My last few months in Bolivia were like injecting my veins with friendship speed. Every day was celebrating something, and I had no end of cool people to celebrate with because they were coming and going, in and out of my country and city. That's missionary life.
And missionary life was good for my friendships here in the US too, at least for those last few months. My Facebook wall was always full of kind notes about people excited to see me when I got home. Home. As if that place existed to me anymore.
Now I've been back for just under four months. I'm just beginning to feel settled into a semi-permanent job, a church, and a house. And I am not on friendship crack anymore. And it's hard for me. Maybe selfishly, but I liked being the novelty. I was the gringa who could speak Spanish to my Bolivian friends, and my friends in the US were willing to excuse my bad communication and forgetfulness because I was serving the Lord in a foreign land. And the missionaries. They were friends who understood my adventurous spirit and why I was willing to serve the way I did. But my friends in Bolivia, even if they wanted to, do not have consistent internet access to stay in close contact. My friends here can see my faults up close and personal, and I am just me again to everyone.
How do I learn to be me, without a ministry or a cultural barrier to cover the parts of me I'd like to hide? How do I exist exactly as God intends me to in this normal life? This life means some nights at home with a book, and some days without phone calls. I like those things, but I'm not used to them. Call it reverse culture shock, call it my third culture, but adjusting to do.