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.

A Lesson on God’s Timing

Here I am, my last night.

I have checked into my flight and packed my bags.

This is my last night in Uruguay.

As I reflect upon all the things I learned this year, the one reoccurring theme seems to be God’s timing.

Let me first say, God’s watch is better than the Apple watch. It’s wayyyyy cheaper, free upgrades, it never cracks, it never malfunctions, and it’s usually about 5 minutes ahead of worldly time.

God’s timing is better than ours. On various occasions it seems like the timing could not be worse, or there is no reason for what is happening, but God has it under control, no need to call Apple Care.

This year I have learned lessons on trust, communication, expectations, relationships, loneliness, independence, and faith.

But all of those lessons came with God’s timing.

On October 2, 2014 I wept leaving my family in the Boston airport. Now, 9 months later, I have spent weeks saying teary goodbyes & “see you later”s throughout Uruguay.

A lot has changed in my personal life and faith journey throughout these 9 months. A lot has changed in the lives of my loved ones. A lot of changed in my home country and communities. But God’s knows this is the right time for my transition.

There are clear examples such as being able to attend a friends wedding, be with another friend when she will need me the most, have different job opportunities, ect. But I know there are hidden reasons that God is not revealing yet, and I am going to wait.

I have experienced things that I cannot explain how they have changed me or explain the things they have taught me, but sometimes the explainable things are the most precious and personal things in a person’s journey. These lessons I will carry with me throughout my life, and are the most valuable thing that will put into my backpack of life.

From a lesson a learned a few years back:

“Be still and know that I am God” –Psalm 46:10.

I will never fully understand God’s timing, I just need to understand it is always better than mine. I need to be still and know He is God.

143,

Kirst.

Casamientos, a Giant Hand, and Some Futbol.

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.

A map of Uruguay showing where Salto is located (Montevideo is way at the bottom)

A map of Uruguay showing where Salto is located (Montevideo is way at the bottom)

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 !)

Euin sharing his crackers with me. Basically I just wanted to share a photo of one of my wicked cute nephews.

Euin sharing his crackers with me. Basically I just wanted to share a photo of one of my wicked cute nephews.

Joining in the wedding via  video with the happy couple !

Joining in the wedding via video with the happy couple !

-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.

ROAD TRIP

ROAD TRIP

THE GIANT HAND...

THE GIANT HAND…

-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.

A creative visual presentation from the prayer service

A creative visual presentation from the prayer service

-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.

Enjoying my first torta frita at the match

Enjoying my first torta frita at the match

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.

I was so in shock as the president of Chile was facing me waving that I couldn't function enough to take a photo until her back was turned.

I was so in shock as the president of Chile was facing me waving that I couldn’t function enough to take a photo until her back was turned.

STANDING ON THE INAUGURATION STAGE

STANDING ON THE INAUGURATION STAGE

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 !!

143,

Kirst.

P.S. Filled out my bracket this morning in a rush. I ended up with Maryland taking it all. What?

He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands

One of my favorite songs to sing in the 3rd grade choir was “He’s got the Whole World in His Hands” (only after “We are the Presidents, the Mighty, Mighty Presidents” of course). I never quite understood what the song meant until recently. He (God) really does have the whole world in his hands. Over the past month I have had the opportunity to meet people from all over the globe.

Each day I enter into the cathedral, unlock the gates, turn on the lights, gather my informational pamphlets, and wonder who I will meet that day. Since the New Year, I have encountered people from Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Colombia, Venezuela, Thailand, Canada, the US, England, Wales, Germany, Holland, Italy, and people from right here in Uruguay. I have met people who attend an Anglican Church back home, and those who have never been in an Anglican church until right then. Each of these people has a story. Some are traveling together with friends staying in hostels or are on business trips; others are on cruises and only have a few hours in the city while others live just a few blocks away but have never been inside the cathedral, and some people who simply want a quiet place to pray for a few minutes in the midst of their hectic day. Some days I answer questions about the building itself, some days I answer questions about what Anglican’s believe and how it differs from other denominations, and sometimes I end up answering questions about where I am from and how I ended up in Uruguay. As I open those doors each day, I am opening a window into the Diocese of Uruguay, as well as to the Anglican Communion as a whole and letting God’s light shine in.

