Well.... That's all folks. I feel like I´m in this weird dream where people keep asking me about home and planes and goodbyes and I just think... "What? Ya´ll are crazy. This is never going to end. I´m trapped in Spain." Ya know? I have been in that mind set for a year and a half and now............. I just think about how I start school in one week and that's when panic sets in. Woah woah woah. When ever that stress settles in I just think... "Okay. That's not something I have to stress over right now. I will worry about that in a few days." Right now all I need to worry about is saying goodbye to Cartagena. I´ve been here for 5 months now and Cartagena feels like home. The goodbyes started yesterday in church. Actually, just walking into the chapel, I saw my favorite 8 year old. Andrea ran to me and gave me a big hug. That's when the waterworks officially started. Church hadn´t even started!! It was just hard. All day. Saying goodbye isn´t something I´m good at. Especially my family here in Spain. I think this is the ward I have been closest with in my whole mission. I feel like I´m just tearing out pieces of my heart to give to everyone so that they don´t forget me. There are people here who changed my life. This morning I had to say goodbye to my most favorite family. Pepe and Fina. The only time I have felt my heart break like that was when I left home. Ya, that bad. I´ve never cried like that in front of members neither have I seen members cry like that. I¨m just super sentimental. Whatever. I just have to survive all these goodbyes.
So my plan for the week for all those who have asked:
Monday and Tuesday: Survive. HA! Too many goodbyes. Its going to be really hard.
Wednesday: I leave Wednesday morning for my 7 hour bus ride to Malaga. Because I´m so far away, I´m going down a day early. So is Hermana Flake! When I get there I will have my last interview and then eat dinner. I will be with Hermana Flake and Childers that night! WOOT WOOT!!!
Thursday: For the morning I have to go turn in all my residency stuff.... Then I´m free. Literally they said we can do what ever we want until 5:00pm. So literally Hermana Flake and I are going to be running crazy all over Málaga doing whatever we want! Like what? I don´t even remember what that feels like to run around without a care in the world. Then at 6pm we´ll have dinner and have our final night in the mission home with the rest of the people going home. We´ll have our last meeting with President and then PARTAY!
Friday: What? Ya..... Ya. I GET TO SEE MY FAMILY!!!!!!!! AHHHHHHHH!!!!!!! Not like I¨m excited or anything.
So that's the line up. WOO! This is seriously going to be one of the hardest yet best weeks of my whole life. Every missionary dreams of this moment. And now I´m here. I don´t know how it went by so fast. But this is coming to an end and that hurts.
I would like to share a couple of things I have learned and how I feel and what I will do. I have learned a few things on this crazy journey and I have promised myself a few things:
I will not constantly worry about whether my clothes are in or not. I will not worry whether my hair is perfectly in place, or whether I have the next best thing. As a sister missionary, I have been constantly dripping with sweat and zero make up this past summer. I have learned nobody else really cares what I wear or how I look -- they are all too busy fussing over themselves. It is the inner beauty and heart that really matters!
I will not stew over whether I will get to see the Eiffel tower, the river banks of Italy,
New York´s flashing lights, or live in a big house with a pool in the backyard. Being away from home for a year and a half makes me realize that none of those things are very important. Heck, I´ve been living in Spain! Is that to fulfill ones dream or to make one feel complete? No. In fact my memories with my family are more precious than any beautiful site. Memories are made when a child climbs onto your lap, you play a three hour game of canasta, you have the family Suburban break down on your way to Lake Powell, and watching your little sister cheer. They are not made in vacation destinations.
I won´t have a tizzy on my birthday because I¨m getting older. (I had a big meltdown about turning 20) Older is good. Older is smarter. Older has more prospective. Older has better priorities.
I won´t toss and turn over not getting the recognition I deserve or not ever opening an area. Fame and riches are shallow and unworthy friends.
Nobody can name the last five Nobel prize winners or even the ten richest people in the world. But almost everybody can tell you which teacher put an arm around him and helped him through a bad time, or who taught them how to find, teach, and baptize, or who brought her flowers, and who helped her when she cried! I will remember that.
I believe I can´t quit the fight. To conquer doesn´t always mean to be the best or destroy something; it just means I can´t surrender ever though it seems I am losing the battle. Its not always a win/lose situation. Sometimes the victory is to just have endured.
I believe our greatest strengths are our greatest weaknesses. When I find something I´m really good at, its time to analyze they very thing to discover how it weakens me.
I believe support is wonderful... but a person succeeds first in their head and heart, all alone, like Christ in Gethsemane. Even though the disciples waited at the gate, He was ultimately alone. Life is not always a team sport. I may have friends or all the love of a family but on my mission and in my life´s race, my body and bones lift my tired legs one after another. Its my forehead sweating and my chest that screams for air. I have had to learn to build that inner strength and learn to trust it; I can endure much more than I give myself credit for.
My mission is living proof of that. I made it. I did it. I went and I did. I have done all that the Lord has asked of me. I know on Friday, when I leave this beautiful country, I will be able to smile and finally relax knowing that I gave my WHOLE HEART to this place and people. To my Savior. I have to testify that I KNOW HE lives. I know it because I have felt Him in the moments when I didn´t feel I could walk anymore. I know this church is true. I have seen this gospel change lives. I have come to understand what charity really is and how the atonement works. How it changes people. And how its changed me. I would talk about all the changes but..... I guess I´ll just have to tell you in person :) I am Hermana Brown. This is who I am. I know by the end of this week the chapa (name tag) will be off, but these roots have sunk deep into my heart. I will forever be Hermana Brown. I know this isn´t the end, its only the beginning.
SEE YALL FRIDAY!
And for the very last time,
With all the love in my heart,
|I will miss these beautiful people!!!|