Tuesday, July 5, 2011

the need for easy answers

I've been staring at this page for about 10 minutes, trying to come up with something to share. Obviously, as I've been posting less, I am having a hard time finding the inspiration to write these days. I think that it's a combo of being utterly exhausted from living in a foreign country and being tired of writing posts where I seem to complain about living in a foreign country.

I have been trying to put my finger on the reason that it is so exhausting to live in a country that you have never called home before. The one thing that I keep coming back to is that ever since arriving in Lima I have been living in two worlds.

I am physically living in Peru. Immersed in this culture, speaking their language, adjusting to the Peruvian way of doing things. But my thoughts, my ways, my language, my family, and my friends are of and in the United States. My facebook feed is full of life in the United States. I watch So You Think You Can Dance. I speak English in my home. I eat my main meal at night. Two worlds- both tugging on me; one demanding my attention, the other has my heart.

Yesterday was a perfect example of our paradox here. In Peru, it was a normal day. The kids went to school. Blake and I spent four hours at Spanish school. We had tutoring, did homework, ate a Peruvian dinner, and all crashed in our beds pretty early. Yet in my head I kept thinking about all of our previous 4th of Julys. Neighborhood bike parade, my kids spending the afternoon in the pool, grilling out. As the coldness of winter surrounds us here, I hear about how everyone we love spent the holiday. It is hard. There is loss.

But more exhausting then my two worlds, is the paradox of my thoughts and feelings these days. I mourn the loss of our life in the United States, yet I am so thankful for our life in Peru. I hate Peru, but I love Peru. I am scared of what we are doing to our kids, but I am sure of what we are doing to our kids. I don't want to learn Spanish, but I want to learn Spanish. I question God, but I don't question God. I am angry that this has to be so hard, but I am thankful that this is so hard. How can I cry tears from the physical pain of our loss, but also cry tears at the goodness of our new life at the same time?

Most people don't want to hear about the conflicting emotions of our situation. We all want black and white. Right and wrong. Yes and no. Do I like living in Peru? Everyone wants a straight answer- including me. My body is feeling the wear and tear of vacillating between so many emotions. We want labels. Is living in Peru good or bad for our family? I need an answer for that. But the answer seems to be both and my mind has been rejecting that. If it's hard for your family than why are you living there? Because it's hard and it's good.

There are no easy answers here. And I am beginning to appreciate that.


T & T Livesay said...

smelling what you're stepping in S.

much love to you all.


Erin said...

I think that makes perfect sense. And it gives me a greater appreciation for what my ELL students and their families were going through this year. I kinda wish I had this insight then.

Anonymous said...

Very real feelings, makes total sense in a very non-sensical way! Enjoying the up dates and will pray for you all now.

Teresa said...

I appreciate your post as someone who is going to do a similar thing as you in the future. I don't remember where I found your blog, and you don't know me, but I am enjoying reading.

Sarah said...

Yes you do Tara! Much love to you guys.

Erin- when I think about doing what we did without the resources (mainly money) that we had I get physically sick to my stomach. I just can't imagine how hard it must be for lower income immigrant families to come to the States and try to navigate our culture and schools. At the beginning of the year, every time the school sent a letter home I wanted to cry because I knew that it probably said something important, but I couldn't understand it. All that to say, I'm sure that the parents are thankful for your patience and understanding!

Christen Morrow said...

I hear you. I get this. It gets easier with time. More and more you make this home, but we will always live with our hearts divided between worlds... but 3.... "home" USA home, here, and heaven. Its good and bad. Its hard and wonderful We love it and hate it. Well said. Hang in there!

Eli said...

It gets better.

Jennifer Thomas said...

I love your story. It is inspirational. If you didn't share your struggles, your internal dialogue, then it wouldn't be compelling.

Kimi Finley said...

i eat up your honesty, the conflicting feelings totally make sense

The Elliott's Adventures said...

I share your story with so many of my friends. I am so incredibly appreciative of how honest and real you are with your challenges of following Christ into the new and scary places He has led you and Blake. You help lead me to continue to put Christ's will first, even when it's not what I expected. Praying for y'all.
Angie Elliott

Jessica said...

I SO get it. I've learned that in the moments when nothing makes sense and I can't seem to categorize things and/or make sense of how I'm feeling - it's then that I truly surrender (ok, so I fight it for like forever longer and then surrender, but you get the point ;). And, of course when I surrender I am forced to wave my white flag and take myself out of the equation and then God shows up in big ways because he loves the invitation to "show off" if you know what I mean. Thanks (always) for your honesty.

Susan S said...

Hang in there. Challenges exist to help us learn to depend on God, and His grace really is sufficient, no matter how weak or tired we feel. That's such an easy thing to say and so difficult to hear when you're walking the low part of the valley, but eventually you will reach the peak and look back and it won't make this time any easier but understanding and experience will make it so worthwhile.

There are lots of us in the States watching and praying for you. You have chosen a difficult road, following God instead of trying to lead from a place of comfort. You are an inspiration, even with your tears and doubts and frustrations - and I for one don't mind hearing about the difficulty or even the dichotomy. Your story is compelling just the way it is.

Hang in there. You are not alone.

Anonymous said...

My name is Olivia Carella Bastin. I had sent you an email last month, you might remember me. :0) I'm so inspired by your life. In my e-mail I had mentioned wanting to move back to Peru, but being nervous in doing so. My family and I would like to invite your family to our beach home in Asia (around kilometer 100 south of Lima) this summer. We will be arriving in Lima in December rather than in August. My girls, Mara 9 and Anna 4, would love to meet your little ones as well. You can look me up on Facebook if you want. Looking forward to hearing from you. :)