Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Waking Up

Waking up this morning was exactly what I feared it was going to be.
Today is Tuesday, the 24th day of May which means that I leave in two days. As I wrote those words, my stomach sunk lower that it ever has before.
I don't want to leave at all and while usually this feeling of dread is reserved for the day before I leave and the day of leaving, the lack of sleep due to sunburn isn't my best friend.
The past couple of nights have been miserable as I try to lay as still as possible so as not to induce pain. The pain isn't that bad when I'm awake but it has been in my dreams for the past two nights, meaning laying down is the culprit. Sunday night I dreamt that I got so sick that I was loaded on a plane to the States for treatment. Extreme, yes, but I'm not known for being the understated type, especially in my dreams. With that being the case, yesterday and today have been filled with the task of staying awake and coherent. I danced around La Torre yesterday in a state of delirium that caused a few laughs but was just pitiful. I feel okay but I'm really sleepy!
Jessie told me that the girls were asking what's wrong with me today and she asked if it was my leaving that was holding me down and it truly is. Tears are coming to my eyes as I think about leaving this place and these people that I love so much. I want to wake up every morning to my girls, spend time with my older girls as they do their homework, and get a million, "Hola Poporopo!"s as the younger girls come in from school. I want to get to hug and kiss a their faces everyday and tell them that they are beautiful and that I love them. I just love spending time with them and as Jim Kinder says, "Just doing life together." I don't want to turn their worlds upside down and make them live life like me. I want to be here to support them and play with them and be with them as they live their lives.
That being said, I have had the blessing of a lifetime this past week. Last night, Jamie took me, Jessie, Lily, Raquel and Julisa to MiraFlores (a mall) in the City to celebrate Julisa's birthday. The Jacobs (the American and the Guatemalan) went along to hang out with Jamie as we shopped. Jessie got Raquel a new cell phone since hers was stolen when she got robbed. Raquel was so excited to have a new phone and Jessie was excited to be able to provide that. Julisa picked Pizza Hut for dinner and she was going to pass out on me if I didn't feed her by the time we got there. We finally ordered the pizza in the food court after 8pm and she was tired. After she started eating breaksticks and pizza, the Julisa that we all love came back to life. We took a lot of funny pictures and had a good time being together. Something about just girls hanging out is a blessing in itself. We had a wonderful time and while Julisa slept on the way back, the rest of us shared laughs. It was a great evening!!!
Right now, Raquel is gone to University and Julisa is in school so I'm going to make a birthday cake for Julisa. Hopefully she'll love it. I am excited about spending another evening with the people I love. The gringos from Nebraska are having a movie night so we will enjoy the movie, cake and hopefully a little Skype time for the girls in Doncellas to meet some people from home.
As sad as I am to be leaving, I'm excited about all the weddings going on in the States. Skype is the coolest thing in the world and will soon become my best friend as I leave Jessie here.
I am looking forward to absorbing as much as I can within the next 48 hours!!

-courtney

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Guatemala Trip 7

Over the past week, I have again been astounded by the bounty of the Lord's beauty in this place. I see His beauty everyday in Mobile and the places that I travel in the States, but something about these people tends to open my eyes in new ways.

I haven't been able to blog due to lack of internet access on my own computer, but Jessie has been kind enough to let me borrow her computer each night to at least update my parents that I'm alive and well. Since I got here last Sunday, we have done a lot of hanging out with the girls and just being with them. Sitting around, watching YouTube videos, novelas, movies, and talking is such a blessing. I got to watch La Bella y la Bestia (Beauty and the Beast) with Maria and Chiquis earlier this week and it was amazing. Since the school had exams this week, it wasn't the best week to hang out due to the kids' devotion to studying for school. The mornings were filled with me trying to distract them (failed attempts, of course) and the afternoons were filled with hanging out with Raquel and then being bored after she left for school. It was a great week.
Yesterday, we got the amazing privilege to take the girls who were level 5s and the girls who got As and Bs to the water park. We drove over two hours to Puerto de San Juan to Aqua Magic. It was the best day I've ever had in Guatemala! Being free of exams, distractions of responsibilities, and just enjoying time together with girls was amazing. I got to teach a good number of them how to avoid holding their nose underwater and a few of them how to swim a little bit. Jessie and I also took them into the ocean for the first time. Some of the girls were young and some were as old as we are, but they all had a wonderful time experiencing all of these new things. My flip flops were stolen off of the beach, I got terribly sunburnt and I got stung by a bee, but the blessing of spending the whole day with the girls far outweighed the bad things that happened.
It was more than amazing to talk to them on the bus, and have pure fun with them over the entire day. No one cared what they looked like after the initial shock of wearing bathing suits in front of each other and it became one of the most amazing things I've observed with the kids amongst themselves. They got to play and be together.

This week has been challenging in my thoughts and prayers as it has been the most different of any trip that I have taken here. The Lord has been so good teaching me through His scriptures in Isaiah and the Psalms about His faithfulness to us, even after our great sin and also His willingness to fight for us and bless us in many different ways. I've had the privilege of writing all of these thoughts down and it has been a tremendous week in learning for me.

I got up at 4am to go to University in the City with Jacob one day as well as sleep late one day. I've watched every Latin singer's music videos in English and Spanish multiple times. I've stayed up later than I thought I could. i've gone to bed earlier than I ever do. I've taken a few naps due to lack of sleep, given a million hugs, given a couple thousand kisses on the head and cheeks, observed a thousand smiles, and been blessed by the presence and beauty of about 100 unique souls on a consistent basis throughout the day. I've squashed a few bugs, screamed a few times on the bus while we hit speed bumps, sung a lot of worship songs, been required to recharge my camera battery already, gained a few more nicknames, heard a few squeals of delight when cute boys show up on the screen, and have had to ask what someone is saying multiple times. I've understood more Spanish, spoken less Spanish, been torn between who to spend time with a couple of times. I've eaten some rice and beans, lived off of tostadas, been asked for more chips and more cookies about ten times a day and smiled with delight when I could fulfill someone's wish, even if it was a small one. I haven't done manual labor or built a house, but the relationships that I have invested time in this week have grown substantially with the blessing of the Lord's favor in them. I have been so thankful and grateful this week for these girls. It is a privilege to live with them and be with them as much as I have been.

Everyone should be so lucky as to be me right now. These are the most wonderful people in the world and there is no way that I could ever bless them in the way that they have blessed and changed me and my life.

I love this place.