I often lay in bed at night and think about the kids in Bolivia. I see the big picture of everyone from the orphanage hanging up in my room and one or two of them will jump into my thoughts. I think about them as I brush my teeth. I dream about them sometimes. Sometimes I make up conversations in Spanish that I would have if I could go back and talk to certain kids. I miss them. I miss Bolivia. I miss doing what I was born to do. I miss walking with those kids. I didn't do anything profound, I just walked with them. I greeted A. every morning at the first house I passed as I went to devotions. At the second house I would without fail see M. who wanted to ask me if he could do something- what he wanted permission to do changed week by week, but was rarely something I had authority to grant. Mt. would yell at me from the third house that he didn't have any homework. R. would ask me if he could play on the computer today. It was the hardest job I ever had. It was the most exposure to Spanish I ever had. That particular job isn't exactly what I want to do for the rest of my life, but it was a giant leap in the right direction, and it was perfect for me at the time. I don't know if I really made an impact on anyone, but I know they made an impact on me. I think about Bolivia every single day.
During my days here in the States I am focused on me. I am here to get a teaching certificate and it is hard to persevere. It is a lot of work, a lot of money, a lot of time, a lot of me, me, me thoughts. I have to do this, I need to read this, I want to look like I know what I am talking about, I need to write this paper, I need to do these observations. Me. Me. Me. Me first. Me last. Me in the middle.
I want to run away. Back to my banana "plantation" where I watched the "sunrise" in the form of morning mists. Back to my rocky hill full of ants and invisible bugs that buzzed in my ear all night long. Back to powdered milk/chocolate mix/coffee in the mornings. Back to dumping a bucket of soapy water on my red concrete floor. Back to the four o'clock breeze and the nighttime bug symphony. Back to "my" kids who were never really mine. I miss them. I miss it all. I want it all.
And yet I must stay here. I am doing this all for them, but with no guarantee that it will be worth it. There is no guarantee that I will go back, no guarantee that I will be a teacher after all this schooling is over, no guarantee that I will ever have that kind of life again. Today is what I have. The US is what I have. I am in the land of abundance and yet I cling to memories. I "should" be there. I must be here. Should I be here? I hope all this "me" business one day turns out to really be for them. I hope all this "me" business opens doors. I won't know, I suppose, until I am finished if it was worth it.
So for now I stay. For now I write papers, read books, write papers, read books, write papers, read books. Maybe one day I will write books and read papers... For now I pass up time with friends, pass up my morning run day after day, pass up opportunities to explore, create, write, dream...For now. Now is not forever. One day I will go "back" to the real me.