I’m not really a big crier, so it wasn’t surprising that I made it through pretty much the whole leaving process without tears. Every time I started to cry, I thought about the great adventure in front of us and successfully fought back.
This isn’t good-bye, I kept telling myself. It’s merely until we meet again.
And then we arrived at our destination, and within 12 short hours I had cried buckets already.
Today marks the end of our first week in Nicaragua, and I’ve cried every one of those seven days.
I got tired of using toilet paper to wipe my eyes and finally bought Kleenex (a real luxury here).
I’ve cried because our Internet connection is not what we hoped it would be (although we are still working on getting a better connection, like that of the others in our neighborhood). I’ve cried because the current connection makes contacting friends and family back home difficult… which makes us miss them more. I’ve cried because I was tired… or my kids were hurting… or because I was just plain frustrated with any of the things that make it hard to live here. (Did you know much of the world puts toilet paper in the trash instead of the toilet? We found that out the hard way, after all our toilets were clogged…)
And therein lies the root of the problem: this life is hard. It was much easier back home.
There is a big part of me — the prideful part — that doesn’t want to let you know I’ve cried… that doesn’t want to show you my tears. We talked about how excited we were to get here, even while many of you responded with shock, saying, “Why would you want to do that? It’ll be so hard!”
So, I can’t help but wonder if this confession will elicit lots of “I told you so’s” and “what were you thinkings?!”
The thing is this: we knew it would be hard, but came anyway. We knew it would be extremely challenging to live in a developing country for a year, but we are also convinced this is where God wants us at this moment. And when God wants you somewhere, He usually has a pretty good reason.
I am not crying because I want to get on the next plane and run home, even if that were a possibility. I’m crying because life here is just hard, and I’m not used to it. I’m a pansy American. Yup. I’m pretty much a wuss. (I brought a Kitchen Aid mixer with me, people.) I like my dishwasher, my hot water, my swimming pool, my air-conditioning, and whatever else makes my life back home easy.
But as they say, so many of the inconveniences we cry about in the US are just first-world problems. The rest of the world lives without such amenities every day and survives.
No, we just keep telling ourselves: we can do anything for a year .
When we tell other foreigners we’ve only just arrived, they all cringe as they remember their first few weeks in Nicaragua. They tell us this first year is by far the toughest, and that after living through the next 12 months, we’ll be so settled we won’t want to leave. Maybe that’s true. Maybe God will call us to stay. Or maybe He just wants to teach us about
surviving thriving when life is hard. We’ll find out.
In the meantime, we say, “51 more weeks ” and focus on the wonderful things we’ve encountered thus far… like the perennial summer (no ice to chip off our car windows this year!), the absolutely amazing neighbors who have spent whole days helping us get settled, the beautiful beaches, the extremely hard-working household helper who cleans up our messes and doesn’t stop smiling, getting a massage for $15/hr (seriously!), the new clothes dryer we bought (so our clothes don’t keep getting rained on while hanging to dry), finding cold-water Tide at the store, super-cheap fruits and veggies that taste so good, cable TV with coverage of the Olympics (in English even!), and… Oreos that are cheaper than back home (because they are packaged here!).