I was abruptly awoken this morning by the sound of fireworks. I turned over to look at the sky-light in my room & saw their flashes. It was as if they were right above my room. I glanced at my clock, 12:06am. I laid there until they ended thinking about everyone I miss & realizing this was going to be the first independence day I spend without celebrating in the U.S. Besides the fireworks this morning, which could have been shot off for any reason (I've heard fireworks many times here), nothing else reminded me of the holiday today.
I spent the entire day with Patricia & here family. She & her husband have two sons Facundo (6) & Tommy (13). I helped her make an amazing lunch of homemade noodles, meatballs, tomato sauce, salad & bread. I then spent most of the afternoon playing games & running a few errands with them. Patricia & I then met up with her friend & her sister to visit a home where they sell clothes & random accessories. The house was huge, by far the nicest I have been to while here. After looking at everything the ladies there served us delicious coffee & cakes while they all spoke a mile a minute. I can nearly follow any conversation now. If I can figure out the topic, even if I don't catch every word, it's fairly easy to follow what's going on. Needless to say, I am exhausted.
While listening to the ladies & observing their body language, I realized just how odd & awkward Americans must seem to foreigners sometimes. Americans would come off so cold, unfriendly & awkward on first impression. Here, when you meet some one for the first time you feel so welcomed. They do everything they can to make you feel comfortable. You can tell they are genuinely interested in who you are. When I attend youth or college church meetings there are always 2 or 3 people that look out for me, sit with me & include me in everything they do. I also love that people here exchange kisses on the cheek when greeting & saying goodbye. I've gotten so used to doing it, I hope I don't go home & completely freak some one out.
This weekend has been tough for me though. I really miss people, it was difficult knowing I wasn't there for my best friend Hannah's big day & not celebrating today was kinda sad.
I love you all, thinking & praying for you.
Happy Independence Day from South America!