The Leaving Mindset

Monday, December 15

We're planning out the details for me to leave again the beginning of January. I'll go back to El Salvador for three months and finish up the last three courses of Spanish. I don't know 100% that it'll work out, but my fingers are crossed.

Either way I'm living here in Valparaiso with an "I'm leaving" mindset. And you know what? I think I'm going to start living with this mindset a lot more. I'm embracing Valpo and actually enjoying my time here at home for the first time in over two years!

 I'm loving the cold weather because I only have four weeks left of boots, beanies, jeans, sweaters, cardigans and leather jackets.

I don't get (as) stressed out with the noisy siblings because I remember for two weeks the one house I stayed at was so quiet and all I really wanted to hear was my siblings playing somewhere in the house.

I tell my mom everything, because there were times when I wanted to tell her about my day and the connection was bad and we couldn't Skype.

I'm enjoying the cooking even, I assisted with the cooking a few times, but I didn't really cook for two months. I actually started missing it!

The list could go on and on. But when you start thinking that your time here, wherever it may be, is temporary you want to go, and do as much as possible before you move onto a new place where you can't do the same things, at least not with the same people.

How much more if we think our time here on earth (why is it so easy to think we'll live here forever?) is short we're more likely to go and do things. We'll be more likely to want to do the things that will make an impact on the lives around us.

(shirt: hollister, leggings: target)

El Salvador 03 | Trust

Monday, December 8

While I was in El Salvador, two of my friends and I went to the mall for lunch and some shopping. When we left we got on the wrong bus. (42 instead of 42C) It didn't go past our stop and we didn't realize it for quite some time.

After the fact dawned upon us we had to decide what to do next. Keep riding the wrong bus until it circled back to the mall where we would just call our friend they lived with and beg for a ride, or get off at the bus stop and wait for the right bus.

Neither idea sounded very ideal and so we waited for a little bit, trying to figure out what to do. My friend Micheala looked out the back window.

"What bus do we need ya'll?"
"Bus 42C."
"Guys. Ya'll won't believe this. 42C is right behind us."

I couldn't believe it but sure enough, the right bus was five vehicles behind us. The traffic was super slow and at this point it had come to a complete stop.

"We should just jump off and run to bus 42C." 
"No. Absolutely not. You're nuts." 

There was no way I would risk being stranded by the side of the road.

"This is how we make memories, Natalia. 
"Do you trust me?" 
"No. Besides, I used up my last quarter." 
"I'll pay."

My resolve was wavering. Micheala got on the stairs and said

"Just trust me." 

She started running for the next bus. Faith looked at me and I shrugged, we had no choice. We ran after her and got on right before it started moving. Micheala paid the 25 cents fare and we collapsed into our seats laughing at how ridiculous it all was.

"I just convinced you to jump buses for a quarter!"


Now, a few weeks later I've been thinking a lot about that incident. More specifically, trust. In life when God (not Micheala-- altho that worked out too) asks you "Do you trust Me?" Even if you don't understand the plan, or how the situation will work out, you get out of that bus and run after Him! You do not want to miss out on His plans for you and get left behind on the wrong bus.

***Pictures of El Tunco, Playa Libertad with Faith the day after this incident.

El Salvador 02 | Surfing

Monday, October 13

Yesterday a dream came true for me. I got to go surfing. It was one of the most exhilarating/best experiences of my life.

As I was watching on the shore, I thought the waves looked incredibly small, and wondered how on earth you could possibly ride such a small wave. However, when I got out there though, it was an entirely different story. Never before have I felt so small, weak, and out of control. I wasn't ever scared, but in the back of my mind I knew I was at the mercy of the waves and the current. There was this crazy moment when a wave was coming at me fast and as I went under it and felt it push me towards the shore, I couldn't do anything about it, and I felt so helpless but for some reason didn't feel afraid at all.

I am a control freak, I hate it, but I am. I want to know what my next step is before I'm even done with my current step. I struggle with enjoying where I am right now, because I'm trying to figure out exactly what I will do after the the current phase I'm in. I like to know exactly what will happen so I can prepare for it. I stress out when I feel like something isn't planned or under control. I had no idea what was happening, no idea what I would do next, and I didn't have a dire need to be in control of it. I could just relax.

When I was out in the water on that board, feeling incredibly small and out of control, I wasn't stressing. I think that was the first time this trip I wasn't thinking how I would say the next sentence in Spanish, or wondering if I'm being friendly enough or what on earth will I do when I get home. I was totally helpless but I've never felt so free or alive before.

Once we had drifted too far, so we started walking back to the shallow part and boy, that was so hard. You could take five steps and still be where you were to begin. It was slow, and painful, and we didn't make any progress.

Out there though, all I could think was if the ocean is this powerful and I am this weak and at it's mercy how much more am I weak and helpless in God's hands? If the ocean is this powerful and strong, how much more powerful and strong is God. I don't know if I can even imagine something stronger. If I'm trying to figure out what to do, and keep walking against the currents, and controlling my own direction I got tired and my efforts were futile. But when I got on the board and stood up (successfully !!!) and just rode in the direction the wave took me, I didn't have to worry about anything and it was a lot more enjoyable. How much more so when we follow God's plan, and relax and let him take us on the path we need to go.

I can't wait to go again. I'm really starting to think I was cut out for this type of life haha.