Home. This place. In the small hillbilly town of Rathdrum, Idaho. I am here to stay for a while. A new concept I'm still trying to wrap my mind around and get use to again. It all feels like a weird dream, that I can't seem to find my way out of. I don't know when it'll hit me that it's actually real. I'm here. This is my life now. Again.
I am home alone today. It's just me and the dog. It feels so nice. I haven't been completely alone in SO long. In Costa Rica I was hardly alone. We did everything together - took walks, went to coffee or the post-office, baked, went to teachers houses', taught at the high school, slept, and ate, I mean EVERYTHING together. The only time I felt alone was when I woke up at 5 in the morning to go run and write... which became more and more sparse as time went on and my motivation deteriorated. It's a breath of fresh air being here now, in this comfortable setting alone. I never realized silence could be so loud. There's this enormous buzz going straight through my ears, and I have to adjust my sitting position, or click my tongue every once in a while to hear something supposedly "quiet" to believe that the noise I'm hearing is actually silence, and not a loud tractor outside the window.
This is the 5th day of being home, and I haven't blogged sooner, because I'm unsure of what to say. Some people say that culture shock coming back into their home country is worse than when they left. And it's hard to tell just yet, I haven't been out much. Church on Saturday and Spokane Valley Mall yesterday (it was energy sucking I can assure you). Honestly, I feel like I'm living in LUXURY here. It is SO fantastic (I feel so rich and so comfortable) but at the same time, it can be a bit overwhelming. I mean, our kitchen in this house is twice the size of the room I shared with 2 other girls for the past 8 months (including all of our STUFF). My bathroom here, is as big as our old kitchen. My entire house is bigger than the entire school. We have granite, and hard-wood and CARPET! and a DISHWASHER! and a VACUUM! (I forgot what those things were), and HOT WATER in the faucets and in our shower. We have our own cars and we can come and go as we please. We have a big screen TV, and couches and chairs. I can walk with bare feet in my house without getting grossed out by all the dirt, hair, and bugs on the cement floor, and sleep with one leg out of the covers without putting mosquito repellent on and still getting bit up the wazoo. We have a washer and dryer, and laundry is done in a jiffy with little to no effort. We have a piano (there was not a single piano in the entire town of Monteverde), and a pantry the size of my old bathroom (not to mention stocked with good food from the floor to the ceiling). We have TWO refrigerators, and 3 freezers. My bed is huge and soft with red royal sheets, and an electric heater to keep me warm at night. There are no cracks in the windows were the wind can blow in and freeze our noses off in the middle of the night. There are no creepy men outside my windows peering through the cracks in the curtains watching us sit on our beds and lesson plan or Pinterest, just waiting to see if they'll get lucky and we'll change into our pajamas. I don't have to worry about waking up with a tarantula on my shoulder again or finding dead cockroaches under my pillow that I must've tackled in the middle of the night. I can wear clothes that I actually LIKE here, but unfortunately I've forgotten what that means to like a piece of clothing. I can understand anything and everything that I wish to, and my brain doesn't hurt from translating and trying so hard. It is cold here but I have everything I need to make myself comfortable. Slippers, sweats, sweaters, fuzzy blankets, and at the moment, I'm drinking pumpkin spice gourmet hot chocolate (who knew that existed? But it's SO good!). Did I even mention food? I haven't touched a single piece of beans or rice since I've been home (5 days, now that's a record, phew thank the Lord!). I can choose whatever the heck I want to eat, whenever the heck I want to eat it, and it tastes SO INCREDIBLY GOOD! I am almost certain I could clean out our pantry and fridge in a day if I was given the chance. I am home with my family and I can finally get that time alone that I've craved for so long. It sounds exactly like the dream I've been dreaming for the past 8 months, and this time it's actually for real and that's so confusing to me. Then there was church, and that was even MORE overwhelming.
We have all this STUFF. And almost EVERY house in America has all this STUFF. And everyone thinks it's the most normal thing in the world. There's hardly any thought about waking up in the morning without bug bites and taking a hot shower, and putting on an outfit that altogether equals a total of $70 or more (for a single freaking outfit) and buzzing over to Starbucks to pick up coffee and a bagel on your way to work. And it's COMPLETELY normal here. Not a single thought about this luxury ever occurs, to any of us here. It just becomes normal in our day-to-day lives. I know. I've been this way my entire life up until the last 5 days, and I'm sure everything that I consider a luxury now will eventually go back to being considered "normal". But right now, it grieves me to know that people are not thankful for the abundance that is theirs. We've heard it all our lives, that people always yearn for more and more things to fill up their lives with. Maybe then I will be happy, they think. It is so sad. So wrong.
I want travel to occur more often in the rest of my life. I've found that when I travel for an extended period of time, I am reminded of the luxuries I have at "home" wherever home may be at the time. I am made more fully aware of my surroundings. I am more contemplative. More thoughtful. More grateful. More at peace. More happy. More myself.
I have learned a lot from this year abroad. I wouldn't change a thing. I am so blessed to have had this opportunity to learn and grow and experience 1st hand so many new concepts and cultural differences. And at the end of it all, I am eternally grateful for the abundance that is mine.