…AND i’m BACK!
this blog update is somewhat a big one, considering i have been putting it off for about four months now. as much as i have wanted to write and share some of my experiences in the past few months, i have also found it to be quite exhausting and emotionally draining when i even think about getting started. sound dramatic? well, it’s life. 🙂
“what are you doing now crystal?” “where are you in the world?” “is it weird being back in the US again?”
so this is my attempt, my first step, if you will, to “get back into the game” and continue sharing some of my musings, epiphanies, realizations on this journey of life that i have been gifted with.
i recently got back from a “re-entry workshop” put on by From Mission to Mission, which is an organization that puts on workshops for returned volunteers and missioners who are now experiencing transition and re-entry back into the United States, their [our] homeland after serving overseas (workshops are also available for domestic volunteers!). in my case, i spent my workshop with ten other volunteers/missioners who served in zambia, bolivia, paraguay, india, guyana, just to name a few, and of course, i threw some asia flavor in there, having served in the philippines. more about that later, but basically, after a very powerful 3-day workshop out in chicago, i am learning, and have learned, my story must live on [no matter and wherever i go], and this blog may just be the very vessel in which it can be best expressed.
so here we go…!!!
on a deeper level…a lot can happen in two years. dang, a lot can happen in a month – in a week. life doesn’t stop, and people change. relationships change. i come back to the US, and i am not the same crystal. my friends are not carbon copies of who they were when i last left them. it takes time to get used to relationships again. i come back to the US and some of my friends are married, my facebook is flooded with pictures of marriages and couples with their 2nd and 3rd child. what? so beautiful! …but something to get used to. filling out applications, asking for my “home address,” that question resounds in my head. “home..” “home..” where is home? after living abroad for two years and experiencing an incredibly different life over on an island in the pacific, everything seems to have shaken up the cells inside of me.
after leaving the philippines in july, i was home for a week, went to fatima, portugal for a week, went home again for a week, then left for two months to swaziland. i then came back for a day, packed all my clothes, and made a move out east that next morning. operating on auto-pilot, i basically re-packed all of my clothes from the philippines (since those were the clothes i was used to), stuffed ’em in two suitcases, with room to spare, and trekked over to the east coast.
the problem? the weather on the east coast is NOT the tropical weather i have grown accustomed to in the philippines. what i realized is that what i thought was “normal” daily clothing in the philippines, which was basically a clean t-shirt and jeans, does not necessarily suffice as typically appropriate attire for mass or an office job in the US. dang. that was a moment when i realized my mind was not fully here yet.
as i could still hear julie from “From Mission to Mission share from past experience, “my spirit has not caught up with me yet.”
this place of “liminality” if you will, is quite uncomfortable. it’s like trying to fit into some new skin, in a new society and goin’ with it, while also trying to be intentionally aware of these changes that i am experiencing in and all around me. it’s getting used to change on the surface level, but definitely experiencing transition on the internal level. all at the same time. my opinions have changed, my frame of reference has changed, my way of seeing the world and understanding the global community has changed. and i would like to think, for the better.
sure, i’ve served abroad every summer for 5 years in the philippines, but after living there…it’s a whole ‘nother conversation.
the grace? my life on mission in the philippines gave me a renewed heart which has permeated every part of me and i have a whole community on the other side of the world that i am now in solidarity with.