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A few other things that have been going on:

IT’S CARNAVAL SEASON. I’m in love. It’s fantastic. Seriously, the more glitter and sequins the better. And the music and the dancing, I want it to last forever. This past week I attended the “Llamadas”, one aspect of the Carnaval festivities, and perhaps my personal favorite. It consists of a lot of dancing and drumming (specifically Candombe). It’s impossible to capture in a photo or video the feeling the drums that enter through your feet and leave through your head.

Carnaval Parade on 18 de Julio

Carnaval Parade on 18 de Julio

-I got the worst sunglasses tan line possible in just over an hour. It was rough for a few days.

-I moved again !

-Sometimes your favorite knock-knock jokes just don’t work in another language

Lastly, just a bit of reflection:

I had a light bulb, an “ah-ha” moment this week. I’ve been on short term mission trips before (granted all within the US but still away from “home”), and I was so eager to love, and continue to love, everyone I met, and just as eager to return home and share my stories and photographs. It was incredible because it wasn’t in my own backyard. It was different.

What I realized this week is that Uruguay IS my backyard (and just as incredible), and loving people in my backyard is different (not easier, not harder, not more important, not less important, just different). I am learning to love the good, the bad, the sweet, and the grumpy. It’s another one of those continuous learning processes. It also made me think of my previous backyards and all the people I never took the time to love (believe me, it’s a lot easier to love a child who is reaching for your hand than to love the man who is reaching for your purse). Starting now and Uruguay, and wherever my next backyard may be, I want to learn to love everyone in it.  And I think with Jesus as my teacher of loving people (and I think he is pretty stellar), I’m on the right path

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.

—Mark 12:30-31

143,

Kirst.

P.S. Backpack does NOT like taking the bus. Last week the door also bit Backpack, and he doesn’t fit well when the bus is crowded. Other than that, he has been enjoying some beach trips with me !

And I go back to December all the time

Let us just pretend my last blog post wasn’t a MONTH ago (oops, my bad).

December was hot, busy, happy, and exciting. The advent season brought warmer and longer days which was a first for me, and I certainly missed the snow. I can honestly say I have not sweated so much while Christmas Caroling, or at all actually. Along with Christmas comes the end of the year, not just the calendar year but the “school year”. This meant a lot of Christmas & end of the year parties with good food and even better company.

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If you know me, you know I love fireworks, so it is a good thing that on Christmas Eve at midnight (so technically Christmas Day) everyone shoots off fireworks !!  had never seen so many fireworks in my entire 24.5 years (until New Years Eve that is). It was wonderful and beautiful, and made me so, so happy. I spent Christmas attending the services at the church, and with a family from church who welcomed me into their home. The same wonderful family welcomed me again for New Years at the beach in a town called Atlantida. It was my first time leaving the city of Montevideo, so I was thrilled to have this opportunity. I even went swimming on New Years Day (not one of those crazy Polar Dip things, but like actually swimming). From these two holidays I have become quite obsessed with ‘chicky booms’, those little firework popper things you throw on the ground and make noise.

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One thing I that I took time to reflect upon during advent was a reading from Luke (1:26-38). It is when the angel Gabriel comes to Mary to give her the pregnancy announcement (that she will give birth to Jesus). In verse 38 Mary says “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word”.

HOW DID SHE REMAIN SO CALM ?! I WOULD HAVE BEEN LIKE “YO GABE, YOU WHACK MAN” (more or less).

It’s pretty remarkable to me, she simple asked “how can this be”, I think it’s fair to say I would have had quite a few more questions (after I used my inhaler from a bit of panicking)

Even reflecting on it again after Christmas, it is still beautiful. It reminds me that sometimes I need to stop worrying, stop asking questions, and just be a servant. Even if things seem impossible, or crazy, I need to not only accept it but embrace it as well.

I pinky promise, no crossies count, to update much sooner this time (along with more of what’s going on in the diocese)

143,

Kirst.

How to Give a Hug 5,000 Miles Away

The following is a learning process; a learning process of how to give a hug 5,000 miles away.

