Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Like button. Dislike button.

I know my blog has been quiet for a while. I have been quiet for a while....well, that might be impossible, but whatever. This blog is dedicated to transition. What I love about it, what I hate about it, and how I'm coping. This blog is really more for me to process change.

What I love about being home:
A. Adore seeing my friends and family
B. Band of believers and Worshiping Jesus with an amazing band at church
C. Crisp fall leaves
D. Driving my car
E. Elegantly wearing high heels and not towering over the crowd (yaaaay, tall Dutch people!!)
F. Full sized bed to sleep in (twin-sized bunk bed + daddy long legs=toes dangle over the edge, hence why I never make my bed. I hate pushing out tucked-in-sheets.)
G. Gratefully being able to stay in my parent's house (I am eternally grateful, mom and dad!!!)
H. Having a supportive community in Grand Rapids. I love sharing meals, stories, and our lives!!
I. Ivory and ebony keys of my piano to play at will.

What has been hard about being at home:
1. Going from 24/7 people and noise and the egg man at 7am and children running around the streets and the doorbell going off and dogs barking constantly and city traffic to ..........silence. And deer. They don't make much noise. Even when you chase them around your yard. 
 2. The price of fresh produce versus processed crap and the eating styles of the North American. Blech.
3. American TV. Ugh. Was it always this bad and I was just immune to it? Right now it just reminds me that there is waaaaay too much money spent on clothes, houses, food, and stuff to distract us from what is really important in life.
4. Having to drive E'RY WHERE!!!!! It's at least 15 minutes to civilization and gas is outrageous and the Rapid (bus system) doesn't even come close to Rockford.
5. Feeling like I'm just waiting for the next event to happen. People work during the day. I am looking for a job. I don't know WHAT people without hobbies do all day when they're unemployed...
6. Seeing pictures of Costa Rica. I miss my tribe. Facebook: I like button to dislike button you.
7. Applying for jobs. Lots and lots of jobs. And hearing...silence. Nothing yet.

What I miss about The Rica:
1A. The noise and the people that made up that noise. There was an energy in it. Living with people. Seeing people first thing in the morning and welcoming each day like it is Christmas morning and my birthday all rolled into one. Visiting people by walking right out the door. Visiting people in their homes at whatever time of day. Just walking in, sitting down, and listening to others stories. Rodney, Cindy, David, Les, Di, the girls, mis gallinas, the dudes, the KIDS, Chuck, Moi, Davicito, Hannia, Eli, Ana Laura....the list goes on and on!!!!
2B. (or not 2B. haha, pun intended) Greeting people with a kiss. It's universal. You don't have to question when meeting someone if you will give them a formal handshake or a slightly more personal hug. Everyone just gives the perfunctory cheek-to-cheek-air-kiss. And the kids are stinking cute when they greet you and say goodbye with their How-He-Love-sloppy-wet-kisses.
3C. The FOOOOD!!!!! No, I never missed "American" food. I loved the fresh fruit, veggies, rice and beans of Central America. I even loved Cindy's mood-based cooking which frequently involved tofu, buckwheat noodles, and barley.
4D. The sense of being involved in something that had weight to it. Really impacting lives and making a difference. Discipling, Bible studies, morning family prayer, worship nights, healing prayer in the streets, seeing people encounter the Kingdom of God.
5E. Walking places. We just don't do that much in the states except in big cities. I do love going to downtown Grand Rapids, though. You can actually walk everywhere there. 
6F. The weather! I got totally used to being warm all the time!!
7G. Rodney's questions. I grew so much from those questions...about God, about theology, about what I was doing, about stuff. Good stuff.

What I don't miss about The Rica:
A1. (the best steak sauce ever) Being constantly asked for houses and money. I understand the need and it breaks my heart. I always felt horrible knowing most of the time there was a legit, desperate need and I didn't have the resources to be able to help. This is where I always prayed to marry a benevolent millionaire so we can spend our lives building houses for the poor.
B2.Infants and children given coffee with lots and lots of sugar. And soda. And HORRIBLE childhood diets and nutrition. That's part of living in poverty with a lack of education. And even with education, they still don't believe you.
C3PO. People being ridiculously late, not showing up when they say they will, or lying about stupid stuff.
R2D2.Chickens flying into church at any given moment and roosters crowing during messages. Okay. I actually do miss that. Crazy interruptions.
E5. The over-sexuality of young children and teens with the subsequent teen pregnancies. Sexual abuse was rampant. And ugly. I know it happens here, too, but it is blatant and in-your-face in the Rica. Pray for our children and the protection of their childhood world-wide!!!!!!!!!!!

There it is. In a nut shell. I have been reading a lot about re-entry for missionaries. There are some great resources and books out there (Thanks, Cindy Schmidt!!!) I think one day I will write a book as well. Transition is hard for anyone, at any stage in life. Whether a person is moving to another house, state, or country. Whether they were fired from a job or were transferred. For the missionary, there is the added layer of shifting gears from one culture to another, from a strange language back to their own. From a world where they had to struggle to fit in, to back to a home where they realize they have grown too much while being gone to fit back in how they used to. Yup. Book in the making.


  1. That would be a GREAT book. Write it now. And...I'd like to know more about how you decided to return home. Your heart sounds like it belongs in CR.

  2. Yes, Ann....... Not only Julie's heart belongs here, but her body does, too! I'm seeing many more positives in Rica than in Grand Rapids....

  3. Yeah Jules- let's get a move on with the benevolent millionaire and get yourself back down to CR again. I can't decide if you need to be back in GR or back in CR - hmmmmm, I must ask myself this question...... I think you have lived true community and true God's kingdom on earth and now you have to go back to the icky food too busy mile-a-minute shallow buy-buy-buy american life and it will be hard for you to fit in - and it should be. HOPEFULLY, you will BE the change you hope to see in the world. Thanks to JULIE, people will think more of others than they do of themselves. YOU can cheer people on to visit CR and provide for their needs. You can be their Champion in the USA. Have I convinced myself?? I am not sure. I only know you were/are a PERFECT fit for Los Anonos - they neeeeeeeded you and you neeeeeeded them. They have learned much, as have you. Transition IS hard- I am sure those kids are still squealing JULIEEEEEE all over the town -and I guarantee that blasted egg man still comes at the crack of dawn! Looking forward to seeing you this weekend - soooooe excited!

  4. You guys!!!! I know, right?!??! I left my heart in San Jose (not San Fransisco!!!)!!!!