“Are you ready to head to the D.R.?” I’m getting asked that a lot these days. I’m asking myself that, too. Am I ready? Hmm…
Today is my final Saturday in Antigua. Primero Dios I will be in Jarabacoa at this time next week, unpacking my boxes and setting up my home there.
This morning I walked to the Mercado to buy my weekly 5-quetzal pina and sandia (pineapple and watermelon). I love hearing the various vendors; those at their stalls, but also those walking around with hangers-full of pants, stacks of cups, briefcases of jewelry, even live goldfish in plastic bags.
Everyone shouts out their wares and the price at the same time, as loudly as they can; older men and women, little kids in indigenous clothes. I try not to think about the yogurt stacked in the sun without refrigeration, or the fish, chicken and other meat sitting out in the heat!
I remember my first trip there. That Saturday it took me forever to purchase anything because I let everyone in front of me. I didn’t understand most of what was being said, so I was timid about asking for what I wanted.
Now I’m used to the jostling and pushing needed to get things bought. And, I have much less trouble talking in Spanish - and getting the fruit I want! The press of people is still a bit much for me, but the low prices make it worth the trip.
My first weekend here it took me over an hour to find my school, and then another hour to make my way back home. Now I don’t even think about where I’m heading, I just go. The streets are familiar, and a lot of times I run into someone I know from school or S.I. Alex and the others at the Panaderia know who I am. I have ‘history’ with Dona Cristi and her family.
(And, speaking of Dona Cristi, this past week she got the ‘all-clear’ from her doctor! No more restricted diet, and his blessing on her traveling to the U.S. to visit her family there. When I think back to those dark days in July, it is a miracle to see her now.
Her doctor said she is like a new person, and that’s really true. Her fun sense of humor and interest in others in back in full force. I feel so blessed that I am still here to see her transformation back to health!)
Am I ready? No, not really. I feel at home here. I have a home here. I’m going to miss Dona Cristi, Juanita and Maria so much! For the most part, I’ve had amazing housemates who’ve become friends. And, as I’ve shared, my Spanish isn’t where I had hoped it would be. Dominican Spanish is a lot faster than the Spanish here in Guatemala. It has its own slang, idioms and accent. In some ways, I’ll be starting over again once I get to Jarabacoa.
Am I ready? Yes I am! I’m ready to start sharing the things I’ve learned, not just take things in. When I look back at my first Spanish notebook, I really have come a long way! Fourteen tenses, lots of vocabulary…
I’m ready to see dear friends in Christ like Daisy and Caroline, and get to know the new SI-DR staff. To see the women, teens and girls of El Callejon. To get to know Jarabacoa and set up my new place.
Am I ready? No, I’m not. And yes, I sure am! Maybe that’s the best way to be. If I felt I was completely ready, I wouldn’t be leaving room for the Holy Spirit to work. God has been present, working in me, through me, even in spite of me.
These past months have been a time of stretching, a time of richness and joy. God has truly done more than I could ever have asked or even imagined. In His power alone, I will be ready for whatever comes next.