April 4 is the date on the last post I wrote. Wow. Only 3 months have passed, but feels like a lifetime.
I'm back in Canada now, as anybody who knows me will know by now! And although I've been back for 2 months I'm feeling the need to do what should be (but might not be) a final installment on this blog, which was intended to be all about my life and ministry and adventures in the 3 years I spent in Ecuador. By rights this should have been written long before this, but.... well.... it wasn't. That last month there passed by in a blur of activity and heat and "lasts" (last time to do this or that, last time to go here or there) and goodbyes. And recovering from a crazy final couple of weeks of camp. My daughter Kathryn came down mid April to help me with the packing up of my life in Guayaquil and give me moral support as I said all those difficult goodbyes. And make sure I actually got on that plane! There were goodbye lunches, and get-togethers. I seemed to do much of my grieving over leaving in February for some reason, and by the time I got to the last weeks I had arrived at a very helpful anesthetized state, and tears were mostly left in storage until I got to the airport. The pace picked up dramatically in the last week before departure day, as I did the sorting and distributing of household stuff which was staying, and packing of stuff that was going. And just when it was all good and busy, first Janna, then Nikki came down with dengue fever. Really, I think it was a ploy to get me to stay - get sick and the nurse will change her mind about leaving. Just a theory. No, I'm kidding, of course, it was a fiendish little mosquito.
But somehow it all got done and on April 28 I boarded that plane and through tears said "goodbye for now" to the dirty hot crazy beloved city that was my home for 3 years.
And so back to Canada, to begin my "re-entry" to the North American way of life. Oh, but it was not to be. Within 24 hours of arriving I too got sick with dengue, and for the next 2 weeks was sicker than I've ever been in my life. If there's one way to avoid dealing with the adjustment, it's to retreat to the hospital in a morphine-induced fog! It's been a long gradual recovery, a lot of fatigue to deal with, but I think I'm finally over it, and in a way it's been good - it's been an enforced rest time, time to recover from the incredibly busy and stressful final weeks in Ecuador, and a chance to dwell in a little bubble of being neither here nor there. Also I've been able to spend wonderful time with my family, catching up on lost time. And especially precious times with my grandchildren, getting to know them in person. Grandma Ecuador is finally a person who can dispense hugs and kisses, instead of being a face on a computer screen.
However, this is definitely a strange time, between lives. I'm glad to be here, having a Canadian summer, seeing my family, catching up on crusty bread, and real cheese, and all kinds of other food that couldn't be found in Ecuador (well, I had to get weight back on me after being sick, you know!!). I'm loving the quiet, and safety, and the clean cool air. But I'm missing my life there, and my buddies and my community of Bastion Popular, and my grubby little cement house. (and my hammock!!) I go for walks here and there aren't any little kids to come running, hollering my name, to give and get big hugs. Nobody invites me in for large plates of rice and glasses of "cola". It's a funny place to be in, missing there when I'm here, missing here when I'm there. That's the problem with having one's heart divided between two lands.
I don't know what lies ahead, I don't have a job yet, and am not sure exactly what to pursue. There are days when I'm impatient to know what the next step is and to move forward, but the next step is not clear, and my sense is that God is telling me to wait. He will show me what direction to go in, in His time. And just as I know He led me to Ecuador, I know He led me back and has work for me to do here and will lead me forward when the time is right.
I truly feel that I was blessed to have been allowed this time in Ecuador, it was an incredible gift to me that I feel so privileged to have been given. It wasn't always easy, but it was a blessing. Every bit of it.