Well I can start by saying that the past 10 days have been a whirlwind. A brief summary would be I got insanely ill starting last Monday night, ended up spending 6 days in two different hospitals in Buenos Aires, was released on Monday and although I was feeling better there was still a question mark of what type of bacterial stomach infection I have and why on top of this I had extremely low anemic blood levels. So it was either go back to my host families home and find ways to commute the 1.5 hour drive to this hospital to continue on with tests for the next couple months or get on a plane back to Minnesota to continue with my home doctor here. I am writing this post from my parents’ kitchen in Minnesota.
When I imagined living in Argentina for a year, I imagined it would be hard, I imagined there would be days of loneliness and missing, I imagined there would struggles with the language….but I never imagined the types of medical difficulties that I have encountered this year. Hard days are one thing, but hard days when you’re sick, no one knows what is wrong with you, you’re in a hospital that is very different than any hospital you’ve ever seen, the doctors are speaking only Spanish and you’re on the other side of the world from your family and people who are very worried about you….now that brings hard to a new level.
As difficult as the past 10 days have been, there were also some beautiful things that I was experiencing throughout it all. I saw this community of people, people that I have been spending my days with and getting to know for the past 7 months, rise up all around me. I had phone calls from my host family’s friends and relatives, texts from many of the friends I’ve made and people who I worked with, accompaniment from my pastor Fabby during talks with the doctors, visitors such as my host family, a woman from my congregation, two other YAGM volunteers and pastors of different churches calling to tell me their congregations were praying for me.
Being in isolation at the hospital, since they were unaware if what I had was highly contagious or not they kept me quarantined, really gave me a lot of time to reflect back on the past 7 months and all the people I have come to know, all the things I have learned and all the experiences I have been blessed to have. On Friday I was sitting in my hospital bed and I received a text from a 26-year-old guy named Marcos who I had been tutoring in English every Wednesday afternoon. His text said, ‘Hey Andrea how are you feeling? I wanted to let you know I passed my English exam last week because of you!! Thank you so much for helping me!!’ He takes a separate English class where you have to pass an annual exam to move onto the next level- he dreams to one day be able to quit his house painting job and be an English teacher. He’s now just a year away.
That text as well as all of the other loving care I received from my host communities the past two weeks has been blowing my mind. I didn’t know a single one of these people 7 months ago when I arrived here, so terrified, having no idea what to expect for the next year of my life. And now they were the ones taking care of me and comforting me while I was extremely sick. I can’t thank them enough.
On Tuesday night my congregation of San Pablo gave me a very nice going away dinner where I received little gifts and speeches from many of the people I’d come to love. I had time to go out on a little outing with my host family and make chocolate chip cookies one more time with my youngest host brother Axel before flying out Wednesday night. On my last night my host family all came into my room and brought me two gifts. One was a beautiful silver necklace with the tree of life on it- ‘so that I can keep growing into the woman God created me to be.’ The other gift was a copy of their house key on a keychain that said Argentina, ‘because you are forever a part of our family and you, your family, and Brady are welcome back into our house any time for the rest of your lives.’
Saying goodbye to these communities and my host family earlier than I ever expected I would have to, was the hardest thing. These people all touched my life in more ways than they will ever truly know. It’s been one big unbelievable journey. Now I sit in my family’s home in Minnesota, waiting for more test results back from my doctors appointment this morning, praying that God has some huge plan in the works that I just don’t know about yet. I trusted His call to follow my heart down to Argentina and now I need to trust that He’ll just keep leading me toward my next step in life.
Thank you all for following along with my blog. Having you along side of me through all the ups and downs and amazing moments has been such a blessing.