process.
|Near Los Alamos, New Mexico|
Leaving Albuquerque and the buffer of the VOICA house and sisters behind, life in the U.S. started to feel more real. I'm so happy to be seeing my friends and family, and I can't wait to see everyone I haven't had the chance to visit yet (I haven't even been home for two weeks and already I've been to my cousin's 30th birthday party, my cousin's daughter's baptism, to visit friends in Chicago, to visit a sister/brother-in-law in St. Louis, went to a caroling party with the parents, went to Springfield for Christmas with Matt's family, and celebrated Christmas with (most of) my immediate family, and celebrated with the Smith family), but the reality of how long it will be until I see my people in Paraguay again is sinking in, as is the fear that I'll forget the things I learned while there. Living your faith is so much harder when you're back in your own element and face all the distractions of life in the United States.
I now find myself crying the tears I didn't have in Albuquerque more often, but I'm determined to reintegrate into my old life while not forgetting the many things I have learned and experienced over the past year that have helped me become a better version of myself. If you catch me on a teary day, I'm sorry and please don't think that I'm not happy to be seeing you. A huge thank you to everyone that supported me in my journey as a VOICA volunteer whether it was through your donations, thoughts, prayers, e-mails, letters, Skypes or reading my blog. It meant the world to me and helped me more than you'll know.
Un gran abrazo,