Where did the time go? 365 days ago I was in Texas finishing up details for my sister's wedding. 365 days later here I am half a world away from Texas. This has been a different year than any I have had...ever. Here are some highlights.
*My sister, Britni, got married after a whirlwind engagement so I could be there. I stood by her side as her maid of honor and watched her marry a kind, loving, Christian man. She became also became a mother to 3 beautiful girls.
*Five days later with 15(+or-) suitcases, James and I and our girls boarded a plane bound for Krakow, Poland. We had never been to Poland but we uprooted our family to come and tell people about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We said goodbye to English and understanding signs, people, culture and most of all our friends and precious family for at least 3 years.
*We moved from an 1800sq ft home to just under 800sq ft apartment. How were we all going to fit? We have so much more space than we would have ever imagined. We live close to each other but comfortably. I have learned that I don't need as much as I though.
*We left our car, as a our primary form of transportation, and began using public trams and buses to get around. I love it! It is easy and convenient.
*I put my kids in Polish speaking schools...dropped them in and wished them luck. I have one that is just about fluent and has learned through play only. I have one that has had a lot more struggles. She has struggled with having a lack of friends, different school environment than she has been used to as well as not knowing language. But she is a fighter and learning more each day.
*I have learned to shop for a week at a time...and sometimes a day or 2 at a time. My refrigerator and pantry are much smaller and the food does not have all the preservatives so I can't keep stuff for long periods of time.
*I am learning a foreign language...and one of the harder ones because of grammar rules that don't always make sense. We are do well. Each time I speak I feel like I get better. My understanding of others is growing too. I am not a good language learner based on my high school French and college Spanish classes so I was very anxious. But I am doing better than I hoped.
*We have learned that we can make it through big holidays without family and be ok. Of course we miss them desperately but we can make it.
*We have been to 3 countries, 2 of which we have never been too and left our kids in Poland while we went. Czech Republic, Italy and Belgium.
*We have made new friends that have become like family. We really understand each other when our friends and family don't understand why we would pack up and leave with our children and move to a foreign country.
*We have had the opportunity for each of our parents to come for a visit. What a precious time each of those 3 visits have been for us. We were able to show them around Krakow and show them what we are doing.
*We have had some low points but also high points in our marriage this year. Depending on only us can be hard sometimes but we are stronger.
*I swore when I left last year that I would not lose touch with American culture...movies, tv shows, news, music. WOW!!! It only took a year and I am out of the loop. I have no idea what new shows are on. When we have the opportunity to go to a movie, I don't even know what the movies are. Haha!
*I have learned that a whole country can shut down for holidays...for even a couple days at a time and the economy will still go on. You can take 2 weeks or even a month for vacation and your company will still keep running.
*Finally, the biggest thing of this year is that God is faithful. When I was 9 years old at GA camp and felt the calling to be a missionary people told me I was young. Then in high school I continued to feel that calling and then I married James who also felt the same calling. Finally this year after 21 years, God fulfilled that calling. There is no other place I would rather be than in the center of His will.
Next year is full of more changes. We will continue to push on in learning Polish. My grandparents are able to come and visit in February. In March and June we have 2 youth teams coming from Texas to do mission work. James and I will celebrate our 10th anniversary. We have always said we wanted to go back to Austria for 10th anniversary. Little did we know we would be so close. We will be taking the girls with us this time and are looking forward to it. But the biggest event is we will be transitioning to our permanent city in the summer. James will be the team leader for a brand new team in NW Poland. We are very excited and anxious at the same time. We have made some contacts and are ready to get started.
2011 was full of first and I am looking forward to 2012 and that God has in store for us.