Sunday, January 30, 2011

need a little patience

I have spent my whole life struggling with patience. Some might even call me obsessive about getting things done in a timely matter. If I have a task in front of me, I cannot relax until it is completed. I like my to-do list checked off. I like going to bed each night with a feeling of accomplishment. I do not like wasting my time or having to wait.

Every experience we have had since moving to Peru laughs in the face of all of this. Seriously, sometimes I think Peru is mocking me. Nothing, not one thing, is easy here. Many tasks don't even seem doable, mainly because of our lack of Spanish. We go to bed many nights wondering what we accomplished that day even though our bodies feel like we are running a marathon. We are exhausted, yet have so much still hanging over our heads.

On Thursday we decided to rent the house. The landlord came down a little and we changed some things in our budget. We really do feel like this house is the perfect home for us. We were told to come to the house on Friday to sign the contract and the house would be ours. We showed up Friday with 3 friends and a lawyer all there volunteering their time to help us. The realtor showed up for a few brief moments telling us the contract wasn't ready, but she would email it to us at 3pm. Friday night the realtor informs us that the owners are at the beach and unreachable until Monday. So, we have no idea at this point when we will actually be able to sign a contract and move in. Which wouldn't be so frustrating if we weren't going on 11 days of crashing at our friend's house. I'm pretty sure that 11 days of staying at someone else's house with 4 kids and completely inconveniencing them is really equal to at least a month. But, we are learning to hold our new home loosely. After getting the news Thursday night that the house would be ours the next day I started shopping in my mind. Now, I have no expectations of when we will get in the house. I will get excited when I actually see the contract and get handed the keys.

Other ways we are learning patience? Our bank in the States told us it would be no problem that we were living internationally. After getting here, they started singing a much different tune and informed us that we could only take out $200 a day. Which is a problem when you have to pay for 3 months of rent upfront. And you have to furnish that house. And you have to pay school evaluation fees, buy food for 6, and gas. Then we were told that we couldn't open a Peruvian bank account because we aren't residents. This has been consuming Blake's efforts for the past few days. To say we were frustrated with our bank and ourselves at our lack of planning ahead is an understatement. To have money and not be able to access it is not fun. We tried going into a few different banks here to get help, but since we don't speak Spanish we didn't get anywhere. Finally, Blake went to a bank today and found someone who speaks English*. We were allowed to open a bank account which feels like a miracle at this point. Now we can wire our money from the States to our bank account here. We honestly pumped our fists in victory at the small step of opening a bank account.

Homeschooling is teaching me bounds of patience. As much I want to get it done and check that task off my list, it will be a daily discipline until March. I am spending 3 hours a day on homeschooling when I would rather be doing things to help us get settled. The hardest part is that this is simply jumping through hoops for the school. We don't feel called to homeschool, our kids aren't learning from this curriculum, and we simply don't have time.

Peruvian time is making us become more patient. The kids' school evaluations all started late and ended late. And how can I forget Tyler? That girl is always teaching me patience. Now I get to parent a very dramatic (which is a nice way of saying tantrum prone) 2 year old in a foreign country while trying to find a house, furnish a house, homeschool 3 other kids, grocery shop, make dinner, and so much more. (Sidenote: I made my first meal here the other night. It was meatloaf and I had to improvise, but it was pretty good. Another fist pump and victory!)

All that to say...if you want to learn patience, move to a foreign country. I have already been stretched more in our 2 weeks in Peru than most of my adult life combined. I have never felt so ineffective, yet so victorious. I have never been so tired in my life. I have never felt pulled in so many different directions. That doesn't change our desire to be here. In fact, it makes us even more thankful to be in Peru. I need to learn patience and I need to be stretched. I want to always be learning more about myself. We very intentionally put ourselves in this situation to change, grow, and mature. Even when we get a home and become more familiar with Peru, may there always be an unsettledness in our hearts and yearning for more. To do more, to learn more, to be uncomfortable more, to grow more.

I'm also learning to enjoy the moment. I don't want to miss out on fun opportunities with my family because I am stressed out.

