So, I've been home for two weeks now. So far, the big questions for the R.M. on everyone's lips have been, "How are you adjusting?" and "Do you feel so weird?" or "What's it like to not have a companion all the time, do you feel lonely now?" But strangely, I have to say that the adjustment has seemed relatively smooth! There are those who return from their missions and are socially retarded and take weeks, even months to get out of the habits they had formed in the field (some of which are good, and should be maintained, but some of which are completely unnecessary and unrealistic to keep in "real" life). They ask their parents the questions that come up in companionship inventory and feel completely useless if every moment of the day isn't filled with a "meaningful finding activity." Jared (formerly known as Elder Johns), who has been staying here for a few wonderful days, agrees that the transition has been smooth. We wondered if maybe that meant we were crappy missionaries... Then we decided that the adjustment is only as weird as you want it to be. There are those who WANT to have a weird experience coming home (maybe to prolong the attention you get as a pre-, mid- and post-missionary?), and thus it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Coming home from a mission can be a socially-crippling time, but only if you let it. The trick is to keep doing the good things that they meant for you to do when you go home, and drop the ones they didn't. It requires a continued and constant relationship with the Spirit, which might seem like a lessened thing, just because you're not so involved with the work of the Lord, but you're just as worthy to have the Spirit after a mission, and in fact, it's even more important that you do. I won't say I don't miss some parts of the mission, and I'm sure I always will, but things begin and end, and must do so, and it was definitely time. I had the experience I thought I would never be privileged to have, and I am grateful for it, but it was time to move on.
So how have I spent my time since I came home? Watching every youtube attraction Elise has been dying to show me, catching up on the best movies that I've been waiting to see, calling friends back in WI to see how things are going and encourage the younger Hmong elders who are now suddenly thrust into leadership positions at a relatively young mission age, at last finishing the Harry Potter and A Series of Unfortunate Events book series, updating my website, spending time with friends and family, meeting the niece that I had only heard and seen pictures of, prepping myself to meet the future in-law, resting, recouping, and, one of the best parts of all, spending time by myself. I am so glad to be back with everyone, but like Mom pointed out once, sometimes I just like to be alone. So quiet, I don't have to worry if someone's annoyed by my music or if I don't have anything in particular to say, not having to explain every little thing... It's been nice, after all that craziness and busyness. It's true, parts of me have changed since I left, some things that were all-important to me before just aren't anymore, but the most important things have remained intact. I think I'm still me. On Friday, Johns and I went to our first mission reunion in Sandy, and we were glad to see so many of our old friends. Some married (a couple having met in the field... hmmmm...), some engaged (some BARELY engaged... just in time for the reunion...), some dating, some still single, and a lot coming with old mission friends, like we did. The Hunts are doing well, and we had a great time catching up with people. After that, we were all blessed with the 178th Semi-Annual General Conference, President Monson's first as the President of the Church. His humor is intact, and the Church seems to be in capable hands. It's good to see how smoothly the Church operates, especially after such an event as the death of the Prophet. The work goes forth! I listened to the whole thing online in Hmong, and heard one or two old mission companions translating (that'll be me in October!), but was also reminded of the not-too-long-ago times when I decided I had had enough of really long church meetings... Twice a year is perfect.
All is going well. I still can't believe I'm even an R.M. at all! Slap that social status on me! Here I am, girls, at last worthy of your attention!!!