One month ago we climbed onto a plane with 12 pieces of luggage in tow to begin this next chapter. In some ways it feels like our life in Chicago is part of some distant past. We have brushed off our Spanish and jumped into life here in Quito once again. Our kids have quickly learned to not ask for glasses of water from the faucet and (grandparents avert your eyes) are relishing the fact that if there is not enough space, car seats become optional. The sound of trucks rolling by, honking horns to sell tanks of gas feels comfortable and familiar and our lungs are everyday adjusting more and more to our life nearly 2 miles from sea level.
This month has been filled with the tasks of settling in, as the months to come will be as well. We have registered our visas and found a home to rent not far from the kids’ school. We have purchased a car and have made what seems like a million trips to the grocery store to start to restock our pantry and kitchen. The kids have done an evaluation at the school they will attend in the fall and we have been to the weekly IPEE devotions. We have had meals with friends to reconnect after years apart and met with the rector of the seminary to discuss and dream of future ministry plans. We’ve done a lot of paperwork and ran errand after errand after errand. I am praying that our children have more memories from the summer we moved to Ecuador other than driving in the car, waiting in the car and sitting in traffic in our car.
This work of settling in feels unending at times. I thought a lot about this time of settling in when we were in our season of being uprooted in Chicago. The uprooting had a character all its own, but I knew we would be faced with yet another season of unique feelings and challenges once our feet were on Ecuadorian soil once again. I wish I could wake up tomorrow and all of our bags would be unpacked and we would have the furniture that we needed in order to do the unpacking. I wish we already knew all our neighbors and our daily rhythms demanded fewer errands to be run.
However overwhelming it can feel at times, I also believe that this season of settling in is important. We are learning to establish roots, deep roots. We are doing the sacred work of taking a house and transforming it into a home. We are remembering what it is to walk in step with our Ecuadorian neighbors and take on a cadence that is different from the place we called home for the past few years. We are doing our best to remember well all that has been accomplished in this past month when we still feel unsettled. And also to remember that often the most important is not a task to be accomplished, but who we are to others and who we are becoming in the midst of those tasks.