Okay everyone. I'm here. It's Nicole again, and no longer Hermana Okeson. And let me tell you what, it's weird. So weird. I think I'm one of those squirrely RM's I used to make fun of. I keep making my sisters bed, and then after I finish my studies I wonder what to do with my life. I've practiced flute and come to the decision that you sound a little (okay maybe a lot) rusty after 1.5 years and that patience that apparently I failed to develop as a missionary is going to have another chance to develop itself in my life.
Coming home was good. The time felt right, and in some ways spending my last transfer in a new area made going home easier, I was less attached and then no one knew I was leaving so there was no huge fuss. I was able to go out working, which is what I wanted. The last night in the mission home was fun, and I enjoyed spending time with the Taylors and the other departing missionaries. It was a little weird because the group I went home with was almost all English missionaries, and as a Spanish missionary I really didn't have much contact with a lot of them. But it was fun none the less. We had a great time talking about lessons learned as missionaries and setting goals for the future. I also had the great opportunity to be taken to the mission home by my Grandma, which was just F.U.N. It was great to get to see her even if it was just for a short time.
The actual flight was long and un-eventful for the most part. I did get to talk with a young mother on the longer flight and help her through security in Japan and then hook her up with the mormon.org website... so my missionary work isn't done. It was pretty fun, I enjoyed chatting with her and getting to invite her to learn more. I've got to do some follow up on that one. Besides that it was just a long experience, being a missionary for a year and a half has made me incredibly not good at just sitting around, so one day of flying and traveling just about killed me. I was pretty excited to get off of that last airplane. The reunion with my family was good, although a little delayed, as my suitcase got lost and so I spent a good hour trying to communicate with the baggage people in Shanghai... I realized pretty quick that my Spanish wasn't going to help me here. Super frustrating to speak more than one language and for neither one to be any good. Oh well. One hour after everyone else had gone through the gates I finally made it through to see my family, video camera and signs in hand waiting for me. I always joked that they sent me out a white girl and I was coming home a Mexican, but when I saw my family I realized it was true. One and a half years later I am now the short brown one of the family. My siblings all really shot up in height and all I did was get brown. haha.
So now I'm home, trying to finish adjusting... Mostly I'm just working at getting myself into some type of shape to start school in two weeks. I think that will be good for me. I'm not so good at just sitting around anymore, and I keep wanting to daily and weekly plan. I also keep wanting to start everything with a prayer, which for my flute playing is probably a good idea. But it's all good. I'm really enjoying the time with my family. I have a year and a half of harassing saved up for my brothers and I am enjoying spending time with them.
I'm enjoying sharing my experiences with them and taking some time to look back over all that I have learned and experienced as a missionary. It sure goes fast, I didn't realize before I left how fast it would go, but man, it has gone by really fast. I miss it, but I know that this is the next phase in my life and I am excited to see what lies in store. I have more to do, and like I said before I was released, just because the name tag is off, doesn't mean that I am done being a missionary, I have had a year and a half of great training and I am excited to continue to look for chances to serve and help others.
Thank you once again to all of you for your prayers and support. I appreciate it so much.