Tuesday, May 24, 2011

After Mexico...

Ok, ok...Yes, I do realize that I have been home for *cough* a little while now. Roughly 17 days, actually. But the title still stands because I need to write a wrap-up post from Mexico and make a weak attempt at catching this blog (and presumably, its readers) up to speed on what's going on now as well as future plans. That sort of thing.

Also, while I'm still thinking of it...this blog totally needed a makeover. Hence the background and picture change and such. Feel free to tell me what you think, but I think by now you all know how well I follow the suggestions so helpfully offered in the comments. So if you write "YOU LOOK LIKE A TOTAL MORON IN THAT PICTURE JESS!!!" (not that anyone would, but it needed to be said...haha), you will be sadly disappointed by my response...or lack thereof. Because I have a feeling that picture and this template will be there for at least a year. I'm terrible at updating! The last, bright green one was up since like, April of last year...and I said it was supposed to reflect my excitement about spring. Ha. Aaaand then it was there through all the seasons, clashing horribly with winter. So this time it's (hopefully) a more generic background so that it won't pain me to look at it through Thanksgiving and Christmas and such.

Speaking of failing miserably to take the suggestions of commenters, I was informed some time ago that I needed to write "a very long summary post."


How do I summarize Mexico?? It defies a neat categorization or definition.


I guess that's where the "long post" part comes in.

Well. Mexico was wonderful. I am so thankful that I was given the opportunity and I would go again in a heartbeat if there was a need and I felt God was leading me. I loved the people, the break from the routine of life here in New York, the challenge of trying to communicate in a different language, the changed perspective that my surroundings gave to my government and literature studies, the feeling of having two families, and the chance to see what daily life is like with a missionary family.

I had extremely mixed feelings when it was time to pack my things up and fly home. I never experienced homesickness (although I always figured I would), but at the end of the four months, I was ready to go home and see my family. But at the same, I really didn't want to leave Mexico behind.

I hate saying goodbye...the uncertainty of whether I will ever see someone again here on earth...the feeling of finality... Yet it makes me thankful that there will be a day when we won't have to say goodbye ever again!

Moving on...here are the last of my Mexico pictures for the poor facebookless souls...you all know who you are. ;)

As for life after hopping off the plane...I think I can provide a pretty quick overview of that.

All but three of my family members were waiting at the airport for me...pretty sweet. :) The other three woke up to see me when we got home. I had told Josh that I bought him a turtle in a market and he was stoked about it. So, when he woke up and saw me, his only word was "turtle." Yeah, I see how I rate. :P

(I am in this picture...although it's hard to see.)

It was cute, Katrina told me (after despairing that I'd EVER return..."You ALWAYS that you're coming home soon!!") that she would do a tap dance for me when I got back...and she did:

When I first got back, I had to unpack, re-organize my room, study for and take two finals, write one final paper, have a sleep-over to say goodbye to a dear friend who was leaving for the summer just a couple days after my return....

make a presentation at the mother-daughter banquet...

(Actually, the church was just starting to fill up in this picture...by the time I actually spoke, there were about 120 people. Have I mentioned that I am not a fan of public speaking?!)

...wear strange-looking sombreros with my sisters at aforementioned banquet...

...and finish a bunch of other random things...all in the course of six days.

It was slightly insane, but I have lived to tell of it...

Life has slowed down considerably since then, fortunately. :)

Yesterday I took the Exam of Horrors: the oral Spanish ACTFL test. I really don't know how I did, but it wasn't as difficult as I had been expecting.

I was terrified of it though, and had been for the last year at least, since the first time I realized I would have to take a foreign language proficiency test in order to avoid Latin, Greek, or Russian (the 3 foreign languages PHC offers). If I had been any more petrified I would have fossilized. Really.

I mean, I'd been studying Spanish seriously for less than a year (the little bit I took in high school hardly counts because I was only trying to finish it, not learn it, and I forgot it all almost immediately) and here I was supposed to talk to a complete stranger...on the phone...in a foreign language...for a half an hour...about any topic she chose. AHHHH!!!

But, as always, God was faithful and I didn't die!

After getting home from the test (I took it on a local campus because I had to find a professor there to be my proctor), I went for a walk with Joanna, trying to come to grips with the idea that I was done. DONE! Free from studying for almost 13 weeks!!

