We hit the ground running when we left for China last October. Though we spent the majority of 2012 dreaming, learning, and planning for this crazy-sounding, overly ambitious year, we knew so little. That became more and more evident as we went from country to country, back to back to back. I didn’t know where Slovenia was. I didn’t know my Arabic numbers. I didn’t know a lick of Mandarin, or Indonesian, or Thai. On top of doing interviews and learning about the local ministries, we were learning about the country, too. There was no time to plan for the future.
Looking back, I wish we had time to reflect during the trip. A time in isolation, away from everything new, where we can write down all we’ve learned and heard, all we’ve thought about. The histories and testimonies are blending together in my head, if not just gone altogether. (The history part doesn’t surprise me… I retained absolutely nothing from any of the histories classes I took in school). If you’re planning a jam-packed trip, please take this advice and give yourself time between big cultural changes!
I still feel like I can see things pretty clearly in my head. When I drive down the streets here in Costa Rica, I see little scenes that remind me of specific spots in Romania or the Philippines. It’s the facts that I’m losing fast. Thankfully there’s always our library of 60,000+ photos — plus Google, Wikipedia, and Netflix — to refresh my memory.
Now that we’re at the end of the trip, it’s been more difficult to live in the present without thinking about what’s next. The past two weeks have been going by in slow motion because of all the anticipation of finally going home. We were home twice earlier this year, but this time it’ll be different. This time we’ll be on the grid, in our house, unpacking all of our things. 2012 and 2013 were full of change, and everything was neatly blocked off in my Google Calendar. Now that it’s over, our future is just this big fat question mark. But you know what? I’m not freaking out about it. This is post-trip Claudia speaking — a toughened, less-panicky, more confident version of myself — and I’m really, really looking forward to getting settled into our home, processing the past year, and figuring out what I want to do next.
Just because the trip is over doesn’t mean the blogging will stop! Like I said, I have a lot to process, so I still have plenty to share. Plus, we have some fun trips coming up that we want to tell you about.