It’s been over a year since Scotty and I settled in south Florida and it’s been a year of adjustments, punctuated by a few melt-downs and little victories. As very close friends can attest, it’s a good thing I didn’t write very much during the first six to nine months of our settling in. Despite the relentless sunshine my outlook was pretty dreary. I could find very little (nothing) to like about our new home. Sure, it was nice to have an apartment that was more than six times the size of our Paris flat. Sure there were things that were more convenient. Yes, it was warm. All these “positives” made me crave the grey skies of Edinburgh, the tiny cosiness of our 180 square foot apartment in Paris, and the ability to walk anywhere. A few trips to the beach reminded me that I’m just not a “beach person” and I would much rather hang out in a city park. Finding quality produce was an exercise in frustration. And I didn’t see beauty anywhere.
Now that we’re beginning our second year here, a fact I can scarcely believe, I think I’m getting a handle on things. There are so many things about this place that I simply don’t understand. Why do so many of the men living here wax their eyebrows? I don’t know why anyone would empty their catheter onto the street while sitting in their car, but I’ve seen that happen here. I don’t know why that other dude was walking around with nothing on but a tank top, old whitey tighties and Crocs. I’m not sure why fraud is so incredibly rampant down here, but it is. I’m also not sure why the county we now call home has the highest HIV infection rate in the country. And frankly, I’m still really not sure why anyone lives here by choice, but I’m learning to just accept that this is a place that’s unique and is now a part of my story. As new friends have said in reference to S. Florida, “You can’t explain it, you just have to accept that it is what it is.”
Outside of the conundrums of culture, Scotty and I have been blessed with an amazing church and a growing circle of friends. Cultivating an attitude of grateful contentment is something I’ve struggled with over the past year but the knowledge that this is where the Lord has us for now is so comforting. Making connections and getting to know people has made all the difference, as it always does. I constantly remind myself that I didn’t like Edinburgh until we started making friends and it makes me so grateful that we were created for community. And so, a year after our repatriation, I looking forward to our next year here. Our little family is growing, there is anticipation, and profound gratitude.