I just got home from my first solo trip to the local farmer’s market. It’s a good thing I’ve been exercising lately, because it was a little bit of a workout to walk the mile home in 80 degree weather with 11 pounds worth of fruits and veggies for the coming week. What a gift it is that produce is so inexpensive here in Chile! $1.50 for 2 pounds of avocado? Yes, please! And this is the best time of year, of course, because it’s summer and so many of my favorite fruit are in season.
When we lived in Valparaiso and before that in Viña del Mar, I went to the famer’s market alone all the time! It was actually something I enjoyed. I knew what to pay for different things and there were several venders who knew me, so I didn’t really have to worry about being taken advantage of when trying to make purchases. Here in Temuco, though, I’ve found myself relying on Pablo a lot. Maybe it’s because I never really had someone to rely on when I was single? But something about experiencing the unfamiliar all over again and the constant feeling of sticking out no matter how I dress or wear my hair has made me cower in this new city. I’ve even had a hard time learning how to get around by myself, and after six months here, I still have moments when I get disoriented.
Adjusting to a new place is never easy, especially where the stress of being in a different culture is involved. But, maybe if I’m honest, I’ve just been unwilling to let myself feel at home here. I never wanted to live in Temuco [seriously, I used to say things like “I never want to live in Temuco,” because nothing people told me about the city made it sound at all appealing], but life requires us to be here in order to take care of some important family matters. I’ve willingly been attending to those things and just going through the motions in other areas, all while really not wanting to be here. I know, I’m terrible! Now that my eyes have been opened to it, it’s actually embarrassing to share! Our being here was never about the place [so I thought]. You know how God calls people to a specific country? I never saw our being here as God calling us to Temuco; he called us to resolve a particular situation which only meant we needed to be in Temuco.
Then one day I felt something like a whisper saying, “bloom where you’re planted.” A few days later, a friend used the same phrase in a conversation. And a couple weeks after that I saw it written on a cute little ceramic dish in a store we happened to wander into. That’s when I decided to ask God if there was something he was trying to say…Oh I can be so stubborn sometimes! Isn’t it obvious?! We’re probably going to be in Temuco for a while. Years! Instead of fighting it, instead of grumbling about it…maybe I should take advantage of it, be thankful, at least try to thrive and make a life for myself and our family here?!
I guess that’s why I decided to go to the market by myself today. It’s time, and I’ve had a bit of an attitude adjustment. I don’t want to waste the opportunity that God has given us to make some sort of impact on this city for however long we’re going to be here! I also don’t want to miss out on the beauty this place has to offer because I’d formed an opinion about it before I ever gave it a chance. So, I guess now the question is, how? How do I bloom in Temuco? What are the conditions, the water and sunlight that will make me bloom in such a way that people are blessed by me and my family being here?
Note: I think it’s easy to read this blog post and come to the wrong conclusion. Our time here has actually been pretty good, and we’ve had a lot of doors open to us that we have walked through, knowing we will be here for some time. However, I was genuinely unaware of how I was refusing to really dig my roots in because there was still a part of me that didn’t want to be here. Thankfully, that is no longer the case!