Chapter 54 – Re-Entry

Ahhh! I’m so close!

And so tired. Been writing for 7 hours today. Is writing a book over yet? To make it worse I’m writing this blog. Ha. Type type type type type.

I’m loosing it. I am so close to reaching my goal I can almost taste it. Taste like a glass of whiskey and a nap.

Anyways, I wanted to share another random chapter in this manuscript. Tomorrow I will meet my goal and then begin the editing process. I imagine completing the first draft of a manuscript is step one of many in the process toward getting published.

But hey, the goal I’ll meet tomorrow is a many year dream imagined – coming to fruition. And I feel proud of myself. And thankful for you.

Thanks for following along folks.

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Chapter 54 – Re-Entry (Rough Draft)

I’m glad to be done with my time in Guatemala.

We said our goodbyes to Roman. Gave our feedback to Joe in a way we’d hoped he might receive. And headed toward Antigua for our final team debrief. I’m a bag of emotions, burnt out and coming into home base on fumes. Three more flights and I’ll back in Denver.

Some heady guy named Socrates once said, “an unexamined life is not worth living.” So I’m taking time to examine. It’s good to reflect.

The 52 of us on “O Squad” all came into this adventure with expectations. Some laid out by AIM, some realistic, and some unrealistic ones made up in our minds. My initial expectations are reflected in my first journal entry back at training camp.

“Traveling the world for 11 months will be amazing. Traveling the world for 11 months with my Lord and maker will be even more amazing.

I expect at times to be lonely, scared, tired (physically and emotionally), upset, frustrated, annoyed by teammates (have them feel the same about me). I expect to feel pain and through that pain be broken. I expect to build lasting friendships, to see wonderful things, and to be impacted by others and let others impact me.

I expect God to show me the world and in the process shake up mine.”

Those things happened. And no doubt there will be more processing to come. I left Fort Collins with questions and expectations in hand. Questions like: do you speak to me Lord; and what do you see in me; what are my gifts I can give away? Expectations like: seeing miracles and healing; and being broken for the marginalized and oppressed. Those things also happened.

Soon I’ll be home and then what?

Re-entry is the nice missions word for, “I’m home. Now what the heck do I do with my life?”

My first meal back in the States was a Taco Bell Express in the Dallas airport with Andrea. I had no idea they had a new sauce. Andrea was beaming. My first meal in Colorado was a Chipolte burrito. I was beaming. It took me three different sit-downs to finish. Apparently my stomach shrunk.

I spent the first two weeks in the states mooching off my wonderful sister Megan in Florida. We crossed our fingers hoping weight gain would come overnight as she made me shakes loaded with calories to reverse my Race diet. More was accomplished on her Apple desktop computer in thirty minutes than in three weeks trying to find good internet on the race.

Megan introduced me to a website for downloading music called Pandora. I downloaded. Made playlists. And downloaded some more.

I looked at cameras. I looked at ipods. I looked at computers.

And then I looked in my bank account. Nevermind.

Among other things she bought me: underwear, socks, and crest white strips.

I take hot showers with water pressure. I watch ESPN. Turns out I really didn’t miss anything. I smoke my pipe tobacco and drink beers that don’t taste like crappy light lagers from Asia, as I catch up with close friends and family back home.

When I take a poo, I forget I don’t need to throw my toilet paper in the trash can. I ask other friends from my squad if they are having the same problems. My friends are all experiencing the oddity of re-entry.

“Talking at a normal rate of speed, with a normal vocabulary after being used to speaking to non native English speakers for so long. Or not using my ‘I’m being translated voice,’ in small churches around the world. It’s also become reflex for me to get really excited when I see a restaurant or coffee shop advertising free wifi – even though that’s basically every coffee shop or restaurant in America – and I have wifi at my house. It also felt remarkably strange to change into a totally new outfit after only one day of wearing it.” – Alex

“I remember how great it felt to wash your hands with warm water at the airport.” – Multiple Team Members

“Forgetting which way traffic should be going when driving or crossing the street. Being discussed at eating contests. Forgetting to wash dishes in hot water. Realizing all my clothes from race smelled. Not knowing any pop culture references.” – Elle

“I’m pretty pop-culture ignorant so I don’t know if I can completely blame this on the race, but I’m pretty sure lady Gaga happened while we were gone. She was eeeeeverywhere when we got back and I had no idea who she was, or that she sang several of the songs we frequently heard blasted from loudspeakers around the world.” – Jess

“I remember when I came home the first time my parents asked what I wanted to do and I said, ‘just don’t ask me to make any decisions for at least 48 hours.’” – Jacob

“Almost had a meltdown at Walmart within 24 hours of re entry. Just had to walk out.” – Carrie

“Being fascinated by the fact the water coming out of a faucet was drinkable. (Sometimes this is still a thing). No one reminding you “don’t drink the water.” – Aly

“I was struck by how many mirrors are in the states. I had gotten used to not seeing myself in the mirror more than once a day (if that) while overseas. The US has mirrors everywhere. Getting used to having a dryer again and clothing that is t stretched out by hand washing. Having to pay strict attention to a clock/schedule.” – Syd

“My mom and I called in an order at a local family owned restaurant, when I picked the food up I was shocked at the price. I questioned them to confirm nothing was added. Then told momma (Anna’s from the South) we wouldn’t eat there again cause it was too expensive!” – Anna

“I’ve lived alone my entire adult life and loved it. After coming home I couldn’t sleep in my house alone for a while.” –Tracy

“I still did the ‘army shower thing’ turned off the water while showering so to only have the water running for short stints. Ha!” – Carin

Some days back home are highlights.

Some days we have no idea what to do with ourselves.

Some days I break down from missing things like never having my own room, or meeting for morning prayer even when we didn’t always want to. I miss trying to make Andrea fight me. I miss teasing Ashley about pretty much anything until she punches me in the arm and then scratches my back. I miss watching Tracy do that funny dance thing she does with her hips and head. I miss seeing Jonathan with that giant beard of his. I miss talking music with Jess.

I’m glad to be back. But I’m not really sure what back is – if that makes sense.

I have loads of friends and family here. I feel immensely blessed and loved. But I’m anxious for the next transition. Even at home I feel in transition. How do you go back to normal life after that?

2 thoughts on “Chapter 54 – Re-Entry

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