Here's some recent fun moments...

Blake went to Peru vs. Uruguay fĂștbol game which is pretty much a perfect "Welcome to Peru" activity.

Brady is finding more things to climb into/up.

We have already eaten at Chili's. It was so freaking delicious.

Peruvians have a good time at church. There is lots of dancing and cheering. It is so much fun to watch. Their excitement is contagious.

Tyler is still loving life here. I just can't imagine why.

*Just so I'm not misunderstood. I absolutely believe that we should be speaking Spanish. I don't think anyone in a Spanish speaking country should be expected to speak English just so us gringos can get by. But, again, we have to be patient with ourselves and the rate we will learn Spanish. While it's not expected, we are still thankful when we find people who speak English.


My Happily Ever After said...

I came across your blog and am having a wonderful time reading it. I live in the US and my parents are living in south america. Let me tell you....everything is MUCH slower there. Everyone takes their time...for everything! My parents visit here and walk so slow and they are always telling me we are in a rush to get places and live life. Anyway, I will be pryaing for you and your family. May the Lord richly bless you! I think you will love south america!

Candace said...

I hope your journey takes you places you have never imagined. Be patient and know that you are capable. God Bless and I can't wait to read more of your adventure-thanks for sharing

Erika said...

oh my goodness! that is a lot to handle. i speak spanish- and i wish i could come down there and translate for you! that would make your life a little easier. i hope learning spanish comes quickly for you...that will make your days a lot easier. (((hugs)))

The Wood Family said...


I am a friend of Blake's from high school and I have been following your blog for months now. Your journey (both literally and figuratively) to Peru has been so inspirational to me. I have such admiration for a family who is desiring so much of the Lord in their lives that they are willing to do what you all have done. Obedience.

My husband has recently been selected as a US Army Chaplain and we're moving this summer from Chattanooga to El Paso, TX...a mere 23 hour drive from our home (and families, and familiarities). You have been such an example to me with your honesty and transparency of just how tough (and rewarding) such a big move can be with young children.

Your entire family is in our prayers as you make this transition. =)

God bless the Goodfellows,
Claire (Roberson) Wood

Kelly said...

Hi, my name is Kelly and I am a 16 year old high school sophomore. I found your blog through the Rage Against the Minivan blog. I want to let you know that you are an inspiration to me. God has really been putting Central/South America on my heart lately, and I am considering becoming a missionary after high school. I like how honest you are about the difficulties of packing up and moving to a foreign country. I will be praying for you and your family as you make this scary, but amazing transition.

Wendy M said...

Great post, Sarah!

Sarah said...

Thank you everyone for the encouragement, prayers, and for just following our journey. We have no clue what we're doing, but it's fun to share about it. I know I'll look back in a year and laugh at my impatience. Hopefully I will be sharing pictures of our house soon!

Kristen Crew said...

We felt exactly like you did when we first moved overseas in Feb 2010! Well, minus the 4 kids. The language barrier takes more out of you than you can even explain to others- mentally, emotionally and at one point even physically! If you feel like you need legit schooling- you guys should take a few months off at one point and head to Costa Rica to the Spanish Language Institute-the largest Spanish missionary training school in Latin America. We loved it and learned soo much!

David said...

Hey Sarah!

Awesome post. My wife Ally and I can relate so much (minus the kids part) while being here in Uganda for KK. We've grown so close to each other because we have to. The situations at hand take SO much effort, brain power, time and broken strung together pieces of communication. Venting a lot helps too.

Can't wait to read more of your guy's adventure and know that Ally and I will be praying for your family.

Props for cooking a meal after learning of and attempting to face all of those other challenges.

janetfaith said...

miss you guys a lot!
so glad you are writing. we are praying for you. Natalie says hi to Riley and to give a kiss to Taytay!

love you

Anonymous said...

You guys are doing great! The dust will settle, you will learn Spanish, and things will fall into place. And please remember what an inspiration you and your family are to the rest of us left behind here in Orange County! Thank you for your posts and I am praying for you. Glad to hear the landlord came down a bit on the rent.