What’s it like returning to the States after being in a third world country for the last 6 months of my life? Do you really want to know? I’m not even sure if I know. I bet none of you expected another post. I didn’t expect to write one, but my mind has been a blur of too many thoughts since returning and I figured I should right them down and maybe continue on with this blog at least until the end of my Dominican Trip in January. Who knows. Maybe I’ll change my mind.
Where to begin? To be honest, I’m making myself sick in the head. I can give you one piece of advice, if you’re a die hard romantic like me.. it’s best that you don’t go out with anyone when you travel. As if it isn’t already hard to readjust to a life completely different than the life that I had there and leave all my friends and quit speaking Spanish, leaving behind someone you love and wanted to spend more time with makes it at least 100 times worse. Great. Now my family is going to bug me and lecture me about dating again. Yeah, I went out with someone else after the first idiot that broke my heart down there. And fell harder for him. Then had to leave. And now I’m sad. Don’t lecture me. Get over it.
So that’s my advice for any romantics out there. But what the hell, you can’t help your heart can you? If you’re like me, it’s impossible not to open your heart to people. Friends or more. And I opened my heart to Guatemala and the entire country now feels like a giant ex-boyfriend that you want to hate and push out of your life and forget about and pretend that nothing ever happened, but you can’t because you still love him.
Guatemala was one of the saddest places I’ve ever seen. It wasn’t just the poverty. The trash on the streets. The starving dogs and children. None of that. What kills me the most is the lack of self respect and self esteem. To watch so many people with so much potential make bad decision after bad decision after bad decision because they don’t think they are worth anything or will ever be worth anything in life kills me to my very core. To see people who don’t follow their dreams because they have none. To see people say things like they don’t have a chance at a life like mine or that they don’t deserve me. Having to hear about this boy I loved revert back and forth in and out of drugs because he’s confused as hell over my leaving, no matter how much I encourage him or tell him it’s not worth it is eating me up inside. I know it’s not my fault because it’s not my fault that I had to leave nor is it my fault that he’s choosing to deal with his pain in the wrong way, but part of me feels guilty for causing the pain. It’s not my fault. I hurt too. And I don’t know what to do or how to help him and I hurt not being able to be there with him or for him. But how many times do I have to hear someone say they love me one minute to they don’t want anything to do with me the next because the drugs/confusing thoughts are affecting them and they don’t know what to do with themselves? I hurt because I hate to see people hurt themselves. And almost everybody hurts themselves in Guatemala.
It’s so easy to get a hold of alcohol. Of drugs. Of sex. At any age. So easy to take the “easy way out” and forget about all your problems for a night just to wake up and start over again. And so many people are so closed off about their personal lives that they must be eaten alive inside. There’s a lack of encouragement to quit things like this because everyone’s so closed off that they just “don’t judge” everyone else’s decisions (The reality is that they judge like crazy behind their back, but just don’t but into their lives and say HEY DUDE WHAT THE *$#@(#( ARE YOU DOING TO YOURSELF?). I can’t emphasize how important it is to talk about your life to someone, to get out your thoughts and feelings, to talk about things so you can overcome them. But everyone there just doesn’t. (There are exceptions to everything I’m saying of course, I don’t want anyone to be offended. There are exceptions to what I will say about the people in America as well, don’t you worry.) There are lies constantly. There’s judging constantly (Not that we don’t do these things in other parts of the world, but I swear it’s worse there than I’ve ever seen in America). There’s so much insecurity and pride that it seems like you can’t even get to any of them because they’ve built up a wall so fierce that no matter how nice you talk and how much you really do care, they’ll never believe it so they’ll never let you truly help them.
After being in such a place for so long, you begin to love it no matter what the circumstances. There’s nothing there compared to the States. We have things of all shapes and sizes and flavors and you name it. And it changes depending on what state you visit. The people are all different. The food is all different. The culture is all different. We’re a glorious melting pot of a country with choices and opportunities in abundance. And it makes me sick and happy at the same time.
I walked through a grocery store yesterday with my aunt. A grocery store. Just a small grocery store and I was overwhelmed. How do we have so many options for food? How on earth do we decide what to eat each week? It’s a blessing and a curse at the same time. It’s a blessing because we really have access to pretty much anything we want here and depending on where you live, you don’t usually have to drive far to get it. But it’s a curse because it sends the mind into a whirl of confusion and indecision when we can’t make up our mind what we want. It also is a curse because we have so many unhealthy food options available that taste absolutely heavenly that it is a constant battle to try to resist them and stay healthy.
When she took me shopping to buy me some new clothes, I was quickly turned back on to my consumerist materialistic side. CLOTHES GLORIOUS CLOTHES. It disgusted me. I wanted to buy everything in the store or run far far away all at the same time. How blessed am I to be able to have such a generous aunt that spoils me and takes me shopping each Christmas to get some new clothes? I hope to one day be able to spoil people like she spoils me. It’s been hard to stay positive this Christmas, despite the beautiful blessing that is my family. I’m grateful for everything my family has given me, but in receiving a lot of the gifts I have received, a part of me also feels sad and guilty because it’s not fair that I get these things and some people have nothing.
If you don’t realize how blessed we are in this country, you better do a self-check up. I mean, we have so many blessings that we actually have time to worry about our outer appearance. We have time to work out so we get the perfect bod to the point where we get so insanely concerned about our looks that we just HAVE to have cute clothes to work out in too so we look cute while we’re sweating up a storm.