Sometimes I’m not the best with words, sometimes I don’t know what to how, or how to say it, and other times there simply are no words. Sometimes a hug is all I can give, but sometimes that’s not possible.

What do you do when your sister tells you she’s pregnant and you cry tears of joy, only for those tears to turn into sorrow a few short weeks later when she tells you it was a failed pregnancy?

What do you do when one of your best friends is upset and heartbroken and you’re falling asleep on Skype because of the time difference?

What do you do when a dear friend’s brother is suffering? Or when another dear friend loses her brother to a violent act so close to home?

I can tell them I’m praying for them, but really I want to be praying with them, sitting next to them. I tell them if words could take pain away, I would never stop talking. I cry for them, but I want to cry with them, handing them tissues. I tell them I wish I could just give them a hug, and honestly, I wish I knew how to give them a hug when I’m so far away.

These situations seem the make the distance multiply. I might as well be living on Saturn.

The world is spinning fast here in Uruguay, each day a new adventure. A new Spanish phrase learned, a new bus route conquered, a new friend met, but the world is spinning fast back at home as well. How do I stop the spinning for just a moment, to give a hug?– Because frankly, it’s spinning faster than I can speak.

This year is about growing and learning, and learning to cope with pain, suffering, and loss is a lesson I am still trying to figure out. Do I send them a picture of me with outstretched arms? Do I hug the camera as we are Skyping? Do I tell them every day I wish I could give them a hug?

When we look to the moon, it’s the same moon, when we pray to God, it’s to the same God. While I, myself, cannot physically hug these people, I can hope that my prayers will embrace them just as my arms would. I can pray for healing, for peace, for calmness, for focus, for love, for compassion, and the list goes on. Feeling the presence of God in a time of pain can be one of the most marvelous things, and I can hope, and I can pray that the people I cannot hug will feel that presence, because it is greater and stronger than any hug I could possibly give (and I’m pretty darn strong).

That’s what I’ve learned so far. Maybe by the end of the year I’ll have it figured out, but no promises.

143,

Kirst.

This song makes me happy.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q8okOgw-jn4

*This post was a heck of a lot more organized in my mind, but once yet, words seem to fail me.

Pan de Cada Día (Daily Bread)

Sometimes moments in your life come crashing together to make something beautiful (Most likely the handy work of God). And Saturday sure was something beautiful.

As some of you may know, I can become [just a bit] anxious, especially when things may not be going quite as smoothly as hoped. Let’s rewind to late August at good ole Camp Bishopswood during BION Teen Camp, actually to Thursday August 21, around 2 or 3 PM. HOW DID I NOT KNOW THERE WAS A SPECIFIC RECIPE FOR THE COMMUNION BREAD ?! As some witnesses may remember, I was a bit panicked when I thought we may not have communion bread for the Eucharist later that evening with the Bishop. Oops. (I would also like to add in a formal apology to Johanna for putting you through such stress, and I would also like to express my gratitude to all those who calmed me down during this bread situation).

FAST FORWARD

Here I are a few months later sitting in another country finding myself beyond thankful for that experience and this is why:

I mentioned to the lady I am staying with at the moment that the camp in Maine one of the activities is baking bread for communion (AND THIS PARTICULAR ACTIVITY STUCK OUT TO ME BECAUSE OF THE SPECIFIC SITUATION ON AUGUST 21, 2014). Little did I know, three children were taking their First Communion the following Saturday (which happened to be this past Saturday), and what a wonderful thing it would be for them to be able to actually make the bread for their First Communion.

So we arrive to Colon (where the Anglican Diocese has one of it’s parishes), and unbeknownst to me, I would be explaining to the children how to make the bread…in Spanish. Thankfully, this time, I was fully prepared with a recipe and ALL THE NEEDED INGREDIENTS. The children enjoyed making the bread and I even felt accomplished in my successful Spanish explanation.

Both these of these events will now have a place in my heart, one being the “Communion Bread Event Where I Cried Tears of Frustration” & this lastet as being the “Communion Bread Event Where I Cried Tears of Joy” (because obviously I would let a tear or two of joy slip out while the children took their First Communion.).They make a beautiful crash. God really does work in mysterious & magical ways !!

