Wednesday, January 26, 2011

peanut butter is a liquid

In case you ever doubted...
or in case you never thought it could be....
it is.
Yes, peanut butter is a liquid.
Or at least according to TSA it is.

Now that I know, it sort of makes sense, but I just really didn't think they would have confiscated my three large jars of peanut butter that I had in my carry-on.
I thought I was so smart - putting it in my carry-on so that it wouldn't take up so much weight in my other bags.... trying to get as much stuff down here as possible.
But now I am completely without.

I am truly a disappointment to my family.

Other than that, my trip to Maryland was fabulous.
Simply fabulous.
And I am about to take you through my journey, to some degree.
Just a warning, however: My brain is somewhat altered and I feel like I may not end up making much sense.... so bear with me.

The flight there was great.
So beautiful.
This is Ecuador - shortly after take off and just outside of Quito.
I'm really not exactly sure where this was, but it almost took my breath away.
The colors of the ocean were incredible.
On the second flight, from Miami to D.C., we had some more amazing views.
The moon started coming up.
And the sun starting going down.
It was a full moon.
Huge, bright and absolutely incredible.
I think that American Airlines should buy some pictures from me.

Forget it. They couldn't afford me.
(Okay, they aren't that good....)

In the Miami airport, I had my first sighting...
I had to stop by four places to find it, but there it was, in the fifth place, in all its shining glory:
Diet Dr. Pepper.
And a chorus of angels sang.
I bought a piece of pizza and cracked that baby open.
It was good.
Very good.
And it better have been....
just look at the close up of the receipt.
That was one expensive soda!

The purpose of the trip was shopping and visiting, and that was exactly what we did.
Lots of good talks, lots of good laughs and time to kick back together.
Julie also spent a lot of time carting me around to different stores, slowly checking everything off my long list.
I spent a very long time in Target.
It wasn't all fun, though, I must say.
I found the shopping very hard.
It was great, it was fun, it was so nice to get some things that we have been wanting for a while, but it was hard.

Julie and I did our own shopping, but at one point she found me...
and found me having a little break down.

I was completely overwhelmed.

There is so much in the US.
So much stuff. So much variety. So much of everything.
You could spend so much money and never be satisfied.

I kept thinking how much good could be done with all of this stuff in many parts of the country, here in Ecuador, where they don't have much.
I was overwhelmed with wanting to buy so many things that I could bring back here and give to people. Money goes a lot farther in the US, and there is so much that is available for so little. Just check out the clearance racks at Target, Old Navy or other's incredible!
I so desperately wanted to buy loads and loads of stuff, for incredible deals, and bring it all back... but I couldn't. And it broke my heart.
(And it broke my heart that we, as North Americans, take it so for granted.
And as soon as we head back out to Target the next time, we see more stuff, and want that stuff too...)
And I was completely overwhelmed again.

Because I am like that, and I don't want to be.

Here I was, thinking about all the good that I could do with all of these things, but then in the very next thought, all I could think about was how much stuff I wanted for myself.
And then I started crying all over again.

I don't want to want stuff.
I want so much to be free of that.
And as much as I loved being able to shop in Target that day (and other stores as well), I am, at least for the time being, so glad not to be near it.
The more I expose myself to all that stuff, the more stuff I want.

So I have an idea for anyone who wants to not want stuff so much...
Don't go near it.
Stay away from the stores.
Don't go in them.
If you see it - you'll want it, so don't let yourself see it.

I get that it isn't easy. Even though I don't see it all the time, I still want stuff. But it sure hits a lot stronger where you surround yourself with it.

In some ways, maybe bringing all sorts of things for the poor here wouldn't be a blessing.
Maybe it would be more of a curse.
Because, perhaps, I would only be introducing the desire for more.
Perhaps they would become dissatisfied with the little that they have and become jealous, envious and have ungrateful hearts. Perhaps they would only become entangled in it and have more to distract them from enjoying the simple pleasures that God has blessed them with.
Perhaps less is more of a blessing than more.

Remember the movie "The gods must be crazy"?
I think there was a well thought out point there.

So Target? Old Navy? TJMaxx? and all sorts of other stores....?
I'll be just fine without you for quite some time now.

(I wonder how many times I used the word "stuff".... a whole lot.)

