La Vuelta

The first of the year marked six months since I have been back in the State. In those six months I have learned a lot, remembered a lot, let go of a lot, and held onto a lot. And I am continuing to see God’s work in my life through the entire experience.

Happy. Excited. Nervous. Peaceful. Ready. Those are words I used to describe my return, and my reunions with family, friends, cheeseburgers, and Chipotle. And they are words most of you heard from me.

Weird. Uncomfortable. Lonely. Anxious. Those are words I also used to describe my return. They aren’t picture perfect words, and they certainly aren’t pretty, but I learned they were normal.

It was just plain weird to be back. Not in bad way, just weird (I like that word, it doesn’t always need an explanation because people just understand weird). It was uncomfortable too. It was uncomfortable to be in public and hear people all around me speaking English (not just one on one with me). It was so loud. At stores, restaurants, even hearing children outside my window. I couldn’t focus on what I was doing. I didn’t want to hear people’s conversations. For two months, the muffled voices I was used to for long, became screaming in my ears. I was lonely. No matter how many stories I told and pictures I shared, no one had been there with me. I had a longing to be understood. I was anxious, especially at the grocery store. I didn’t know where anything was. I didn’t know how to navigate it. I know it seems silly, but it made me incredibly anxious.

There were times I cried of joy for being home and with my loved ones. And there were times I just sat in my truck and cried because I simply missed it. I’ll be honest, sometimes I still cry for both those reasons.

The YASC re-entry retreat in October helped me process these feelings and my experience as whole. It helped me learn to let go of things I could not change. It helped me embrace what had changed inside of me. It helped me make my Uruguay self and my current self into pancake rather than a waffle, to bring the two together, and not to compartmentalize my life.

I am currently living back in Maine (working a job I love and discerning what is “next”). This was a hard adjustment in itself. Before leaving for Uruguay, I was living outside of Philadelphia, and basically had been for six years. When I returned from Uruguay, I was not going back to the place I had left. I was moving somewhere after seven years of visiting on breaks. I had changed, and the people around me had changed. Learning to reintegrate myself somewhere I lived for 18 years after seven years away is proving to be a challenge and an adventure all at the same time. At times I become frustrated and miss how it used to be, but I grateful for those who have welcomed me back with open arms. I able to experience this place with new eyes and a new heart, and for that I am thankful.

I am thankful for my loving and supportive family, friends, and YASC family who continue to embrace my experience and allow me to grow even when I’m being a bit whackadoodle.

I am thankful for the family and friends I made while I was in Uruguay and the things they taught me and the love they showed me.

I am thankful for the happy tears. And I am thankful for the sad tears.

I am thankful for dryers.

I am thankful for the times of personal struggle.

I am thankful for Dulce de Leche.

I am thankful for the countless prayers, spoken and unspoken.

I am thankful for the adventures.

I am thankful for the lessons learned and the lessons taught.

I am more thankful for Sunsets than I was before.

I am forever thankful for the experience.

And most importantly I am thankful for our God, because without Him, none of this would be possible.

143 & Besos,
Kirst.

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