So here is the thing: I’ve been on cloud 9 this entire MONTH. Speaking from personal experience “cloud 9 moments” typically exist in fragments of time where you feel like the happiest person in the entire world, but in March one high moment seemed to lead right into the next. I went to bed every night grateful to the brim and smiling a ridiculous amount. I have found myself shaking my head most days in absolute disbelief that God is doing what He is doing and giggling with my friends when I tell them about life happenings as of late.
The nine days I was in Barahona where deep seeded in JOY + WILDNESS + FREEDOM, but I brought home this liberty that He paid for me on the cross. I feel a renewed sense of passion for life…and I haven’t really looked back.
Before the trip I wondered what I would feel like in the Dominican Republic. This might sound so silly, but I actually worried, “would I still be me?”…like how would I FEEL when I was actually standing IN Barahona. I’m happy to report that I still felt like ME:) Last night I heard that re-entry is like unpacking a suitcase, so I am still unpacking everything I saw and experienced there….and I don’t have a ton of words yet, but all I know is:
In my wildest dreams I didn’t expect to find more of myself in Barahona. I didn’t expect to feel so at home & comfortable in another country – another bed – another far off place. I thought one full week would be plenty of time away from home, but I could have easily stayed another month and not thought twice about it. I didn’t expect to see water so blue or play in clear waterfalls that met the ocean. I didn’t expect to swim in a sea with 10 foot waves and actually be afraid for a second that I might not be able to make it in until the tide shifts again. I didn’t expect to drink out of coconuts and eat chicken for practically ever meal. I didn’t expect to fall more in love with how God made me (I LOVE my blonde hair even more now! haha!). I felt more pride for my team than I thought I would – their selfless service blew me away. I didn’t expect to have my 2nd kiss there. I didn’t expect to follow a young man with one leg (his leg got cut off from the train…he was trying to get sugar cane) that I didn’t know down the street to the grocery store….I didn’t expect the racket it would cause among the locals. “Americana!! Americana!!! Americana!!! Rubio! Rubio!” was amped up about 10 notches. I didn’t know how capable of TRUST I was before this trip (when I trusted someone and they told me “he’s safe. follow him” I listened and was not disappointed. I didn’t know I would be one of the only people who didn’t get sick while we where there….I mean how insane and ironic is that? The Americana who was most likely to get sick from all the different food (and the girl who drank the tap water on the first night accidentally)….didn’t get sick.
I didn’t know that a door would open for me to come back and teach English at the school there….when I don’t speak any Spanish. I didn’t know I’d be going 70mph on a motorcycle (w/ no helmet) on Barahona’s back roads. I didn’t know that the “strip” would be so fun to ride back and forth on and that I could reach out my feet at times and touch the car next to me, as we zoomed past them. I didn’t know I would swim in the sea and look up the fullest, most beautiful moon and feel FREE…..as I laughed so hard that I was actually crying. I didn’t know how much I loved Corona Lite. I didn’t know how other people lived + loved. I didn’t know that I would make new friends that I can’t wait to see again. I didn’t expect that I would come flying into the compound around 12:35AM, throw things into my suitcase, and be pulling out on the bus around 12:55AM to head back to the capital….with a head that was spinning in disbelief & a heart that knew I had embraced a side of myself that I loved.
It was a week in Barahona of ordinary moments splashed with color and I realized: this is life. Living, serving, loving. ❤
I don’t listen to The Happy Hour podcast often, but yesterday I saw on Jamie Ivey’s Instagram that her guest was Tsh Oxenreider, so of course I listened. I have followed Tsh Oxenreider on IG for years because I was fascinated with her families song – they enjoy traveling together. Over the 2014-2015 school year they visited and stepped foot in 30 countries with their kiddos who at the time where 4, 6, and 9 years old. You can listen to the episode here.
I have ALWAYS wanted to travel and adventure forever…especially with kiddos (it is a passion and desire the Lord has planted on my heart!), so I was encouraged to know that if its one of your families songs & priorities it is possible.
Anyways, listening to her podcast…one thing I took away was: If everything is BIG moment driven you’ll miss the NORMAL daily, mundane, slow ones…that are really, really good. I want to see the value in every experience & do my best to not miss the beauty of the mundane. I hope that traveling and adventuring is always something I get to do and that it never gets blurred (even if I do it a million times) because God made this ENTIRE Earth…and there are about 200 countries in it and millions of cities, so here’s to be open to where ever He leads. ADVENTURE AWAITS.
Tsh also mentions that their family experiences now provide a “tapestry family thread” of stories that they will tell forever and I couldn’t agree more. When I get to travel with my sister to Europe next summer I know we will remember it forever. Also, every year my family goes to Hunting Island State Park to go camping and a week at the beach is something I hope we all get to do together forever, as well as other smaller trips. Spending time together playing and relaxing is the best!! I know it will never get old, so here’s to dreaming big & adventuring with the people He has put in our path to journey with!
“Travel makes one modest—you see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.” ~ Gustave Flaubert
Tsh wrote on her blog: “The kids are homeschooled/lifeschooled/worldschooled, so really, the bulk of our life is summed up in one word: freedom. Not freedom from responsibility, or community, or hardship—but freedom to serve, to explore the world, and to be who we’re made to be, untethered from conventionality or status quo. Freedom to humbly be available to do anything God brings to us; to be a blessing to others.” Visit her blog here (and read posts from when they where traveling).
Lord – be with us in the ordinary moments and the crazy, big exciting ones. Thanks for cloud 9 and for all the experiences I never expected to have in Barahona…you are all powerful.
Here’s to seeing the purpose in the ordinary moments and the super colorful ones that make your head spin. He holds the world – and all of these moments (mundane + cloud 9 ones) are in it, so let’s live wild + free and remember who are faith is in. Everyday is a blessing.