Well, we made it. Tuesday was a very very long travel day. We left our home in MD around 9:30am (after getting only a few hours of sleep Monday night, due to last minute preparations). I think we finally made it to our new home in Nicaragua around 10:30pm Central Time (which would be 12:30am Eastern). It then took about 2 hours to get the keys, make friends with the dog, borrow cots from the neighbor, find sheets, turn on the refrigerators, kill a few cockroaches, get fans set up, determine that the extra-large gecko-type creature on the wall was only a toy (in the dark of the middle of the night it made us all look twice), and figure out who was sleeping where, before we all finally settled in for the first night.
The first few days have been filled with a wide range of emotions: excitement, fear, relief, nervousness, wonder, disappointment, frustration, encouragement.
There is no doubt this will be a challenging year for all of us. We never expected living in a developing country to be easy. We knew the first few weeks and months, especially, would test us and stretch us.
But we also knew that God most certainly wanted us to come here. As we have said many times, He opened so many doors and gave us so many indications, that to stay home — in our safe, well-appointed, organized, hot-water-enabled, comfortable, odor-free, cockroach-free, air-conditioned homes, where everyone speaks the same language as us — would simply be disobedient.
And what happened to disobedient folks in the Bible? Well, Jonah found himself in the belly of a whale. The Israelites had to wonder through the desert for years and years and years (missing out on many blessings) because of their complaining and disobedience. Heck, the people of Sodom and Gomorrah pretty much got blown to smitherines after they repeatedly ignored God’s commands. We’re not really looking to follow in any of their footsteps…
So here we are.
We are so grateful to have a place to call home, with plenty of space for our family (and friends to come visit!). We’ve had lots of tears already, and the other foreigners living here have assured us there will be oodles more to come. But we’ve also had some wonderfully joyous times too.
We have a guard dog named Tucker. While he was initially quite leery of us, we won him over with — what else? — bacon! When he’s in the house, he’s now frequently found by my side. (Chalk it up to a mutual love of bacon…)
We have a van to carry us all from place to place (thanks to the generous support of friends and family back home).
We have a household helper, who also took care of the house for the previous renters. Her first day with us was Friday. I left shortly after she arrived, to go shopping for some necessities.
That morning had been particularly difficult, because we found out the night prior that the family we’re subletting from was shutting down the Internet account and we would have to obtain our own. We’ve heard how it can take weeks or months — and typically involves bribing some communications workers — to get the Internet going after its been shut down, and were quite distraught over this very unexpected turn of events. With our income relying on an stable Internet connection, we were pretty discouraged to consider the options (which included sending Wyeth back to the US until the Internet connection could be resumed). I posted a message on Facebook asking for prayer, then was surprised by a quick visit from an old friend. She immediately enveloped me in a huge hug — which prompted the tears to start again — and then presented us with a box full of American-style bakery items. What a treat!
Then I got into a neighbor’s truck to go shopping. When I left, the house was in its usual state of disarray. Moving into someone else’s house, with most of their stuff still in it, means you spend a lot of time trying to figure out what stuff is already here that you can use, what you should pack away, what you still need to obtain, and then finding places for your own stuff. After spending six weeks purging and packing at home, it’s exhausting and sometimes discouraging to come here and do the same thing.
But I returned almost five hours later to clean laundry, washed dishes, clear counters, mopped floors… even organized kids’ rooms! I can’t even fully verbalize the emotional bump that gave me. There’s still a lot (!) of packing up and organizing to do, but just having the house tidy is a HUGE improvement.
The girls were thrilled as well. “Mom, she cleaned my room!” [Can I admit I groaned a little when I heard that?]
“And Mom, she’s really nice. She smiled the whole time she was cleaning! The whole time!” [Gulp. They noticed that? Good lesson for me.]
After a few nights of “I don’t want to sleep in here by myself!” each child has found a few favorite aspects about her room. While Caeli did not particularly enjoy the scary fake iguana or huge shark pillow (complete with sharp teeth, LOL), she loves the magic trick paraphernalia left by the previous inhabitant. (In fact, I just took a break from writing this post to go to her room and watch another magic show.)
Corinna found a bunch of stuff only a horse-lover would appreciate, including a riding crop, horse posters, and books about horses. She has decorated with stuff from home and even finds the mosquito net fun to sleep under.
Late yesterday Wyeth was even able — with the help of a neighbor — to go transfer the existing Internet service into our name so we can keep it. It’s not quite fast enough to last us for the long haul, but it is wonderful to have this has a stop-gap. It is definitely an affirmative answer to prayer.
We’re all finding some smiles amidst the trials. And when it feels really hard to find those… we just have to remember our God is the same yesterday and today, in Maryland and in Nicaragua. He provided in Maryland and will undoubtedly continue providing here. Thank you for your prayers and support.
[One quick financial note: the cost to repair the new-to-us van was a bit higher than we originally anticipated. AMEX was the stop-gap for that, but we could use another $1400 before the credit card bill comes in. If you feel so inclined to contribute, you can donate online.]