We made the brave decision to take a hiatus from our “working class life” to spend time abroad, learning from others, reflecting, sharing, volunteering, serving, and interning in Latin America. Tyler and I also had a deal, that since in the past I (Sharon) have been the driving force behind our travel adventures, that next time he could choose. Yes, we basically run our marriage like a great “Choose Your Own Adventure Book” in many ways. Thus, it has been Tyler’s dream to go to exotic and unique Buenos Aires, land of great beef, wine, and tango dancing, and I, ever-true to my word, obliged and started scheming our next trip.
It soon became apparent that what we really wanted was much more than a “trip,” a vacation, or a semester-abroad, but open-ended time to free ourselves to truly learn from others and listen to what God speaks into our lives, our marriage, and our future. One-way plane tickets were on our horizon.
We decided to catiously plan the “first phase” our journey for Buenos Aires, utilitizing a study abroad agency based there. We discovered I could use an Education Award I earned during my service in AmeriCorps at Global Visionaries to fund a good portion of the trip, by taking an “International Internship” class through Seattle Central Community College. We were also offered a program discount for both of us enrolling, and the agency was very flexible and agreed to work with us on housing and designing our own programs. So, we plan to spend at least four months in BA, getting oriented, taking intensive spanish classes at the Universidad de Buenos Aires, staying with a home-stay, and yours truly will complete a three-month internship at a local non-profit.
After that, well, we’ll see what happens. We have many ideas that may turn into action: backpacking and rock climbing in Patagonia (and seeing penguins, Tyler’s favorite!), staying on a YYAM base in Mendoza for a time, helping with their ministries, WOOFing on a farm or vinyard, meeting up with old friends in Guatemala, seeing the sights of Peru, exploring the deep indigenous cultures in Oaxaca and Chiapas, Mexico, re-connecting with non-profits in Mexico City, and perhaps, if we’re lucky, visiting the beloved congregation of La Joyita in Esenada, Mexico, where I’ve gone for three years in a row with APU’s Mexico Outreach teams.
Needless to say, it might not all happen, I might decide I can’t live without my precious Kitten for that long, and demand to go home. We might decide that we’re tired of spending our savings to wander around a continent, “learning’ and “listening.” Best-case scenario: we might get offered a job somewhere along the way, and decide to stay for a few years (meaning, I could bring the Kitten to us!). We might decide we can’t resist any longer the temptation to live with our dear friends in Portland, Oregon. But, we’re open to all the options that might await us, and we’ve committed to faithfully “planning” only the first phase of our journey, and seeing where God leads us from there.