March 24, 2011

Lifting Spirits

We noticed that we've been getting kind of down on this blog. So, we decided to focus on the positive side of coming back to the US. We originally made the decision to leave Chile for two reasons - 1) For Joshua to be closer to his extended family and 2) for Anna to be able to study. We've decided that Anna will apply to FSU's Art Therapy master's program next year. And, here are some of Joshua's USA highlights over the last two months:

David's family threw Joshua an Elmo birthday party, even though his birthday was in June. He didn't seem to notice that it was out of season.

We all met Joshua's cousin Caden for the first time. Here, the two cousins are enjoying Granddad time.

Sometimes, Joshua even gets to enjoy time with the grandparents all by himself. He really likes reading books with Grandma D.

Our little family took a trip to LA for "re-entry" with the Columbans. Re-entry is a couple of days, guided by an experienced missionary, where the returning missionaries are able to reflect on their experiences, on how the home country has changed and on future decisions. We really needed the time to look back on our experience and put it into perspective, as we shift focus in our lives. Plus, we got to see Hollywood!

David introduces Joshua to one of his comedic idols - Adam Sandler.

Joshua checks out the star of Don Fransisco - arguably the most famous Chilean in the world. For non-latinos, he hosts the tremendously popular "Sabados Gigante" program, airing out of Miami.

Here is proof that Joshua witnessed one of the last shuttle launches ever. Afterwards, he told us that he wanted to go, "up, up, up, to the luna" too.

March 18, 2011

So, we guess this is it...

... the end. It was St. Patrick's Day today - a pretty important date in the Columban world. As we donned our green this morning, we thought of our Columban friends in Chile. They would be preparing for the big dinner at the Center House in Santiago. We also thought of our friends back at our old parishes. Many of them would also be celebrating. While not Irish, they have appropriated the festivities in order to accompany the many Irish missionaries who have shared with them over the years. Today, more than any of the days since we've been back, has been a sad day.

As time goes on, we realize more and more that our time in Chile is over. This is not a vacation. It's now home. But, it doesn't feel like home yet. Reverse culture shock is still going strong. We find everything strange and feel as if we don't quite fit in.

We know that it will pass and that we will soon get used to life in the northern hemisphere. But, in the meantime, as we look at photos of our loved ones back in Chile, and Joshua asks to go "in the plane, back home, to Iquique," it makes us sad. We tell him that we'll go there another day, and it keeps him happy for the time being.