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A few other updates:

-Two weekends ago I had the opportunity to attend a Bi-National Women’s Encounter Weekend hosted here in Montevideo. Three dioceses from Brazil & the Diocese of Uruguay had a wonderful weekend with discussions of what each diocese is doing, as well as some talks about the future, and some spectacular worship time together. My favorite part of the weekend was part of the devotion on Sunday morning before the service. We sang a beautiful song about strong women as we walked around the campus in the shining sun.

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During the inspiring devotion time !!

-Also during that weekend, I was able to visit with a fellow YASCer (Nina!) serving her second year in Brazil. She convinced me to try Mate…I’m not complaining, but I’m not raving about it either. David & a few others from New York also made it down for the conference and I thoroughly enjoyed the time we were all able to spend together.

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My first ever attempt at the art of making Mate

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-I held a cat.

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143,

Kirst.

Celsius & Besos

WOW ! I can’t believe I have been here for over a month !! <—Cliche yet surprisingly very true.

These past two weeks I have had to opportunity to travel to Colon (a part of Montevideo) on Tuesdays and see a bit of the ministry that is taking place there with the church. The area of the Colon is much different than the other parts of Montevideo I have seen, and I have been enjoying it immensely.

There is a children’s program in Colon, and yesterday I was standing outside and a few of the children ran up to me and starting poking my pants and pulling on my jacket and asking if I spoke English, it was absolutely adorable. I was able to converse with them in Spanish a bit, since they were no older than 4 and our vocabulary is on a similar level.

As I was leaving it really struck me as to why the children asking me if I spoke English stuck out to me. In the month’s time I have been here in Uruguay, every person I have met on the street or in the stores or elsewhere have instantly started speaking Spanish to me, and continue after I just stand there not saying anything, and I must tell them I do not speak a lot of Spanish before I am pegged as a foreigner. These children did not know anything about me, but could tell I was different. It always amazes me how children can pick up on things that adults sometimes cannot but it amazes me even more how open and loving children are to these differences.

One little girl even stood on her tippy toes and pulled down to give me besos on my cheek, and it simply melted my heart.

Last week a family from the church took me to Prado, another area of Montevideo. We adventured through the Botanical Gardens and the Japanese Gardens (because we all know I love trees and flowers), as well as going to the Museo de la Memoria. Museo de la Memoria is a memorial museum about the dictatorship that took place here in Uruguay during the 70’s & 80’s. I learned an abundance about the recent history of Uruguay, and definitely shed some light on the culture as well.

At the Japanese Garden

At the Japanese Garden

There  are a few things I am still working on here, one of them is my Spanish. One things I am having quite a difficult time with with “sentarse” and “sentirse” which translate into “to sit” and “to feel”. When someone is speaking rapidly to me and I miss the context of the word, I can not for the life of me figure out if they are telling me to sit down, or to talk about my feelings, which are two VERY different things.

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Another things I have to work on is the whole Celsius & Fahrenheit things. One day last week I went for my normal run in my tee-shirt and running capris. I was only running 3 miles but I was struggling hardcore, and I don’t usually struggle THAT much to just run 3 miles. After a mile and a half I had to walk, I just couldn’t do it, and I finished the three miles by run/walking the second half and feeling miserable. I was angry with myself for not being able to finish strong. On my way back to the flat I looked at the weather and it said 36 degrees Celsius, which meant absolutely nothing to me. When I returned to the flat I looked it up in Fahrenheit…90 degrees. Oops. I wasn’t do upset with my struggle anymore. IT WAS SO HOT AND HUMID AND I WAS WEARING PANTS. I was sweating so much that when I went to stand up from stretching, I literally skidded across my floor because I slipped in my own sweat. THAT IS MY LIFE.

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143,

Kirst.

P.S.

Yesterday I moved into the house I will be staying at for a while, it was an easy move seeing as I only have two bags and my backpack. When I walked up to the house my huge smile spread across my face because the house number is 143.  (For those of you who may not understand, I grew up with 143 meaning “I love you”, and it is something that has stuck with me throughout the years, hence 143 Kirst at the end of my posts and 1:43 being my favorite time of day/night).

