There the girls and I sat in the United lounge waiting for our boarding call to the United States and not for one minute did we take that moment for granted.  How many times during our first few months in Argentina did we long for this day? Sitting here now in my Colorado home I feel so far from that day, the culture we experienced, and our friends in South America; it almost feels like a dream. Possibly the delusional side effects of World Cup fever.

I found myself watching “Castaway” a few days before leaving Argentina.  Remember the movie with Tom Hanks where his plane went down and he survived for several years on an island?  After he was rescued there was a party in his honor and he walked up and just looked at the pile of crab legs that prior to that moment he had struggled so hard to get for his survival.  That some ironic feeling is how we felt the moment we walked through immigrations and landed in duty free.  Right before our eyes was Victoria Secret. I thought Lyndsey would pass out from the sight of “Pink”.  As we entered the United lounge we were welcomed with perfect American English speaking hostesses and across the room were touristy Americans talking way to loud and way too much.  Music to our ears, we were half way home!

Prior to leaving BA we had a busy week of concerts, parties and to our surprise talent shows.  Doug and I watched the girls participate  in the Lincoln school talent show and were so proud.  The American International School really promotes creative expression and thinking.  There are so many different backgrounds and cultures no one fits into a cookie cutter mold, so my theory is kids have more freedom to just be themselves.  As is customary in the expatriate community we also witnessed sad, sad goodbyes.  No matter how many times we go through this, I will never get better at saying goodbye, I cry like a baby every time.  We said goodbye to some amazing people who we were blessed to have in our lives if only for six months.  The Lincoln school had a great quote from Dr. Suess at the middle school assembly “ Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened”  This really resonated with Lyndsey, I think she gets it that even though it hurts to say goodbye, she appreciates having had a brief time with these very cool international friends.  Although I agree with the quote, I know I will always be doing more crying than smiling when it is time to say goodbye.

With every move I believe it takes six months to get in the groove.  So just when we were getting very comfortable with our new friends, we had to say goodbye.   Interesting to me that we could be so invested after only six months, but that is life in an expatriate community. These friends are your family, your support and you rely on them exclusively.  In all 40 Lincoln families left our community, with just as many scheduled to join us next semester. It is a revolving door and I have been told over and over, “get us to it”.  Like learning a foreign language, some things are just easier when you have learned them from an early age.  For families who have moved their entire lives it is natural for them to keep moving and saying goodbye, for me who never left my hometown until the age of 30, it is torture.   Doug spent a lot of his childhood moving, so moving for him is natural.   For my girls, I believe it will be natural as well.  Lyndsey told me the other day she would like to be a teacher in an American School abroad someday.  They are now considered “Third Cultural Kids”, kids who have lived in a culture outside of their own.  Amazing and sad to me how many women I have met who have no one culture to identify with; their passport may be to Germany, but they have not lived there since they were a very young child.    They speak mulitple languages and have lived in multiple counties so they identify with no home culture. This will never be me, I am American and I will not be gone long.  I am however a forever changed American.  Perhaps one that is even more appreciative of her country, more respectful of “legal” immigrants, a little less loud, a little more patient, and hopefully way more relaxed.  As a cultural we are a little uptight, Argentina taught me this in the first week.

So we entered the country by Lyndsey running off the plane doing a dance through the terminal.  Once again, we made our presence known.  The security crew no doubt recognized us from our last trip through the airport with our 19 pieces of luggage and we have probably been added to the no fly list.  To have everything you love and that is so familiar to you gone from your life took its toll on the girls and I throughout our first six months in Argentina.  So getting off that plane and walking into the Denver airport will go down as one of our all time greatest moments.

Since being home we are doing what Americans do best “Consume, Consume, Consume” We have shopped, lunched, and shopped some more.   We have visited with family and friends, and the girls really got back into the swing of sports and skating with their old friends only to have to leave it all again.  It is proving to be very difficult to have a life in two worlds and it is heartbreaking for me to watch Lauryn leave her Colorado soccer team and Lyndsey leave her skating.  Although it will be extremely difficult to leave again what we love so much, I have a feeling that our time in Argentina is not yet complete.  We still have more to learn and more adventures to experience.  God has something to tell us and I am trying to talk less and listen more for a change. We plan to do much more traveling this next semester and I personally have very high hopes of moving past 3.0 in tennis with Sergio as my instructor.  Lauryn has showed a great interest in tennis, however I think she just likes playing on the clay courts, either way I love that she loves it as much as me.   Both girls will be working hard in soccer but Lyndsey will be working extra hard to make the team that travels to Brazil.   She played last semester, but prior to that not since 4th grade and competition is tough.  Most of all I am anxious to get the girls back to learning Spanish.

So we begin our countdown to Argentina culture re-entry, and it is becoming clear that dragging Lyndsey to the airport to board the plane to Argentina will no doubt be yet again tortuous, but I leave feeling we have a purpose and that makes all the difference.

As always we greatly appreciate your continued prayers.

Much love, The Parkers