Settling In

After 4.5 months in Uruguay, we were blessed this week to receive our belongings from the US. It was a happy, if somewhat chaotic reunion! To give a little history, when we left San Diego in January 2014 we chose to send a small quantity of our things (a container that is 7 feet by 7 feet by 4 feet, and another about half that size) by boat to Uruguay. We researched and considered either shipping all of our things, shipping nothing, or compromising with a small amount, which is what we chose. We heard horror stories of missionaries having a terrible time getting their things out of customs, but, knowing that manufactured goods are very expensive in Uruguay, we decided to go ahead and take the risk. What fit in our bin? Well, after paring down all but the basics, we were able to fit all of my kitchens things (minus the crock pots and anything I don’t use often), our bedding and towels, a small quantity of our best home school books and supplies including a computer, a few of my books, Ray’s pastoral library, a good quantity of laundry baskets, hampers, plastic bins and a few small pieces of furniture. After saying goodbye to these things we spent the next year on the road raising support and moving to Montevideo. Although we have felt a bit more settled lately, it helps to have our things.

To be honest it seemed to take a long time to get our things from the boat. We were really beginning to miss some of our important home school curriculum, especially our Teaching Textbooks math disks. That and towels and bedding and pots and pans–although our missionary teammates generously shared many of their home supplies to help us survive. We were under the impression that we needed to have our residency paperwork in progress before we would be allowed to get our things out of customs without having to pay a large non-refundable fee. So we didn’t even ask them to send them from the port in San Diego until early December, when we felt sure we were about to be able to open our paperwork with the government. We ended up being wrong about two things–our residency paperwork was nowhere close to being underway in December, and in fact it is still is not underway; and second, we didn’t actually need it to be underway after all! So one day two weeks ago we got news that our things were in the port in Montevideo. Ray just needed to do various things with the government to get it approved. He did that, and a week later a moving company came to our door to give us our precious load. It took a while, but we praise God that the process was smooth and incident free and not at all like our residency process.

We have spent the last few days unpacking. I am still unsure about how I should wash all the bedding, as we don’t yet have laundry hook ups and the laundromat is quite pricey. But we are happy to reunite with our stuff. The children have been busy with building blocks and legos, playing ping pong (we have a net that attaches to any dining room table) and reading books. Ray has been busy getting our computer up and runningĀ  so the kids can start their school subjects, specifically math and Spanish. And it looks like the other part of our house that is currently under renovation will be ready for us to move into soon. This is great timing as we are stuffed into a small space right now.

Having our possessions helps us feel more settled. We still have a while of unpacking and waiting for the second part of our house. But it is a blessing for us to look back over the past 4 months and see what a long way we have come. We understand the Spanish around here so much more. We understand the bus system and taxis better now. A lot of the embarrassing mistakes that we inevitably have to make in a new culture/language have already been made. Plans for the future church plant are getting underway. It is a happy time of settling in. As missionaries we are frequently reminded that this world is not our home; and yet we thank God for the opportunity to make this house, however temporary it may be, homey and comfortable.

2 thoughts on “Settling In”

  1. Oh yes, I remember those days in a new land. 24 years ago I’m moved from the UK to Canada … those early days and years were exciting and challenging … I hope you all settle in quickly and find your groove. (I’m came here from Sunday Women) nice to have visited here – Shelley

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