One brief, but delightful blessing was this:
A bath.
Ah.... that felt good.
I almost wished that I felt sick with a cold or something, so that I could have enjoyed it all the more.
You may notice that there were a lot of bubbles.
A lot.
Julie poured some bubbles in for me and then introduced me to the jets in her tub. Her and Drew told me that the jets would make more bubbles.... I had no idea how many more.
There was a point where I literally could not see the faucet anymore. So I decided I had better turn off the jets. The bubbles ended up being close to 18 inches higher than the edge of the tub!
But oh, it was good!

And then the food, of course.
No, we didn't have Favela's or Buckhorn.
But we did have Chipotle.
And plenty of other yummy food.
I'm guessing I gained 5 lbs in 5 days.
But oh, it was good!
(side thought.... a scary one: So if I am in North America for over 60 days this summer does that mean I gain over 60 lbs?)

We spent Sunday in D.C.
We ate at the aforementioned Chipotle, drove by several sights (had already seen most of them, so we didn't take the time to do it again), and spent the afternoon in the Museum of American History. It is a great museum with lots of great things to see.
Old Glory
Ruby slippers
(they were a little dull for our taste.... they needed a nice bright light on them so they would sparkle. But I guess that wouldn't preserve them very well).
Julie Child's kitchen.
Archie Bunker's chair.
And a cool area chronicling the life and history of a house.
Who lived in it when, what they were like, what life was like during those times..... all that good stuff. The picture above is of Drew, Julie and the girls looking at how they did laundry "back in the day". Drew was checking to see if he could measure up to the laundress skills of the ladies back then.
Ummm, no, he couldn't.

We had dinner at some restaurant - don't remember the name, but it had the best hot dog I have ever, ever tasted in my life.
I never knew a hot dog could be that good.
A hot dog = a thing of beauty.
And, we even got lollipops after.
Now that is a good restaurant.

After a good day in D.C., we decided to take on some pie-making lessons.
Julie and the girls wanted to learn how to make pie.
I was happy to oblige.... especially considering that we got to eat the lesson.
Looking pretty good so far.
And Julie was a great pincher.
Drew, Julie and I each had a small piece of pie that evening after the girls were in bed.... it got a little late for them to have any that evening.
The next morning, I got up, went to take a shower and when I returned to the kitchen the entire remaining 3/4 of the pie was no longer remaining.
All Gone.
The twins apparently like pie as much as I do.
Girls after my own heart (and/or stomach).
Well, perhaps that saved another pound.....

The final activity for the trip was one in which you get uglier in order to get prettier:
Julie put highlights in my hair and did her roots.

I should really put a before and after picture on here, but I haven't taken an after.
I think it looks great - she did a fabulous job.
But she thought it was too subtle.
She may be right since no one noticed here.
But I think it is perfect.

Flying back home was pretty uneventful.
Except for the loss of the peanut butter.

When I arrived in Miami, I was gently eased back into the Spanish - as I think there is almost as much Spanish spoken there as there is in Ecuador!
I was pretty anxious to get on with the traveling - I really missed Eric and the kids - so I was glad for a short stop in Miami.
When we landed in Quito, I was very unprepared for what I felt.
My heart sank.
I was so sad.
Of course, I was elated to be back with my family. I really am not a fan of being apart from them for so long.
But when we landed, I instantly felt depressed.
It hit me that once again, I would be constricted by language issues.
I would once again be constrained by my lack of ability to get around.
And I would again be without a friend to really talk to
(that part is coming - slowly, but it is coming).

These feelings completely took me off guard.
While they were all things that I have felt, I have been very happy to be here. I know this is where we are supposed to be, and I have been thrilled to be here. It has been a blessing and a privilege.
But for some reason, it all hit me hard and I am now left with a lot of sadness.

It has been two days, and yes, it is already better. But I feel slightly changed. I feel like God is going to have to help get me going again. The blessing is, however, that even though some of the "happiness" is gone, His joy is still with me, and I still know that this is where we need to be. There is joy in knowing that you are in God's will.
The reality is still that I don't want to be anywhere else, but being here has just become a little more difficult.

With God, and only with Him, I am up for the challenge.

1 comment:

  1. Your visit was such a blessing -- to me, Drew, the girls...even the animals who are now sleeping on your duffel bags in the garage ;) Don't worry, that part is a joke....mostly. The girls and I will always treasure the memory of learning how to make an apple pie from you! (ps..The twins ate almost the entire second one too).