Proverbs 27:17 & Bananas & Buses

Happy 3 Week Anniversary to me ! I have been in Montevideo for three weeks, and this is what’s been goin’ on:

I can take the bus to and from the church all by MYSELF without getting lost. For me, this is a huge accomplishment since my mother has always told people I can’t find my way out of a paper bag (which actually isn’t too far from the truth).

Teatro Solis (Cuidad Vieja) because I can take the bus to see it.

Teatro Solis (Cuidad Vieja) because I can take the bus to see it.

Do you know what’s more distracting than reading all the books as you’re shelving while working at a library (s/o Warner Memorial Library)? Reading documents in the archives room at the cathedral, that’s what. This past week I’ve been doing some work in the archives room, and aside from a few things in Spanish I don’t understand, and some number figures that means nothing to me, the rest is all quite interesting. I even found a pamphlet from probably the early 90’s about being thankful, and in it there was a photo of Portland Headlight. You can always find a little bit of home no matter where you go !!

Catedral de la Santísima Trinidad

Catedral de la Santísima Trinidad

Last Friday I decided to venture (by foot because well, the only bus I know went in the opposite direction) to Estadio Centenario (where the first FIFA World Cup was played !!). Even though football (futbol, soccer) is not my number one…or two…or three sport, I have started to enjoy it, and being a sports fan in general, I thoroughly enjoyed my visit. In the museum part I was able to learn a bit about the history of football in Uruguay and some general history of the country as well. On my way back from my visit I apparently missed a turn (who would have ever thought I would make such a mistake ?!), but it was for the best as I found the most adorable and delicious empanada place in my time of wandering.

Estadio Centenario

Estadio Centenario

One thing I appreciate immensely about this city is the abundance of open air markets (ferias). It’s so lovely to have fresh fruit (especially bananas, they have been my fruit of choice these part two weeks), and I enjoy simply wandering around and see some of the culture.

At a Feria

At a Feria

Lastly, one evening last week Proverbs 27:17 came up in conversation with a fellow YASCer and I had forgotten how much it applies to this adventure. Proverbs 27:17 reads as follows:

“As iron sharpens iron,
so one person sharpens another.”

The amount of support I have received from my fellow YASCers, and all of those friends and family back home, and the people I have met here in Uruguay, is overwhelmingly beautiful and something to be joyous about. I hope we can continue to sharpen one another !! Also, in Spanish the verse is translated as:

“El hierro se afila con hierro,
y el hombre en el trato con el hombre”

The day after I reflected on this verse, the word “afila” (sharpen) came up in conversation during my Spanish lesson, so surprisingly I knew what the word meant, and was reminded of the verse yet again. God moment…check.

143,

Kirst.

You can take the girl out of the trees, but you can’t take the trees out of the girl.

Estoy aqui ! I am here ! I arrived in Montevideo, Uruguay safely on Friday. The past three days have been filled with settling in, meeting new people, and finding my bearings. Of course the plane ride is when it hit me that I will be gone for an entire year. Luckily, a friend had made me playlist for the plane ride and the first song was “Oceans” by Hillsong, and after listening to it, I calmed down and remembered God is with me each step of the way and He will pick me up if I stumble.

Since arriving, I have met some extremely generous and friendly people. I have spent some time with a few members of the local congregation, and I feel so welcomed by all. The cathedral is stunning and the service was just like at home. There is a small Spanish speaking service, and a slightly larger (yet still small) English service. I am looking forward to truly getting to know the members of the congregation throughout the year.

Today I took a walk in the park with my new friend that I spent time with yesterday, and as we were walking she taught me the names of the trees in Spanish. SO MANY PALM TREES. I don’t think there is a Spanish translation for “tree hugger”, so maybe I will have to be creative !!

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Also, last night was Daylight Savings, so I am now two hours ahead of EST since it is spring here and we sprung forward an hour. I am sure the opposite seasons will through me for a loop or two, or more throughout the year !!

“You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown, where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep, my faith will stand

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior” – Oceans by Hillsong

143,
Kirst.

P.S. Knowing how to say your grandfather is Italian in Spanish will get you invited over for a ravioli lunch. Que Rico !!