My vacation to the United States began on a bus from General Cepeda, Mexico to Saltillo, Mexico on May 31st. It was rather hilarious because Erika and my bags were too large to fit under our seats and too heavy to put overhead. For most of our bus ride we had to say, "Cuidado!" (careful) each time a new passenger passed by our seats. We couldn't help but laugh that we, the only Americans on the bus, were so ridiculous with our huge bags!
Once we arrived in Saltillo, we hung out with our friend Rosio and spent the night at her house. Our day of travel on the 1st of June started really early in the morning! Without receiving much sleep the night before, Erika and I got on a bus to Monterrey at 6:30 in the morning. We arrived at the airport about two hours later, checked in, and found a place to eat breakfast at the airport. We had a few hours to relax before our flight came. I thought our plan of travel was a good one; take a bus from Saltillo to Monterrey, then a plane from Monterrey to Houston, and then a bus from Houston to Lafayette, La. I knew we would be traveling ALL day, but I thought, I'll sleep on the plane and the bus....right about that! After this trip, I've learned that I'm not the best traveler. I get a little cranky after several hours of traveling. I guess I need to travel more to get used to it. :)
I must admit it was nice once we arrived at Big Woods. My old room in the two story brought me so much comfort and at 1:00 am on June 2nd, I couldn't wait to crash! That night, I slept better than I had slept in a long time. It was nice to wake up in such a familiar place and to know that I didn't really have much to do! That day I visited with Brooke and my new nephew-cousin (not sure what to call him (: ) Anthony Joseph. He is such a beautiful baby! I was able to visit some of my mission family and some friends I hadn't seen in a long time. Did I mention that when I arrived in the States I had a serious case of culture shock! It was so odd to be in a country where I understood the language completely and had comforts that I had gone without for the last three months!
The whole reason I took this vacation was to go to the wedding of Kristen and Jonathon, two of my friends I met through missions. Their wedding was beautiful and allowed me to see even more of my friends, visit, and catch up. I had the best date to the wedding too! My date was little Anthony Joseph. We danced so much at the reception, well, I danced as he slept in my arms! It was great! I didn't take many pictures because almost the whole time I had a baby in my arms. I do want to share with you one of the pictures I took. Not only did I get to visit with my missionary friends and few other friends in Louisiana, but I got to visit my brother Francis and his wife Brandi and my family in Florida. When I arrived in Florida my mom had made plans to surprise my nieces and nephews. My sister Angela and her husband Gus along with the kids arrived at my house in Florida at 6:30 on Sunday the 5th and my mom was already talking to me on Skype as if I were in Mexico, but really I was in my room down the hall. I started talking with the kids and Mom told Angela, "Hey, the stuff you needed is down the hall." Angela came down the hall and into my room and got into the camera shot on Skype with me. It was so great to hear the kids yell, laugh, and be so confused! I was then greeted with huge hugs and kisses. O how I love those kids! Abigail, my oldest niece said something to my sister later along the lines of, "Mom, remember when you went to Mexico?" because in her mind I was in Mexico instead of my room! Most of the time in Florida I spent with family and friends that pretty much are family and relaxing. I actually spent a lot of time with my mother; it was much needed time.I remember at some point in my trip thinking, "Wow, I really don't fit in anymore, like in the world." I didn't really feel comfortable in the world, not meaning that I wanted to hide away in a little bubble somewhere and not live, I just knew that the things of this world would not and could not satisfy me. Part of me didn't want to stand out and be so different. I didn't want to dress so differently and act so differently than others. Now being back in General Cepeda I've had time to reflect on my time home and realized that it was a beautiful letdown. Don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed the time with family and friends and the time to relax, but most of the time I was there I was thinking about missions and missing it. It is a letdown to know that I no longer "fit in" with the world, but how beautiful is it that I don't "fit in" because the Lord has changed me and made me to stand out and shine brightly for Him. I know that missions has forever changed my life, and that change will manifest itself in different ways as my life continues.
My vacation to the States was exactly what the doctor ordered. I've returned to Mexico with a renewed spirit and a different kind of joy. I wake up in the morning excited about the possibilities to serve, about the adventures to experience, and the new things I will learn that day. I feel as though I'm finally learning how to lose my life, and it feels great! I'm learning to let go and let God.
"Yet the world and its enticement are passing away. But whoever does the will of God remains forever." 1 John 2:17