So... I'm home from Montevideo! And I apologize that this final blog post is late. I have been soaking up being home with my family and "Yankee" friends for the past couple of days, so it has been hard for me to sit down and write. Although I said this would be my last post, I was encouraged tonight by my neighbor (and friend) to write at least one more blog post... once I get back into the swing of things, at the University and the daily grind. She noted that time apart from my experience means more time to reflect on it, and I couldn't agree more. I am going to try to take notes along the way, as to not forget all of these thoughts/reflections/feelings running through my head/heart, and then include some of them in the post. So if you're tired of getting my monthly emails... sorry... there will be one more coming in a few months! Blame my neighbor friend ;)
I figured for this final blog post, I would write excerpts from my very last journal entry from Montevideo. I don't normally share my journal entries, but I think that it's a very real look into how I was feeling towards the end of week 52... my last week:
"July 18, 2013 (but really 19 de julio because it's 3:40 am)
Welp! Tonight is my last night in Uruguay. This is weird. I remember laying in bed thinking, "how the heck am I going to do this for a year?!" when I first got here... and now I'm in this same position--in this same bed--but with very different thoughts: "How the heck has it already been a year!?" It really is so impressive to look back on this year, and as I reflect on it, a lump rises in my throat... as I have very special place in my heart for Uruguay, and tomorrow I have to say "goodbye." I have seen so many new places, experienced so many different cultures and customs, tried so many new (and delicious) foods... and all of the above have been wonderful experiences that I will hopefully guard in my heart for the rest of my life. But more than anything, I have met and formed strong, authentic relationships with some of the best people I have ever met. I have learned so much from them, as they continually taught me simply by their example--and I'm pretty sure all the while they were unaware that they were teaching me at all... They showed me: how to have a heart of service--or, better said, the joy that comes with having a heart of service; selflessness; patience; humility; the fruits that come from curiosity when that curiosity is channeled into the desire to learn more...about the world and that beyond this world... the Creator of this world; active faith; the gift of accountability and the importance of a strong, consistent, honest, loving, faithful, authentic group of friends; the power of friendship, and how God can use an open heart to tear down the barriers of worry, awkwardness, and (the very real barrier throughout this year) language itself to help human beings come together as friends; the face of God. I really feel so blessed to have met the people I have met this year--throughout all of South America. God has truly revealed Himself to me through them, and for that I could not be more grateful--to God Himself and to my friends themselves. Gosh... what a year! What a year.
I am excited--and a bit nervous--but mostly excited to see how this year abroad affects this year to come... and the year after that... and the year after that... etc., etc. I hope, and pray, that this year, and all the lessons and the growth and the love that come with it, impact me in some way throughout every chapter of my life. It would be a shame for them not to.
Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU LORD! for this year in Uruguay and different parts of South America. It has been quite the journey, and I could not have asked for a better Friend to have traveled with...
What a year."
Masitas on my last Sunday lunch. Mouth. Watering.
Mis amigas, muy tiernas!
Mis últimos momentos por el Río de la Plata.
Cena con mi estudiante, Leo, y mi padre uruguayo.
Glow-ey eyes and lovely friends!
Los mejores vecinos!
Uruguay pride in the plaza.
Plaza Independencia never disappoints...
Montevideo threw me a "goodbye parade!" ... or maybe it was to celebrate Artigas or the Patria...
Mi otra familia uruguaya.
Muy, pero muy amables venir al aeropuerto! Y con la bandera!
Hasta pronto, padres uruguayos!
Hasta luego, hermanos uruguayos!
Hi Mom and Dad!
Kids (minus Marykate... plus Dad...)
First family dinner in a year!
Thank you all, so much, for following me along on my year-abroad! I could not have done it without your love, support, and/or prayers.
Until the next (and last...!) post--