On Saturday I will be moving about 5 and a half hours north of Montevideo to a smaller city called Salto. I only have two bags so physically moving takes about 2 seconds of preparation, but the emotional preparation is a little more extensive. Before I left the USA I had orientation training, and had months of mental and emotion preparation for what I was about to do. I was prepared for culture shock. I was prepared for all the mixed emotions of excitement, anxiety, adventure, and loneliness. Slowly but surely, over the past 5 and half months, I have become happy and emotionally comfortable with where I am. I have a routine, places I frequent, and friends. Now on Saturday I have to start again. It will be an adjustment to go from the large capital city to a much smaller city, to a place where I do not really know anyone, or anything, and where there will be a larger language barrier. It’s another chapter of my journey, and of course I am nervous, but I’ve got this. And of course I am sad to be leaving what I know here…but I am happy to be sad. I am sad because I have made friends who are dear to me, I have a church community that I will miss each Sunday, I have certain parks I enjoy quiet time in, and places I like to visit. I am so incredibly happy to have these things to be sad about.
As for a little update about what I have been doing the past month, here goes.
-On Valentine’s Day MY MOTHER GOT MARRIED !! It was a bit sooner than expected, but we are super happy and excited to see what’s next. Fortunately thanks to technology I was about to video chat in on the ceremony. My youngest nephew even tried to feed me a Goldfish cracker through the screen. (Thanks to my wonderful sister for these photos !)
-After I was done with the wedding video call, my friends and I took a mini day-roadtrip to Punta del Este. Punta is a resort town up the coast a bit that is very well known. I was excited to venture out of Montevideo and see in real life things I had heard so much about and see so many photos of. There is this giant hand sculpture coming out of the sand on the beach and it’s fairly famous, and the pictures always kind of creeped me out…and after seeing it, it still kind of creeps me out, but I like it. I’m weird. We enjoyed a Spice Girls sing-a-long on the ride back, and I’m thoroughly pleased with this adventure.
-UMMM my friend here has Dutch Blitz !! I’m pretty sure I screamed when I found out. So happy. Of course I won.
–Ash Wednesday service at the church felt just like home. Even though it was in Spanish, it was the same structure which made following along much easier. It was a nice kick-off to Lent which thus far has been quite the intentional time of reflection.
-The Cathedral hosted the International Day of Prayer a couple of weeks ago. It was wonderful to see churches in the area come together for a prayer-filled service. The service was put together by women in the Bahamas this year.
-This past Friday I went to my first Uruguayan wedding. It was a beautiful bi-lingual ceremony, with an incredible food & dance filled reception. It was a potluck dinner and since it a large international community at this particular church, there was food from all over the world (and boy was it good !). The wedding started at 8 PM (well really 8:45), but everyone told me how EARLY that is for a Uruguayan wedding. I’m not sure I could ever fully keep up with the late-night events here !!
-Saturday I went to my first football/soccer match. It was the Nacional team and the River Plate team. IT WAS INTENSE. Of course I love any sporting event where I am yelling and cheer and jump around, but the crowd NEVER STOPPED. I absolutely loved it. I may even start to consider myself a soocer fan…? Oh and I ate my first ‘torta frita’ which is basically fried bread, but apparently it is very Uruguayan, so of course I had to try it ! And I ate these sugary peanut things that I keep forgetting the name of, but they were wicked delish.
OH AND HOW CAN I FORGET THE INAUGURATION ?! On March 1st, the presidential inauguration took place right here in Montevideo. I didn’t dare walk around and try to find a spot in the big crowd so I stayed off to the side a bit being perfectly content with my side view. Turns out I had a prime spot. Where I was standing was where all the foreign dignitaries were being taken off stage and escorted away in their vehicles. I spent the afternoon waving at so many world leaders, it was like being in Disney World for me !!! Presidents & Vice Presidents from Mexico, Argentina, Venezuela, Chile, Colombia, and so any more ! I’m pretty sure I cried a little from being so happy at one point.
For now I have to finish (I mean start) packing. I’ll be sure to post an update once I arrive to my new city !!
P.S. Filled out my bracket this morning in a rush. I ended up with Maryland taking it all. What?