It obviously wasn't sinking in very well, because I kept talking to Joanna about college- and exam-related stuff. Finally, after I said something about wanting to know my grades, she turned around and said severely,

"You are ten years old and there is no such thing as college!!"

That settled it, of course, and we ran around in the fields...

...picked flowers, talked about her bird-feeder plans, and took pictures.

(yeah, failed picture, but I find it amusing.)

Summer break is AWESOME!

Aaaand no post of mine would be complete without a random list of...things. So without further ado...

Weird but amusing things about being home:

-My parents and siblings freaking out about letting me drive again. They honestly thought I had forgotten how and would wreck the van. (FYI...it came right back to me!)

-I've been basically a celebrity in my own home. I should go away more often...jk, jk.

-I hate pillows. This is because I have discovered that I am incredibly bad at stuffing pillows into pillowcases...and I have to do it over and over at work. I need to work on getting faster...

-I am once again unable to see the tops of most guys' heads! ;) It's nice to wear heels and not feel too tall...

-I feel that I am living life on the edge simply because I drink water from the faucet.

-I can understand the conversations of random people in stores! (yay, eavesdropping.) I missed that...and the ability to talk to just about anybody. So I made up for it by striking up conversations with people in the airport.

-I am no longer an albino in comparison to everyone else! In fact, my sisters were jealous of my tan when I got back. :P

-I've got my pandora back!

-I'm loving being back with these people...


(Erika--This picture amuses me greatly.)

(Joanna in a tree)

(I think they love me...even if they welcomed me home by dumping water on my head. :P Actually, we were just pretending, in case that's not obvious...)

(Erika, Elizabeth, Annetta, me, and Jennifer...the day after I got home.)

(Jennifer, Annetta, Rachel, and me, catching up on life...)

-I love spring. And lilacs. And the cool thing is that I basically had two springs this year!
Finally, as for my summer plans? Basically, work. Right now I technically have two jobs, although one of them doesn't start until this Friday. In the evenings, I'll be working as a server (waitress) just like last summer, and in the mornings/early afternoons I've been working as a housekeeper at Comfort Inn. Yep, where Erika works, as documented here. The nice thing about starting work where my sister works is that everyone already knows all about me. ("Hi Jess, nice to meet you...how was Mexico?" Me: "Is she a mind reader?!") And the bad thing about starting work where my sister works is that everyone already knows all about me, haha.

The nice thing is that I'm not taking any classes this summer, so I can just work as much as possible in order to earn the necessary money to go on campus in the fall.

Anyhow, I think that about covers everything! I hope to check in here once more before I head to campus in August...


Elizabeth said...

Those pictures bring back very interesting memories of us trying to detain Rachel :)

THE HUNTER said...

Hey Jess.....YOU LOOK LIKE A.....:) Never mind. I'm glad to see that you are no longer a "19 year old Sophomore" too. We're all glad to have you back. :)

Nadea said...

so now that you're back in the states, which language do you prefer to have your comments sent under?

Gryphon said...

No pressure,but be careful your sister might have made a reputation or something at Comfort Inns:)
(welcome back to bloggerdom)

CrazyCraftsman said...

Well, I have never left a comment on your blog before,so...here goes.

I just wanted to say that I like your new design and pic, your post was very interesting and humorous, and you wrote this post on my birthday and never once mentioned me in it. I guess that's all I should expect from you. Oh and I can speak Spanish too...the other day I was laughing in Spanish. Aren't you impressed?

ok enough from me. (I don't want to scare away your other followers.

Mike said...

Hi Jessica,
Random things here:
I miss lilacs so much. There are none here. My grandpa had some incredible ones and I always loved them.
Thanks for not writing anything about my driving on your blog. :-)
Unbelievably, it has hardly rained a bit since you and Rachel left. We may have had a small shower the week you left and then one small shower last week. It's been really hot and dry. Amazing. I thought with that huge rain that got the cistern that we were going to be in for a long hard rainy season. Not sure what the problem is with the rain here, but there is much talk of drought throughout much of the country.
Glad that your family is enjoying having you home. Come visit when you can again.
mike, also the ghost writer for Aztec Dancer.