Today, I’m thinking about two arrivals–
One is the obvious: my team’s arrival in Santo Domingo. Twelve days ago, we touched down on the little island of Hispanola, and as the Dominicans are quick to say, “The First Place of the New World.” Columbus anchored his ship here first (three arrivals, I guess). Our arrival was incredibly smooth, apart from a delay in Miami. This is what I wrote the night we arrived, at two in the morning, when I was finally settled into my room:
The overwhelming sentiment of my mind for the past few days has been, “I’m so grateful.” I’m grateful to get to go on a summer project. I’m grateful for the people I am leading with. I’m grateful for my students. I’m grateful to be back in la Republica Dominicana. I’m grateful for my fan. If I had to explain my gratefulness, I probably wouldn’t be able to tell you why I have such a strong emotion and response of gratitude for these things, but I recognize the feeling. In it is life and rest that I have been missing this year. In it, is a reclaiming of my given ability and inheritance to choose joy.
As we waited and waited and waited today (for that is what traveling is all about–waiting), my anticipation simmered like a soup in winter. When we stepped onto Dominican soil (or rather, tarmac and formica), all I felt was impatience to get through the airport to the faces I knew were waiting, Leyla and Prospero. My rational brain says this is silliness. After all, I can’t even carry on a real conversation with either one. But to my rational brain I say, “Be quiet. Go sit in the corner until I call on you.” No, I can’t explain my affection or the movement of my heart towards this little island. But it is a true movement or impulse in my being. I felt glad at the humidity, glad at the prickle of Prospero’s cheek as we kissed hello, glad at the face of Jose, the taxi driver we knew last summer, glad at the feel of a little reckless island driving, glad at the beeping horns. Just glad.
Here’s a picture to go with arrival number one:
The second arrival has to do with me. It’s hard for me to jump into a new group of people and feel connected quickly. I need a period of time where I can hang back a little and observe, get my feet wet before jumping in. What helps me to feel comfortable and connected to the group as a whole is if I have been able to spend time one-on-one or with smaller groups within the large group. It’s just my process and it takes varying amounts of time. I jumped in sometime over the weekend, and it’s really refreshing to be in the pool with everyone else. Just some musing on my own stuff.