Literal translation: It makes three months.
REAL Translation: Three months ago.
I love how there is a difference between the two translations. To me, it is a clue to understanding the culture of a language and the language of a culture. Nuance is everything.
Three months ago, we rubbed sad drowsiness from our eyes to marvel at our first Costa Rican sunrise as a family, viewed through the Coach-sized portholes of our rapidly descending plane. Now, we look back at that moment through 90-some days’ worth of life lessons, major adjustments, new friendships, joyful moments, humorous adventures and grief. Oh, how we have learned so much. Three months ago:
… we didn’t know that we didn’t realize fully how technology would fall far short of real hugs, real coffee dates on chilly days and real eyeball-to-eyeball together-togetherness. We miss our family. We miss autumn. We miss our friends in Denver!
… we didn’t know that God would give us NOW our dream of living in an Italian-style villa “someday.” The house we rented blindly (without seeing a single picture) was truly encased in God’s guiding hands. He has provided us with a beautiful, spacious, renovated, colorful house to rent for as long as we need it. We are so grateful!
… we didn’t know that we would be able to buy eggs from a guy. In a van. Driving down our street. Blasting rooster sounds from a VERY notsoquiet LOUDSPEAKER. And we didn’t know that truly fresh eggs don’t need refrigeration. We haven’t had one go bad yet!
… we didn’t know what it would feel like to have access to orange, banana, cass (a new fruit for us – makes great juice!), and fig trees. And, as of a few days ago, our squash plants began exploding. Too fun! And, just a few houses down on a public street, a coffee tree is bursting with ripening berries. Cannot.wait!
… we did not know ANY of the people in this room (except for our teammates). Now, we see many of them 5 days a week or more! We cannot believe that we didn’t know them 3 months ago and now, we can’t imagine not having some of them as friends.
… we did not know that we would be going to a Nicaraguan paradise to receive re-entry visas for Costa Rica … nor that I’d be able to capture a corner of God’s indescribable glory with my incredibly finite, man-made camera. WOW!
… we had never been students at the same time, with children … what a change this has been for all four of us! We thought that juggling homeschooling and partner development (support raising) in our home country was intense. It is official: adjusting to a brand new culture while learning to speak the local language and managing the typical, everyday demands of family life, is even tougher. Studying Spanish has been a wonderful challenge for us. We are enjoying the learning process. Feeling like we can do all things well, however, is rather elusive at the moment. The Lord is gracious to us! Our teachers tell us we’re progressing well and our kids haven’t bought plane tickets to go home. We’ll celebrate it all – big or little!
… we had no idea that the best way to mark a sinkhole behind a school is to put a dead tree in it and then weave CAUTION tape all throughout the branches. How inventive! Even MacGuyver would be jealous. Some friends who live a few blocks from this spot had their ficus tree stolen out of their yard the Sunday morning before I snapped this photo. We believe this is their tree.
… we had never watched a butterfly hatch from its cocoon on a path we walk every day. What a remarkable reminder of the work God is purposefully, skillfully weaving in our lives moment-by-moment. Just as the caterpillar was being transformed as we walked by it every day, without noticing it, often we are not aware of the changes God is creating within us. Here in Costa Rica, we feel the pressures of our cocoon, but aren’t fully aware of their potential purpose for us. Then, one day, something will capture our attention and we will realize we’re different … forever.
All this to show & say that in the past three months, we have been stretched and we have been soothed by God’s grace. We have grieved the distance between us and our loved ones, while different children of God have endeared themselves to us, have taken up residence in our hearts. We are being challenged to surrender our selfish motives on a whole new level every week. We feel as if we are learning how to breathe underwater (Thank you, JD Whitney, for that analogy. You were right!). It is not a pain-free process, but we are so thankful that God loves us too much to leave us the way we are. As for the next three months: bring it on.