It is past two o'clock in the morning and I can't sleep--my foot is hurting too much. I hope hurting=healing, but all I can think right now is that I also wish there was an off switch. Painkillers only do so much.
In other news:
- I have officially been in New Zealand for ten weeks. Usually I have a two month "hate" period of adjustment to a new place when it is really, really hard, followed by three weeks of semi-consignment before I learn to love where I moved to. Not so here! Although I have experienced a few depressing days of struggle and homesickness, I have loved and been at peace about being here since day one. It has been the easiest transition to a new place I've ever had.
- I woke up a couple of Tuesday's ago and suddenly driving on the left side of the road was normal. Now I'm trying to remember how we drive in the states and it seems strange.
- I have successfully integrated use of the words "yous" and "keen" (as in, "are yous keen to see a movie tonight?") two very important entries in the Kiwi Urban Dictionary, into my everyday vocabulary.
- Tunics and leggings no longer look strange to me.
- I have ceased wearing three layers everywhere I go. This is due in part to the fact that it is getting a bit warmer! But I am also adjusting.
- I'm turning white again. :( It is strange how this affects me psychologically. Sad day.
- I have been called a hippie twice in the past four months. I think because I travel and like healthy food. Go figure.
- I have watched Mr. Krueger's Christmas three times in the past three days. No, it is not Christmas. But this movie speaks to my soul, remember? I love everything about it. And JS and I are still bosom buddies.
- The two most important spices to have on hand are salt and red pepper flakes.
- The top two things I miss about being in a Tongan ward are #1: the hymns and #2: passing around babies. I miss all of my kids.
Endnote: For those of you who may possibly be contemplating moving to a new place or country, or for those of you who have new people around you, I have something else to encourage you to keep in mind which may help you if you are new somewhere, or trying to welcome someone who is. It is this--
It is not easy to move, and it can be exponentially harder with every mile further from the life you know best. This does not mean it's not worth it! But it is hard. It's hard to move to a new country. It's hard to adjust to a new language (this time for me it's English, but it is a different kind of English) and a new culture. It's hard to live with people who aren't your family, and it's hard to feel lost everywhere you go.
It's REALLY HARD to start from scratch, making friends. It's EVEN HARDER when you're a single 25 year old girl in the church--everyone assumes you've served a mission. Then when they find out you haven't they ask if you've thought about it (as if you are secretly unrighteous and unfaithful and don't want to serve the Lord), and suggest that you give it a go. And then when you still don't go, especially when you're 25 and a girl and single, everyone assumes that you're desperate for a husband, so A) none of the boys make eye contact or talk to you because they're scared you're going to drag them to the Temple right there or B) people think there's something wrong with you since you're not married yet. AND since you're in a new country and know no one, no one knows that there is nothing wrong with you, in fact you're pretty awesome, it's just REALLY REALLY REALLY SUPER HARD to have to prove that to the thousand people you first meet all at once.
You may not know these things happen, but they do, and are the kind of experiences that can make you feel alone, frustrated, annoyed, impatient, small, and lonely, and reduce you to tears every time you come home to your still-unfamiliar, cold, and not-quite-home apartment. Sometimes it's really hard.
BUT I testify that the Lord has angels, and He sends them to help in situations like these. Every time I've been on the verge of tears here, someone has reached out to me. I can't express how much it means, just to be surrounded by generally friendly people who are not afraid to smile at a new girl, or ask her name. Angels in my life have come in the form of people who invite me into their homes, accept me in their families, and truly want to understand and know me. If there is someone new around you, reach out to them! Chances are that they are a wonderful person you will come to love, and you may never know how much your friendship means to them.
If you are new somewhere, remember that in the beginning it's always baby-steps. Deeper friendships come in time. Look forward to scheduled activities--go to church on Sundays, basketball on Tuesdays. Institute/volunteering on Wednesdays, and try to find something to do to stay busy all weekend until Sunday comes around again. That's life. Some days are easier than others. Some days are still hard. I've experienced lots of both. But for those moving somewhere new I say this: stick it out. If God says you are where He wants you to be, no one can say you don't belong. I know this is where I'm supposed to be and I wouldn't throw in the towel. Not over not having friends. Not over being cold. Not over feeling lonely or shy or frustrated or old or poor or stupid. I will not quit, as long as I know I'm supposed to be here. My ancestors are pioneers, and their blood is in me. Their strength is in me. With the help of the Lord, I can succeed here. And with His help, I know that you can succeed where ever you are or go too. Life is an adventure! And the adventure is a great reason to rejoice!