I love Fiction. Historical fiction is my favorite, although I love mysteries, as well. If you've been reading for a while you know I adore the Mitford series. That is Fiction at its best. :)
I've always loved writing fiction, as well. I have pages and pages of "novels" that I wrote on a whim some weekend. School assignments where we're allowed to pick the subject are my favorite.
I feel like I could write a book about my days in Argentina. The country spurs so many descriptive words in my mind that I long to write out each moment detail by detail! So I thought I'd try a different approach this blog post and give you a view of my last day in Argentina, descriptive essay style. :)
I wake up to the sound of the news in Spanish, a sound that has grown so familiar to me over the past days that I can't help but smile. As I sit up I glance over to see if the sign language interpreter is shown in the right corner of the screen. She is, and I see her hands bend and sway to the flowing motions that make up Argentine Sign Language.
I only watch her for a moment, though, because this is my last morning waking up in this place I love so much, and I'm going to squeeze every moment that I can with my dear host family. I step into the kitchen and hug my host mom and dad just as I've done every morning I've been here. We talk about how we slept and how the day will be cold...without Google Translate. Because God breaks down language barriers, friends.
This morning seems to be no different from any other at first glance. As I carefully smooth Dulce de Leche on my bread, I see Reynaldo opening the computer. I think of this time last year, when he played "I'm Yours" every morning to wake us up. I think of the days I had listened to that song, remembering and replaying moments of the trip through my mind. I remember the final morning of our trip last year. He played "I'm Yours" one final time as I sat in that same spot, trying to forget the fact that I wouldn't be returning to this kitchen that evening. Transported back to the present, I take a sip of my sweet coffee, savoring the flavor. After all, it is my last morning in Argentina. And lo and behold...
"I'm Yours" comes on. I look up with a huge, ridiculous grin on my face. I practically leap up to the computer, quickly typing how I listened to this song all the time and how much I loved it and how it made me miss Argentina so much. My words didn't even scratch the surface of what I was feeling, though. I would be back. All those days in the United States I had listened to that song and feared that I would not return to this place. But I did. There I sat, listening to the song once again, only in Argentina. I listened to the song as I ate my toast, thanking the Lord over and over again for His blessings.
I've been awake for less than an hour, and already have four paragraphs of memories. Haha.
Fast forward about thirty minutes...Reynaldo has left to take Nico to school, and Isabella is happily watching cartoons as Renzo sleeps. Viviana readies the house for the day, and I follow her every step.
Hi, my name is Claire, and my love language is quality time. Do you mind if I am your shadow? We talk and laugh and enjoy the morning together. She fixes Isabella's hair so carefully, and when the three of us step out the door that precious little girl looks stunning.
I stop to kiss Renzo in bed, just in case I don't get to see him that evening. That sweet baby boy. I lean over and gently kiss his chubby little cheek, and he looks up at me with those soulful brown eyes. I tell him I love him so much and kiss him again.
Isabella was soooo excited to see her little friend at preschool that day. As we walked to the bus stop we also talked about her favorite book, a sweet story about "La Vaca Luluz" (a cow named Luluz who is on a quest to find out what noise cows make :)). I could quote the book at this point and so we went along, quoting this cute little book.
Then we boarded the bus. The bus rides are a big part of the Argentina trip for me, as I love the conversations that transpire there. (once again, quality time...)
I guess you may be getting ready for the day to get a move on, though, so I'll breeze by this quickly...
Of course the bus ride is wonderful, Viviana and I talk and I almost get killed by the bus door...haha! It opened rather violently while I was standing in its path...it almost knocked me over...and then I couldn't stop laughing so that was a safety issue for those around me, haha! But I made it to church all in one piece. ;) Although I longed to stay home with my family, I told dear Viviana goodbye and sat to wait for everyone else to get there. I had very low expectations for this day, since it was the last day after all. Actually, though, I was pleasantly surprised by the day.
Our dear friend Pali and her daughters came along with us, and so when we went into La Boca to shop, I went with them and another girl from our team. We spent the afternoon together, searching for the right gifts for our family members and enjoying time together. Such a sweet time.
Fast forward to lunch--I ate a bite of cow intestines because I knew Mason would have eaten them if he was there. Although I didn't throw up or anything, the texture was pretty disconcerting. I was excited to tell him that I had tried it, though, so it was worth it.
Fast forward once again to the church--I knock on the door and who should answer it but a dear friend who I thought I wouldn't be seeing again! I was so excited to see her one last time, and couldn't hug her enough. She was so kind to give me some earrings she had crocheted to take home to my mom and sister. (which they adore!)
Then the goodbyes...we had a blissful hour in which we pretended that they weren't going to happen. We talked about our day, dear Pali took some sweet family pictures of us, and I hugged each member of my family about a dozen times. Renzo gained some adoring fans and we had such a sweet time together.
Then Diego called all the families together for a time of prayer and opportunity to share special moments of the trip. I held Renzo in my lap as he ate crackers, and listened to the families share. I looked down at this happy little boy and was just thankful for the moment.
Then my host dad stood up and asked me to join him. He put his arm around me and began talking, and I just stared at the floor as what he said was translated into English. After a few sentences I forewent my "I'm going to get through this without crying" mindset and looked up at him, not even needing a translation because the message of what he was saying was clear. I knew I was loved in that moment. I knew I was loved by my own family, who had allowed me to leave them even after Benjamin's surgery for this opportunity which my heart needed. I knew I was loved by God, who placed me in a family that supports who I am, who was so gracious to allow me ten days with a family in Argentina that He knew would have my heart even before I was born. I felt the love of Reynaldo and Viviana as he told me that they loved me and would miss me.
The love of that moment was so overwhelming that I just put my head against his chest and cried. And as I cried, Renzo put his arm around me.
I'll stop the day there. More sweet moments happened, more hugs were shared. We drove away on a bus. A girl on our team told me how my relationship with my host family encouraged a lot of people. That comment surprised me, and blessed me. I continued to thank God for His mercies in allowing me to have two precious families. We boarded an airplane, I slept fitfully...journaled almost constantly, talked with the Argentine sitting next to me. And then we were in the United States, and then...home. I was reunited with my family.
Just as the first moment stepping off the bus in Argentina was memorable and precious to me, hugging my mom again was so special to me. I talked nonstop for the next several hours, pouring out my soul to my mother, the one who I knew would listen to the most minute of details such as the taste of Dulce de Leche on toast, cry with me, and delight with me over how my dear host siblings have changed and grown. She is a blessing.
I don't know why God would see fit to bless me with ten days in Argentina. Why did He place these two families in my life, ten people who I love so deeply and who love me just as much? How is it that love reaches over countries, languages, and years?
Sometimes I focus on the ugliness of this world. But tonight, thinking back to that day, I see clearly the beauty that God has blessed us with. Beauty that all comes out of one thing: love.
Thanks for letting me share all those adjectives that I had to cut out of my thank you newsletter to keep it down to one page...thank goodness for blogs with no word-limits!