Friday, June 2, 2017

Casi la Lluvia

Just like that, it's June.

May has come and gone.

June means rain.
I can smell it. Feel it.
Last night there was even thunder and lightening.

I really don't enjoy living without rain for eight months of the year.
Of course I love sunshine, but I've always-for as long as I can remember-loved sunshine and rain equally.
And besides, sunshine is better by the sea.
I miss random, rainy Saturdays-Tuesdays. Rainy days in January and March or perhaps even June. I love the refreshing of rain. The sound of pitter patter on the roof. Flashes of light in the nighttime sky and rolling thunder that invades your heart.
I'm not made for heat. Not for desert.
Not for here.

That being said, I am an anticipator.
I love looking forward to new things.To learning more about who I am. Transition is bound to do that.
In my life until here, that was true. But MX has taught me so much more about who I'm not and I suppose confirmed on a deeper level who I already was.

Let me explain.
In MX I learned that I am not a teacher. It is not my passion.
I do not like warm climates.
I cannot be at home or fall in love with just any city.

I discovered that I am, after all, in the truest sense of the title, a pastor.
That rain is not just something I like, but something I need.
That it's not just any city but Seattle where I belong.
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Lately I've been most inspired by the palm trees and my shoes.
In the most (well almost) literal ways. They've made me so reflective. Urged me to write again.
My two dollar Rue 21 sandals with the ankle straps finally broke.
Like really. Literally came apart while walking.
I remember so clearly the moment I bought them.
On my way home from a mid-winter evening shift at Bath and Body Works.
The irony.
A summer sale in the dead of the northeast Ohio winter.
Lucky for me since I was about six-ish months away from moving my life to MX-the land of eternal summer. I remember putting the outfits together in my head, imagining myself as a preschool teacher in MX.
It's crazy to think that I didn't know this version of myself yet. I could only imagine her. Wonder what she'd be like and attempt to dress her well.

Two years later, those little two dollar sandals have carried me to her.
To that version of myself that I could only imagine before. Away from family, across international borders, and up and down long cobblestone avenues. They've seen lots of snotty noses and tearful walks home. They've splashed through rainy season puddles and survived something like 30 Friday afternoons with seventh graders. They've discovered along with me my love of teenagers and mango from the street drizzled with lime.
They've carried me from who I was before MX to who I am on my way out.
They knew me then and they know me now.
I know they're just shoes, but lately the've been so profound for me.
I actually got a little choked up when I finally dropped them into the trashcan outside of my office.
I like my new sandals, but we're still getting to know each other.
I suppose it's sort of fun to imagine where these will carry me.
Out of MX.
Where Jesus walked.
Back to the roots of me in Ohio.
What I'll look like when they can't carry me any further.
And the palm trees.
The tropical sounds all around.
How strange it will be when they're gone.
I wonder if when I'm surrounded by the robins and the pines if I'll think that maybe this was all a dream...that it never happened at all.

I took this panoramic picture of Guadalajara the other day from the very top of a super Wes Anderson-y hotel. There's everything in that photo.
The tall buildings.
The palms.
The wide bright blue sky.
The warm, welcoming rainbow homes cozied together between the chaotic citiness of it all.
My friend Andres who took me in and helped me discover and love this place.
The way it's old and so new all at the same time.
Pueblo and urban jungle colliding continuously.

This city holds two years of my life-of my story-of me.
There's little pieces of me all over it.
The way I get giddy even still when I finally lay eyes on La Catedral in El Centro.
The satisfaction in stumbling upon a churro or elote stand.
That feeling of accomplishment when communication in Spanish is successful.
The way Chapultapec makes me feel like I'm almost in Cap Hill-the way it helped me realize that's where I belong-where my heart is.
The streets of El Centro in mid October when I finally knew that it's always been all along-saving girls. Ending it. When my passion and my calling to act finally found each other.
Those tiny, complicated classrooms in the heart of Las Fuentes where I understood (often sometimes the hard way) that I'm not a teacher.
Where some teenagers snuck right in and stole my heart anyways.
And the mountains. Always strong. Always present. Always surrounding.

Moving forward means new things.
Lots of new things.
And old things too.
Except even the old things are new because you're new.
You're different.
So somehow it's all new.
It means opening your heart to change.
New friendships. New surroundings. New jobs. New coffee.
It means learning new things about yourself that you didn't know before and that you couldn't possibly have discovered anywhere else.
It means being willing to evolve a little more. To suffer through the growing pains again.
To trust in nostalgia and Jesus to replant your roots. The parts of you that must remain in order to grow from here.
Taking steps. Leaps.
Means uncertainty. So much uncertainty.
About everything really, including yourself.
But it also means so much potential.
It means new favorite cafes and flavors and colors you never knew you'd fall in love with. It means new people and friendships that you won't be able to imagine your life before or without. It means new versions of ourselves.
New memories that stay behind for us to hold onto in the moving forward.
New memories to be made up ahead that will do the same for us further down the road.
New adventures to be had.
New stories to tell.
And just like that, it's June again.

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