That Month I was Illegal

Remember that blogpost where I described being accidentally mistaken for the tall blond girl and getting all of the Mass music that I so desperately wanted?  Yeah, so things like that have been happening all the time recently.  The most dramatic example came this past week when we’d realized I’d been an illegal resident for almost a month.

Quick background:  Your passport gets you 90 days here in Honduras.  The problem was we were thinking that my time in Guatemala would reset my 90 days.  Nope.  Heads up:  Nicaragua and El Salvador don’t count either.  Apparently this CA-4 law has been around for a while, but from the experience of others who have had the time renewed, it seems like it just sort of depends on who’s doing the the stamping at the border that day and how they feel.

Anyways.   The situation needed to be remedied ASAP but no one was quite sure how it was going to work out.  We were fairly positive I wouldn’t get thrown in jail… but we also weren’t counting out the possibility of a Thanksgiving celebration Stateside.  Either way, we knew two things for sure:  It was going to be a ton of money and a miserable day at the Office of Immigration in the  capital city of Tegucigalpa.   The only thing I had heard about this place were horror stories…along the lines of Dicken’s Circumlocution Office.   With all this in mind we headed off bright and early Wednesday morning, hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst.

And we got the absolute best!  It was so easy!  We barely had to wait in line, the forms were simple, and while there was a fairly heavy fee, it wasn’t nearly the $20 a day that I’d seen elsewhere on the internet.  Then we had to go to another line to pay, but because our forms were different from the rest, we immediately went to the window.  It was crazy.  It was 9:30 in the morning and we were done!  So we did some Christmas shopping, went to Pricemart (the equivalent of a Sam’s Club), and had fried chicken and french fries for lunch.  We were even home in time for me to spend the afternoon with the girls at Casa Misericordia.  Exito! (Success!  or as we say in the house “Cesar!”)

This might sound strange, but all of these good things that have been happening lately… they’ve started to become a larger lesson for me in what it means to let myself be loved.  Freely.  Undeservedly.  Some of the helplessness that I’ve experienced down here (because I am new, because I don’t speak the language, because it is more dangerous for women) has really taught me how much I equate worth with action– this idea that I have to do something to prove my worth or to deserve love.  Even with God, which is horrible.  Moreover, it totally goes against everything I’ve ever fought for in pro-life work.  I know intellectually that all of human beings, no matter who they are or where they are or what they may or may not be capable of doing are worthy of dignity and infinite love… but when it comes to applying it to myself, an overachiever since elementary school, it’s a lot harder.  Gifts have never been my love language anyway.  Then too, maybe these little gifts have always been there, I’m just becoming more aware of it now. 

Really quick story, one of the places I experienced this undeserved love was at the Pan de Vida retreat we had back in October.  I wound up spending almost the entire weekend with this one group of Honduran girls and saying goodbye to them at the end… I felt like I was saying goodbye to people I’d known and cared about for years.  What was so crazy was they had had no reason to befriend me.  Our initial conversations had only started because I have blue eyes and speak English, two things  I have absolutely no control over.  They just loved me… for me.   Then too, I was reading this book on the poetry of St. John of the Cross, and it made an excellent point about how any comparision we could ever make to try and understand God… well, He’s more unlike it than He is like it because He’s so far beyond it.  So while I can make a comparision to God’s love with the love of those girls, He’s so far beyond that…

So yeah, that’s sort of where my thoughts have been these past few days.  As far as the rest of life…

Since I’m on such a role with all of these blessings right now, I’ve started praying for a puppy.  I really want one.  I’ve come to love our cat, Barci, but cats just aren’t the same. Though today Carol told me if we did get a dog we would get him to be a guard dog and not a pet.  This was slightly devastating.  Then she said she’d get me a stuffed animal instead. I’m pretty sure my parents made the same deal when I was little and I learned pretty quickly that it’s not the same.  So I’ll keep praying anyway and see what happens.

I broke a mirror and the lid to our toilet this week.  Sort of impressive in a horribly uncoordinated way. The toilet is actually a really funny story.   I was literally crying on the floor laughing after it happened, but this blogpost is already too long.

We have a house full of Gringos this weekend (super strange) because all the Hondurans have gone back  homes to vote.  Elections are on Sunday, and please, please pray.  These elections could go really smoothly or really poorly.  Really poorly.  As in we’ve stocked up on water and flashlights.  Yeah…

Also happening on Sunday, a number of our kids from our scholarship program and Hogar Nazareth (the orphanage where we do tutoring) will be receiving their First Communion! Yay!

We watched this incredibly documentary the other night on the Lost Boys of Sudan.  Ohmygosh.  No words.  This world… it’s so much bigger than we think… so many people, so many stories, so much heartache and horror.  But still the potential for so much change and so much goodness… but it’s not going to happen unless we  step outside of our comfort zones and start being sincerely interested in our neighbor.

Also because there were no Hondurans here, we watched The Sound of Music last night.  So good!  But what is this happening with Carrie Underwood on NBC???

And that’s my life!  Hopefully another update soon with good news about the election results.

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