After two and a half years, Buenos Aires has come to feel like home. For a girl with a strong homing sense for the State of Maine, this is no small feat! At age 18, I moved for the very first time to study in Michigan and God has kept me moving since. After graduating university, I completely surrendered my next steps to God, asking Him to use me as He willed. God must have a sense of humor, because He chose to bring me to Argentina to be a schoolteacher—something I wouldn’t have thought of myself and something I couldn’t do on my own. During that transition from student to teacher, I moved house, state, and country a total of seven times in eight months.
And now it’s time to move again.
With all the changes I faced in coming here and the ones I’m facing now in leaving, I’m challenged with the question: What and where is home?
We all know that home is not just a building, but is it a place? Is it the general atmosphere, the Buena Onda, and the comfort? Is it the familiarity of the street, knowing which broken tiles to avoid, where exactly to lift and how to place your feet? Is it recognition? I know the trees in all their different-seasoned clothes. Is it expectations that are then fulfilled? Maybe it’s foresight or experience? I know my neighbors’ morning routine and see them do it every day: “Dale, dale!” They rush out the door with backpacks in hands, calling out, “Nos fuimos!” to the little one lagging behind. Is it simply repetition of going to the same grocer to get the same fruits and veggies and have variations of the same conversation? We volley “Todo bien?” back and forth to the people we pass on the way to work.
Maybe home is something more like community and finding your place. Having a role to serve in a ministry gives back to me much more than I can give. It provides the feeling of living out my purpose, so is that my home? Is home the phrase my mom embroidered and hung on the wall: “Home is where they love you”? Maybe it’s acceptance, appreciation, and finding a group that encourages you to be yourself and others to be themselves.
I don’t have all the answers to these questions yet and, frankly, I don’t want to— I like to wonder, just as I like to wander. But I do know this: Home is much more than the questions I’ve posed. It encompasses the people and places, the familiar faces of your community and the memories made, as well as the personal struggles and life trials, but it’s even more. In short, home is your resting place. For those of us who have been found by Jesus, we have found our forever home with Him. This home not only travels with us wherever we may go, but also takes us to places we could never have imagined. It is a home that restores our soul, a home that becomes familiar without ever growing dull or old. It is a solid foundation in any situation, a safe place in any tribulation, a sturdy base of comfort, and a constant spring of inspiration. Jesus is my home who can never be lost, sold, left, changed or taken away. He gives me community and teaches me my task within it, just as He did over these past few years.
Leaving provides the space for reflection on how humbled and thankful I am for the community God gave me in Buenos Aires. At the very top of the “Things I’ll Miss List” sits my BAICA family and the dearest, most loving and lovable students I’ll ever know. In saying goodbye, I cling to this gratitude for the past and hope for the future. As sad as I am to leave and as glad as I am to go, I hear God’s call to remember in whom, not what or where, I find my home.
Third Grade Teacher