Hello! I know it has been a while since I’ve updated on my experiences as an IWM in Chimbote and in San Antonio. Well I just want to take this time to thank all of the friends, co-workers, sisters, patients, and summer program participants I met during my time in Peru and at Inner City Development. It is long overdue. I learned so much about life and love during my time spent in both places. I will forever be grateful for the gifts you all shared with me. You see the funny thing about this whole experience, is that from the beginning, I was told about how I was going to sacrifice a lot to go over there. Really in my eyes, I gained much more than I sacrificed. I gained friendships, I gained this sense of community that still follows me, I gained a viewpoint of the world that I needed. So again, I will take with me, what I gained and the people I met, for the rest of my life.
So what is life like now that I am back home? I was very excited to see my family and friends upon my arrival. That was the hardest part of this. So I am happy to be reunited with them. The thing I was also told about becoming a missionary was that it was going to be hard transitioning from your time serving back to your old reality. At first, I was just excited to be reunited with my loved ones. Then, I could not stop talking about all my new friends I made over there, and attempting to share my experiences. I did continue to serve as a missionary in San Antonio for my last two months. So I still was not really back to my reality, my old life. I helped with the summer program at Inner City Development. I was able to meet some amazing people doing amazing work in San Antonio. It was a quick two months, but I truly enjoyed my time I got at ICD. These two volunteer experiences, both in Peru and in San Antonio, gave my life a purpose I hadn’t really ever felt. This past year showed me the importance of mindfulness and living your life on a day to day basis and being mindful of your present moments. I had always struggled with this, because my escape from the present was always to think of how great I was going to make the future. Well, the problem is we don’t live in the future, we live in the now. The changes in the world happen in the present. Anyway, back to my story. As I finished my service, I began my post-graduate courses, the job hunt, and looking for my new home. All of this, again, was a cushion from really feeling and digesting my experience. I jumped into a new job, my course work, and decorating a new apartment. I love what I am studying and what I am learning on this new job.I am very grateful for it all.
However, now that I am not jumping into something new, and my reality is stable again, I am now beginning to feel the after shock of everything. I miss that purpose I felt on a daily basis. I miss my life in Peru. I miss the mindful life I was leading. I miss the deep, intense conversations about real issues. I miss the adventure of meeting new people from a different walk of life. See this is what I think they tried warning me about. Being a part of something so much bigger than yourself, and then not. I know I am still somewhat a part of something bigger than just me, but it’s not as raw as the missions I served.
All of this being said, I am in a transition part of my life. I can choose to be sad, I can choose to going back to living life not so mindful. Or I can take what I know now and continue living a mindful life. Bring the deep conversations over here. Raise awareness for the issues I witnessed. Keep the friendships I have made. I can try and lead my daily life with a purpose, in knowing I am trying to make my small impact in this world. This is my solace after this amazing year. It doesn’t have to stop. Just because I am not doing something so raw and apparent, doesn’t have to make life now feel like it has less purpose.
This is for those of you, that feel you are in a point in your life where you are transitioning from something that made you happy, to a new reality. Whatever it may be, change can be good. My words of advice, be mindful. Change may not hit you immediately, but it will hit you. Allow yourself time, and patience to get to a place in your new life where you feel that purpose again. I had so much transition this year, from graduating from university, to becoming a missionary, to moving abroad, to leaving my life abroad, to falling in love, to trying to “adult”. It wasn’t all rainbows in butterflies, but it is shaping me into a better person. We all deserve to lead lives we feel proud of and full of purpose. The secret is, we need to allow ourselves that opportunity. The choices you make do affect who you are, and affect those you around you. So be mindful of yourself and your neighbor.
Thank you to the Incarnate Word Missionary Program for allowing me to be a part of their mission at Santiago Hospice in Chimbote, Peru and in Inner City Development in San Antonio, Texas. Thank you to all the amazing people I worked with and all the beautiful friendships I developed. Thank you to all to the amazing housemates I had both in Peru and in San Antonio. Thank you to the support I received from my family and loved ones. Thank you to Women’s Global Connection for your connection into this program.
“Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves – slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future; live the actual moment. Only this moment is life.”
-Thich Nhat Hanh