Describing my semester abroad in Argentina using a few words is close to impossible, but for the sake of this blog post, here’s what comes to mind: surprisingly spiritual, intense, growth, and community.
First of all, I saw some of the most breath-taking, absolutely stunning parts of the natural world that I never thought existed. Granted, I haven’t ventured much away from Midwestern US, but let me tell you… Argentina offers a lot in the department of natural beauty. Needless to say, I was spiritually moved at the mere sight of a lot of this beauty and was definitely able to feel God’s presence thoughout my travels
I was fortunate enough to volunteer in La Boca, a neighborhood in Buenos Aires known for its soccer team, poverty, and drug use among young people. In LCM, we talk a lot about where we see brokenness in our communities, and, at first, my volunteer organization was a clear example of brokenness. After getting to know the community members and the children, I decided to add ‘beautiful’ in front of the word ‘brokenness.’ God was clearly at work in this community, and although I said goodbye with a heavy heart, they left me feeling hopeful that poverty doesn’t have to be destiny.
I was absolutely blessed with a wonderful host family that was full of life and as much love as a cheesy sitcom. My host dad, Carlos, got sick at the end of October and was in the hospital for the remainder of my stay until he passed away the day before I got on my flight back to Minnesota… this is where the word intense comes in. Being present for such an emotionally intense experience in a family that wasn’t biologically mine took a little bit of patience and a lot of extra love.
The culture and lifestyle in Buenos Aires is something that I still find myself missing each day, but I am so incredibly thankful for the opportunity to spend an entire semester in such a surprising and alive city. SO THANKFUL. Because of these experiences, I had quite a bit of anxiety returning back to the US. I wasn’t sure how I wanted to bring my experiences back to my life here in Minnesota.
Iguazu Falls, Argentina
Returning to Minneapolis and to ‘real life,’ the LCM community has been my trampoline… bear with me here. Picture a crazy girl falling in slow motion down a waterfall, asking questions about God and life, yelling stories, and being frazzled (that’s me). The girl gets to the bottom of the waterfall and gracefully bounces off of the trampoline (LCM) back in to the questions, stories, and state of frazzleness. The girl feels encouraged to ask the questions, tell the stories, and be okay with feeling frazzled. She’ll keep bouncing up and down, trusting that the trampoline will let her rest for a moment before sending her back up… supporting her and being present the whole time.