No, I am not saying that Taylor feels like she is a big kid. I am say she “feels” big, like she has big feelings! I know that many of you who know Taylor know exactly what I am talking about. Often the worst day ever and the best day ever happen within 20 minutes of each other. CRAZY, I know! But that is our Taylor. I made her a sign for her room last Christmas that says “She loves big” and it has quickly become one of her favorites. Well folks… nothing has changed in this regard!! Taylor is still always all in with her emotions. Sometimes this is very helpful and sometimes we just roll our eyes and say “here we go.”
Taylor has loved so many things about being down here. When we were preparing to come, often she would talk about the mango trees and the people. Those have proved to be a great thing here. We enjoy many mangoes all the time and apparently they aren’t even in season yet. This was great news when Taylor heard this.
Taylor has made some good connections and there are girls at school that constantly crowd around her, touch her hairi and try to converse. It is hard for our girl of many words to not have much to say… because she doesn’t know the words yet. She is learning more everyday and is still asking for sleepovers and play dates. Although sleepovers probably won’t come, one play date has and she loved it! She loves being with the people of Colombia! There was a 10th grade gal walking by our house the other day and Taylor pulled her into our house to show Juliana her room:) I know I’ve had a volleyball player or two who have had that SAME EXACT experience back in Hesston:)
Taylor has been the one that has struggled the most expressing and finding outlets to the emotions she is feeling. We are constantly trying to talk her through and give her assistance, but often it is hard. We had one week before school started that was the toughest, but since school started she seems to be leveling out. One moment she loves the attention that her blond hair brings and the next she expresses that she wants to dye it. She sometimes brightens her smile when she is told she looks like a doll or a princess and other times she hides behind me and tells me she doesn’t want to be called that. We are working through managing our feelings! One moment she hated the school uniforms because her PE pants made her look big, (my heart broke when I heard her say that) and the next moment she was saying she will always wear her uniform when she returns to the US because uniforms keep judgment away! YES, sweet girl!! She feels it all!
We have enjoyed many hikes since we have been here and these seem to be a highlight for our kids, and especially Taylor. She has loved the sights and sounds and is constantly asking me to “take a picture so Papo can paint this.” Hope you are ready Papo!
She has also become quite the entrepreneur. She was given a bunch of thread for bracelets before we came and now she loves making bracelets. You know, the kind we made at church camp when we were growing up! She is constantly asking me to sell them. She also wants to make designs with bottle caps and sell those. We have allowed her creativity to flow and requested that she give them as gifts instead of selling them. She has been okay with that, especially when she got a request from a friend for a specific one for his 28th birthday. She beamed and made it as soon as we got home.
Taylor, along with Kason, have really felt the impact of displaced Venezuelan refugees, the majority of whom struggle to find jobs. This has given us a lot of opportunity to talk about the crisis here along with the crisis in the US. We often are being asked for help and the kids are struggling with feeling so fortunate amidst the poverty and brokenness. THIS WAS WHAT WE WERE HOPING FOR!! We want them to feel the tensions that exists and while we don’t know all the answers, we can pray and we can feel and we can love!
Taylor is our go-getter!! Not many things stop her. Her classmates were all doing presentations on departments in Colombia. New language? No problem! She wanted to give a presentation on Hesston, KS in Spanish, and she did. We realized that she hasn’t given as many class presentations as the kids here as she didn’t quite know how to do it correctly, but what she did do she did with 110%! She was all in, including the Hesston t-shirt. She also has had her debut being a part of an all-school assembly. She loved being in front of the school and performing.
Yes, there are things that Taylor misses about being home, but she is thriving here. She invites people into our home that are passing by and gives them our two last snacks for the next school day, or pops open a gaseosa (soda) and shares it with them. Sometimes this isn’t the most convenient, but we go along with her doing her thing. She is learning Spanish quickly, loves to strike up conversations with anyone around and loves the food. She feels big, she fights big, cries big, smiles big, laughs big and gives the best hugs around!!