Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Gracia (Grace)

Grace, routine, language, home….these are all things I have come to understand differently since moving to Colombia. I have been reading (almost finished) with the book “How Coffee Saved My Life”, by Ellie Roscher. It was gifted to me after returning to the states from my year in Zambia, I read it then and liked it. I started rereading it a few weeks ago. It’s about an ELCA Missionary in South America. She writes about language, routine, home, white noise, and grace….wow, there are parts of this book that could have been straight from my journal. I highly recommend it! Ellie writes so well about both the good and struggles of living overseas and living as a missionary…and stumbling upon grace.

Every week life seems to fall more into a routine, which I am so thankful for. We are totally moved into our apartment, unpacked, and settled. Last week, Curtis came from work with flowers for me. There are a ton of different kinds of flowers grown here, and we live very close to the flower district. These flowers came as a gift of encouragement for me on a day that was particularly difficult as I was struggling with my Spanish. This was one of those moments of grace, that I understand very differently now.  

Spanish has been a struggle for me, and everyone around me has been extending lots of grace every time I open my mouth. People gently correct my grammar or provide a word that I don’t know. And when I told everyone in the office I was going to be starting at a new school (and therefore wouldn’t be around as much), they could tell that was difficult for me and have been so encouraging to me and complimenting my Spanish (even when/especially when I don’t feel worthy of a compliment).

Yes, I did find Mtn Dew here! 
Yesterday, I began a Spanish immersion school. I needed something a little more intense to be able to speak Spanish at the necessary level, and this school is intense. I have class for four hours in the morning, with at least as many hours of homework. There are 8 students in my class and we are all from a different country: Hong Kong, Brazil, Germany, England, Australia, Sweden, India and the US (and all about the same level of Spanish). We are all in Colombia for different reasons, some to stay and work, others for fun, and others to just learn Spanish. The class is taught almost exclusively in Spanish. I can tell that this with class, and a little extra caffeine, and I will be at the level of Spanish I need to be to really start working.

“When we become aware that our stuttering, failing, vulnerable selves are loved even when we hardly progress, we can let go of our compulsion to prove ourselves and be free to live with others in a fellowship of the weak. That is true healing.” – Henri J. M. Nouwen