Our traveled legs were ready to rest. Our souls were filled with enough adventure to tide us over for a while. Our thoughts started drifting toward home. We began checking flight prices. One day it became clear that our next destination was going to be the USA. Better yet, we were able to secure flights to arrive the morning of my grandma’s 92nd birthday. We decided to surprise her and it worked. She walked into my parents living room to see us sitting on the couch. She wrinkled up her whole face in pure confusion and said, “Well, WHAT in the world are you two doing here?” An outsider may have thought she was disgusted at us, but we knew she was pleased. Very pleased.
We’ve been in Iowa for a few weeks now and it’s been great to be back. Especially when that same healthy and independent grandma suddenly passed away this past Saturday. It is such a complete shock. I go up to her empty house and cannot believe that she’s not there in her chair, happy to see me. At the same time, I recognize that to pass away in a cozy bed as a happy 92-year-old is probably exactly the way my grandma would have wanted to go. No nonsense and living well until the very end. I’m also beyond grateful that we felt a nudge back to Iowa before we had originally planned. Those small miracles are like friendly, I’ve-got-your-back winks from God. So we won’t complain and we will carry on, just as my grandma has demonstrated in so many different ways throughout her life.
People often ask if we were struck with culture shock or are having trouble adjusting and I always answer, a bit surprised myself, that we’re doing quite well. We seem to have slipped back into the culture we call our own without a fuss. We’re enjoying the variety of foods we had missed and are soaking up time with my family. Soon we will travel again – this time just within the States to visit Isaiah’s family and some of our friends.
We don’t have a set plan for our future. We’ve barely started looking for jobs. We haven’t picked a city or state in which to live next. Some moments I’m so excited to make some decisions, get our own casa and unpack those glorious boxes from storage and carefully choose a place for everything (yes, that is my idea of a very, very good time). Other times I’m content to be just where we are. I’m not yet to Isaiah-level ability to live in the moment, but I feel greatly improved since before this whole Peace Corps experience.
It’s been a good ride and the adventure shouldn’t stop here. However, this blog will. I so enjoyed using this blog to process my thoughts in Paraguay and it was a great way to keep in touch with you all back home. My grandma kept saying, “What would we ever have done without those blogs? We wouldn’t have been able to imagine your life at all.” I hope it gave you a taste of the Paraguayan culture and the friends we made there. Thank you for following us, supporting us and cheering us on in all that we did.
It’s not goodbye, it’s just see you later. Or shall we say, jajatopata!