Near, But Not Close

This past week, Lincoln teachers were supposed to notify the school if they were returning for the next year or not. All of the first year teachers are exempt from this decision because we signed a two year contract. Everyone else is on a yearly basis. I feel like I just got here and now I am already going to have to prepare myself to say some goodbyes (though I fortunately will not have to say them until July). On the other hand, I also felt a little envious of the teachers who did decide to return to the States because they will be able to be home sooner than I will.

I really like Guadalajara and I am gradually getting to the place where I enjoy teaching and going to work, but some days I wish life was a just a little bit more “normal” and things operated like they do in the American South. This will be the first time I am missing Thanksgiving with my family and Christmas will feel different because I will be getting in so late I’ll miss most of the parties and such. I probably feel it more because I am not very close to many people here yet. Some relationships are becoming close and important, but that is such a gradual process, most of my really meaningful relationships are still with people back in the states. Part of me just wants to get through this two year commitment with as little attachment here as possible so I can easily make the decision to go back at the end of two years and enjoy the comfort of the familiar and not have to worry about trying to maintain important relationships with my family and friends through e-mail and occasional Skype calls. Mentally, I am taking note not to date someone here because that will automatically sign me up for living here permanently. Obviously, that is not actually the case, but that is how it appears a lot of the time. And of course meaningful and important relationships can also be close friendships, bonds with people at church, with housemates, etc. I know it is not the right response to intentionally hold off relationships, but sometimes it seems like it is just not worth the effort to invest. Especially when my ideal level of closeness in a relationship is really high and it takes a long time (maybe the whole two years of my commitment here) to reach that level.

I am thankful to be going on a retreat with some of the ladies from my church this weekend. We are going to Lake Chapala. I am so excited! This is the first time I have spent the night away from my house or gone any significant distance from Guadalajara. I am so ready for a break from work, computer, and the usual routine. I also really do want to invest in my relationships with the ladies at church. I am so thankful for their Christ-like attitude in welcoming me and helping me to really feel like a part of the church, even when I cause complications because I do not understand things (like last week when I thought I was meeting them at 11:30 and they called me at 11:00 asking where I was).  I’m also thankful for friendship with the Lord and how He has been teaching me recently through personal study and prayer and through other people. What a friend we have in Jesus! Can we find a friend so faithful, who will all our sorrows share? Jesus knows our every weakness; take it to the Lord in prayer.

The Photo is my own, of Los Guachimontes.  It reminded me a lot of home.