Hello, my name is Jessie, and I’m a sugar addict. Recognizing the problem is the first step to recovery right? The problem with my problem is that I don’t really want it to change. Baking here in Santiago has become joy (I have muffin pans! So exciting!:) and I thoroughly enjoy the brownies my friends bring to Bible study. When I attempt to order a hazelnut latte and instead am handed a shot of espresso over hazelnut ice cream, I feel like it’s a sweet little blessing. And even when I can’t remember the name of the cookies stuffed with manjar covered in chocolate (alfo-whats? Doesn’t matter, they’re delicious), I’m sure glad when someone hands me one. So on goes my addiction. I think we as people want things to be sweet (even if we don’t have a sweet tooth). We want to hear great news and see beauty and understand that there is that goodness in the world. But, the reality is, sweetness is only part of the story. We also need to talk about the bitter, both to process it and to allow things to heal, and to remain grounded in reality.
This has been a daily conversation in our house, trying to encourage each other to enjoy the good stuff while acknowledging the very hard stuff. This last week, I’ve really tried to appreciate the small things, after feeling like my own complaining was wearing on me. It made my day to explain the meaning of “Like A Boss” to our doorman (I complimented his tee-shirt with the phrase on it, and he admitted he had no idea what it meant). When Rayna and I go through photos of family members, my heart is so full when she smiles and laughs, like she remembers the people in the pictures and knows they love her. And our quick trip to Valparaiso this weekend was just magical: the colorful houses and winding streets are so enchanting. We lucked out with a fantastic crowd of travelers at our hostel (yes, we stayed in a hostel, and it was actually awesome!). And Rayna was a total trooper, enjoying a three hour tour in a backpack followed by a beer festival (super odd experience and not great beer, but at least our kid behaved!!!). She even slept normally, saving us from having to apologize for bringing a baby to a hostel. Sweet things, for sure.
Jeff’s update is that he is back to mountain biking, which he is ridiculously happy about. We live just a few kilometers from a mountain with lots of trails and have kind friends who have offered to watch Rayna while we bike. We went Sunday and I fell of my bike no less than 5 times, and have the scrapes to show for it. Crashing while mountain biking is like my sugar addiction: a problem, but not a new development. Jeff’s enthusiasm is infectious and I’m well versed in dealing with the results of my klutziness, so we’ll probably go again this weekend. There again is that balance between taking in the good and accepting the (painful!) less delightful stuff.
No question about it, I need the sweet stuff, because it’s hard to live in a foreign country, far from family and dear friends. We struggle with guilt about our choice to come to Chile, but also trust that God’s plan for us is good and included this adventure. We may not love the way Jeff’s university handles human resources issues, and it may stress me out to try to talk on the phone to a Chilean internet company, but we have to deal with these things. There are struggles in every life, and we recognize that ours are so manageable in the grand scheme of things. I know, I know, these are lessons we’ve already learned, but we keep coming back to them. And so, when things get ugly, I make sure we make time for a quick trip to the beach for an hour so that I can spray some serious Sun-In through my locks and get my blonde back (seriously, it works, don’t judge!!!;). Sugar and Sun-In, my friends, these are good things. While we continue to struggle to understand plenty of the conversations going on around us and miss home (home being where our loved ones are), I’m going to keep the sugar flowing and try to be grateful for it all. Love!!!
P.S. Prayers for safe riding would be appreciated!!!!