As of today, I have lived in Mexico for one whole year. How do I even begin to sum up the last 12 months? They're full of opposites. In some ways it feels like the longest year of my life, and in other ways the shortest year. Sometimes I think what have I even done in the last year, and other days I think what haven't I done in the last year. Days like yesterday I think I don't speak any spanish, and today I'm thinking I can hold my own just fine. Maybe I can process this with the questions I use to debrief groups who come here.
What did I learn about myself? I'm not nearly as independent as I thought I was. I don't know how to do everything, I make mistakes, and I can ask for help. I'm also a lot stronger than I thought I was, both mentally and physically. I weathered the crazy emotions of moving to a new country and learning a new language, and I can run the concrete mixer by myself in 115 degree heat.
What did I learn about other people? People are a lot more gracious and less judgmental than I give them credit for. Not only are my coworkers willing to share in my successes, but in my failures too. They want to know it all. The good, bad, happy, and sad. I have friends who have literally dropped what they were doing to help me, or have known when I was too stubborn to ask for help and stepped in without being asked.
What did I learn about God? He's got a perfect plan that I often can't understand. He's got a plan for all of "my" kids in the children's homes, he's got a plan for my friends in the States who are struggling, and he's got a plan for me. And I'm glad I can trust in his plans, because the ones I made just aren't as good! When I moved here, I thought a year later I'd be back in the states starting graduate school and training for my next Ironman. Boy was I wrong.