I came home on the last official day of the West Indies mission - June 30th, 2015. On July 1st while we celebrated Canada Day at home, the mission ceased to exist and split into two new missions: Trinidad Port of Spain Mission and Barbados Bridgetown Mission. It's what the mission office people worked so hard for, for so long! and was (and still is) not without its significant stresses...so it's good it's (almost) all accomplished.
While I was in Trinidad, I wondered why I was learning so much I felt I didn't need to know, about Church administration. No answers yet - I'm still wondering.
But it was sure a learning experience.
I discovered that each island - even Tobago - is a separate entity with a separate, even if related, culture; so that can make life difficult for those trying to deal with 7 different islands (ie, different countries), like in the new mission...even if it's less than in the old mission - but I feel the Trinidadian people will be glad to have a mission named after, and headquartered on, their island.
Already the homecoming adjustment has made my head swim - I've been cold when everyone else was saying it was hot out; my sleep schedule is all out of whack; I can't remember what season it is (rainy or dry?); and sometimes I wonder why the language here sounds so un-musical! I re-read Elder Pearson's General Conference talk from April 2015 - my favorite - just to re-visit that musical repetition I love: "every day, every day, every day" which sounds so much like the regular "hi hi!" or "morning morning" greetings I'd sometimes get in Trinidad.
And I still instinctively carry my purse on my right shoulder to properly show off my missionary tag on the left side....oh whoops, it's not there anymore, I forgot for a minute....
One young sister missionary I knew well, said she cried after coming home, up until the first transfer point (6 weeks after her return) - by then she'd adjusted. An older fellow I talked to reminisced about how hard it was to take off his missionary tag; he left it on for 2 weeks, til his mom finally made him take it off!
It truly is a unique and special experience (even if my mission assignment was more "short-long" as my nephew says) and it's a little hard to let go of...
It was short but intense.
My ward in Cardston welcomed me home today with many hugs; so wonderful. But during Relief Society as someone read the words to a lesser-known hymn, I realized I could teach it to my Trine friends using only 3 chords, and away my mind raced....
My homecoming plan is to teach piano/keyboard online from here, to Trinidad, from Aug-Dec this year (on Google Hangouts) and see how it goes. We started to set it up before I left. The 4 months or so I taught, was just too short to do much good....so after a brief pause, I'll be back at it again!
I'll just be a little colder ;-)