I killed my first chicken last night. Part of our training was that we managed a chicken coop and raised 40-day chickens. Well, the chickens are ready for eating and each of us got to take one home to our families. Michelle came over to watch the process because she decided to "hide behind a tree" (her words, not mine) and not watch for her chicken's demise. My host mother showed me how to tie up the legs, and we hung it from a tree. Then I took the chicken by the back, put my hand around the neck, pulled, and snapped the head backward. This method was pretty successful, but not as fast as I'd hoped for. It took me a couple of tries to finally kill it. At least I didn't pull a Kristen and actually rip the head off the body. Sorry if this sounds serial-killerish, but I find that hilarious. How many people do you know that have literally ripped the head off of something? Not many. My host mother and sister gave me the most horrified faces when I asked "Why can't I just chop off the head with a machete?" Apparently that way is kind of messy. I'll get to eat it on Saturday.
It's getting HOT here. Ridiculously hot. I still have no idea how to convert from Celsius to Fahrenheit, but apparently it's been getting up to 110F here during the day. My room is a total sweat box, and opening the window does nothing. I've even had hot showers for the last few days... and of course it's on the days when all you really want is a COLD shower. =D Figures. It's become very obvious that Christmas is just not going to feel like a Michigan Christmas here.
Maybe it's the heat, or maybe it's the holidays, but I have been battling off some homesickness this last week or so. I'm sure I'll slap out of it. With training coming to a close, it's time for me to get mentally prepared to move to my site and do this alone. When I joined the Peace Corps, I obviously wasn't looking for a resort weekend on the beach. I knew this would be challenging and mentally exhausting, but ultimately worth it. I always knew that moving away from friends and family would be difficult, and we've definitely invented our own sort of family structure here, but still it's hard to put aside and let go of everything happening at home.
God led me to Paraguay for a lot of reasons... things I'm still waiting to discover. As much of a professional challenge this is, and even through all the personal transformation it will lead to, I can't ignore the spiritual and moral challenges of living away from my usual support system. It's more difficult than I expected. Especially as the Christmas season comes around and I begin to leaf through the first chapters of Luke, I just wish that I had someone to discuss them with.
There's a song by Caedmon's Call that has meant a lot to me for quite a few years now, and it always encourages me when I hear it:
Lead of Love
Looking back at the road so far
The journey's left its share of scars
Mostly from leaving the narrow and straight
Looking back it is clear to me
That a man is more than the sum of his deeds
And how You've made good of this mess I've made
Is a profound mystery
Looking back You know You had to bring me through
All that I was so afraid of
Though I questioned the sky, now I see why
Had to walk the rocks to see the mountain view
Looking back I see the lead of love
Looking back I can finally see (I'd rather have wisdom)
How failures bring humility (than be)
Brings me to my knees (a comfortable fool)
Helps me see my need for Thee
It just goes to show that even when we feel like we're in the dark and things are rough, there's always a bigger picture. So much of my time here has already been spent focusing purely on the professional aspects of this job, and I'm about to move into the more interpersonal relationships side of things when I move to my site. It may not be until I get home, that I see the changes I've made within my own life. One of the major driving factors to me going to South America was to challenge myself personally in a way that I'd never done. I wanted not only a change of circumstances, but a change in me.
The homesickness that I'm facing... sure it's bending me, but I'm not going to break. It's amazing how many highs and lows I go through every day. Such is life I guess. God has blessed me with a great group of new friends and more different experiences in 2 months than I had in a whole year last year. I mean... I killed a chicken yesterday! WHAT?! Haha. Life here can be rough, but it's all in the attitude. Guess I need to keep mine in check. ;)
I'm not a huge fan of how this vid was made... not crazy about random photo montages... at least pick a theme. ;) But the song is great!