BETWEEN CHRISTMAS AND NOW, I spent many hours outside the office. As a volunteer with a flexible schedule, I didn’t think I needed more time to rest. But it turned out that my mind and heart needed a little break.
During those weeks of rest, I also experienced anxiety and nostalgia as I navigated new Christmas and New Year’s traditions and chatted with my biological family. Sometimes I felt like a burden to my host family. So even as I relaxed and played, I was being stretched in ways I hadn’t expected. It sucked, but it forced me to dig deeper within myself to find the areas that needed transformation.
It also taught me to empathize with all the young people who spend the holidays overseas away from family – like the college students from Hong Kong at my church in Minnesota who couldn’t afford a plane ticket to fly back home for Christmas.
Thankfully, there were moments of great consolation, too, as you will see in the photos below.
So say hello to the renewed me! The stronger me and the more tender me. Stronger because God walked me through it. More tender because I learned to see myself more clearly – shortcomings and all.
Enough said… Enjoy the pictures!
Christmas Eve dinner – preceded by an evening of chatting and dancing!
Barranquilleros celebrate Christmas on Dec 24. My host family invited another family from church to share a delicious meal with us. When 9 PM finally came, there were several minutes of silence – we were so hungry!
Christmas celebration dinner at church – with special guest on the left 🙂
New Year’s Eve dinner! I ended up eating everyone’s salad…
Traditionally one eats 12 grapes at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s. We modified this by just sharing a grape of plates.
Absolutely stunning beaches in Taganga – several hours away from Barranquilla.
We hiked the mountains to various beaches.
Hiking & swimming, mountains & beaches – what can be better?
A friend from church invited me to his family’s finca (farm) for the day. We took a mototaxi to get there from the “town center”.
All the fincas I’ve been to in Colombia are absolutely free-range.
Never a dull moment at the finca.
The chivo (goat) is smarter than it lets on…
“Las aventuras de Jonathan y Sophia” (The Adventures of Jonathan & Sophia). My host bro and I bond over our love for food and for making food.