At some point this week, we visited a millionaire’s house to see how pretty they decorated their house with the ungodly amount of Christmas lights. This is a house that owns 42 dogs because they don’t know what else to do with their ungodly amounts of money. And I’m pretty sure not one of them is even a rescued dog.
Then, it just got worse. I sat around the game table at New Years Eve last night with my cousin and her boyfriend and family as they shared stories of the first college that they went to and the majority of spoiled rich kids that went there. I was told a story of a person who was given an ALLOWANCE of $2000 a week and was actually asking her parents for more because it WASN’T ENOUGH!
Then, there was the story of the girl who ran out of gas. My cousin’s boyfriend filled her in on this fact to which she responded by calling her father and yelling at him “I THOUGHT YOU WERE GOING TO COME UP HERE EVERY WEEKEND AND FILL UP MY GAS TANK!” What? You’re in college and you don’t know how to pump your own gas? How… How are you able to pass your classes? Not only that, it was true.. Her father drove 1.5 hours every weekend to fill her gas tank and because he couldn’t make it that weekend, he paid $100 (not including the cost of the gas) to my cousin’s boyfriend to go help this poor poor child fill up her tank.
How sick my own country makes me. And how easy it is to fall back into the dreadful curse of all of it. Why did I fall in love with Guatemala? Because when you had something, you appreciated it. You didn’t have good enough cell phone service to be able to facebook stalk people to the point where you depressed yourself. Nor was there any temptation to be on your phone all day, nor pull out the phone when you went out with friends. Grocery shopping wasn’t so difficult because there weren’t too many options. Your shower was just to get clean and if you missed a few, at least you didn’t smell as bad as the passed out drunk on the street. You didn’t really even own a mirror so if you didn’t wear make-up one day, you didn’t remember how gross you looked because you still got whistled at by all the sleazy misogynistic men on the street (hey, at least sometimes they were cute!).
But just like clockwork, all those bad habits came rushing right back as soon as I set foot on American soil.
So I guess what my point is… Is being home is confusing as hell. I’m depressed, but I no longer know that going back to Guatemala would be the solution (perhaps because I’m so depressed that I think nothing would make me happy at this point). I am blessed beyond belief here, but I feel like 90% of some of these things we call blessings are equally curses. I want to throw up at how much we waste in our country and how I could probably turn around the entire country of Guatemala with the money from just one or two wasteful millionaires in the States. I’m sitting here complaining about the money I have because if I had a million bucks, I could do wonders with it, even though I should be thanking God that I have way more money than a lot of people in the world. Part of me wants to leave money all together (I should get back into supporting my friend Xaviers efforts in trying to take all the money out of the world), but part of me doesn’t know how I’d survive.
I don’t want to be here, but going back to Guatemala scares me just as much as it did when I went there in the beginning. Being in the States makes me insecure again. Was I really happy there or was I just happy at the end of my trip because I got to spend so much time with that boy? Would I have really loved working with those recycles and that team if I had had to do everything alone? Do I really have legitimate friends there like my friends here? The one thing I’ve always loved about my home here is my friends. I’ve been blessed with the most amazing, encouraging, beautiful friends that ever were. It seems that my latin boy has already forgotten me and moved on to other girls (to kill the pain of solitude… but when was that ever a solution? I feel so disrespected. But that’s just how it is there. No self-respect and an undying need to always have someone by your side. Another thing that makes me sad for that country. You’ve got to love yourself first or no one’s ever going to make you truly happy!).
The truth that I’ve come to find is… Both countries have their problems. Both countries have their blessings. Every single person on the planet struggles through something so why can’t we all just appreciate what we have, love other people, and help those who need help and stop wasting our money and time on petty things? My strength has depleted in this transition, but I pray to God to restore it so that I can continue to love people who don’t know love and be positive in a world that doesn’t believe in itself and know where I’m supposed to be and go in this mess of spiraling confusion.
And the one thing we need to be thankful for the most is the unfailing love of our God and Savior. I’ve been put in situations where I’ve felt that I need to continue to love a person no matter how many times they’ve turned their back on me and said mean things because they want to push me away because they don’t feel worthy of my love and you know what the only thing that hurts is? What hurts is that I just want to love them and their hate for themselves is so strong that they won’t let me. I feel like I’ve had a huge taste about how God feels about us and I sure gotta give Him some respect for continuing to love and love and love and open His arms every time we come running back no matter how many times we run away FOR EVERY SINGLE PERSON IN THE WORLD because it’s hard as *INSERT APPROPRIATE CUSS WORD* to do that just for one person! After a few times of hateful words and running away, it depletes my strength and hurts me to the point where I don’t know if I’m doing the right thing or not. But I do know that every time they come running back for love, it fills me with joy. But I certainly couldn’t bear the cross for everybody. Props to the Guy upstairs and sorry for hating my life when it really isn’t bad at all.
Things to learn from this experience (that I still gotta work on too):
Count your blessings. Someone’s life is worse than yours.
Stop being selfish. If someone wants to love you, let them love you and be grateful for their love. Don’t let your stupid selfish insecurities push away a perfectly good person. Enjoy them!
Stop wasting your time and money on stuff that doesn’t matter.
Stop judging. For God sakes, stop judging.
Don’t ever hate another person.
Stop worry about things that are out of your control.
As the song goes… Don’t you worry about a thing, every little thing’s gonna be alright.