I believe it’s time to stow this blog away, to tuck it in and let it rest. This was my blog to document all that was my mission–the good, the bad, the weekly letters. That time was wonderful and difficult, and I grew in immeasurable, learned to love a people so very far way, and ate things I will never again touch. I grew to love my Savior in a very personal way, understanding better the ways He walked this Earth, and has been the best thing I’ve done with my short life thus far.

I could be adding in mission stories in the future, but for now I’m going to return to my old blog, located here. Everything’s a bit rusty, but that appears to be the manner of this whole ‘Being Home,’ thing. Traumatic and unnecessary, if you ask me.

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Post-Mission: “I work in extremes.”

“Nights have been hard for me this past week. I’ve been besieged by nagging insecurities and unrelenting, illogical fears, and so I lie in my bed till unholy hours, rolling and fidgeting and trying to find the exact position that will help me forget said fears and insecurities. I don’t exactly understand why, but being alone is now paralyzing, in some way that it wasn’t for Post-Mission-Me. I was so used to having someone near, with whom to converse, to argue with, to eat with, to walk with, to discuss and evaluate life with, to define personal flaws with and then set out to better. I know I’ve been back for almost two months now, and this feeling of isolation and strange alone-ness should probably be gone now, but I actually have no idea how to get rid of it, or how to stifle it, if only to sleep a few sound nights. I thought it was the Monthly Hormone Hurricane, but I think this might be like an actual ‘Me Thing.’ And I’m not dying, it’s just annoying, and I’m also annoyed at myself, like, ‘Jeez, Melody, get a grip. Stop this madness. Go eat an ice cream, read a book, don’t be needy,’ And none of those things have worked. At all. Ugh. Life.” — A text to my unofficial therapist, Marissa; i give her car rides, she gives me therapy

When I was prepping up to come home–emotional bracing, and whatnot–I was told by several people that suddenly being without a companion by your side would be strange; I would probably stick to my mother like a shadow for the first several days. They said sleeping in a room alone, without companion and friend, would be mildly terrifying, that I would probably be a little anxious.

This was not true. I slept fine–like a rock–those first several days. My mother worked, and thus, from 9 to 5, I had no shadow to hide under, and I didn’t feel anxious in any special way whenever I adventured off. Strange, yes, a little. But not anxious, or scared or any of the things I thought perhaps might happen, the things I had been warned of.

But I suppose mine was a slow process though. A series of days upon days building up upon one another, weeks slipping by. It was something I wasn’t even sure I noticed, for a while, at least. But now, forty-three days in, it’s hit home, like a monster that sat patiently in my closet since day one, biding it’s time, waiting to creep out. You’ve been there all along, haven’t you?

I am without companion and friend. However difficult it was to literally have to have someone there all the time, I had someone there all the time. It was easily as comforting as it was discomforting, at times as liberating as it was depressing. And sometimes that person pushed and nicked at sore spots, gouging under the skin, and made one want to rip out their hair, but that person was there to make things okay when things felt like it certainly wasn’t okay.

Nights are suddenly longer, harder to sleep through, and I occasionally just sit, and feel a lacking, looking for someone over my shoulder. I wonder where I might go to find a friendship like that again, a companionship so loyal and, admittedly, annoying, but loved.

I suppose today I miss companionship and companions, simultaneously, all at once. It’s a mess. Well, I’m a mess, but, fortunate for Marissa, she landed herself in London for half the summer, so we’ll have to hash out this hot mess when she gets home, but until then, watch out for that Compton girl. She’s a strange combination of weepy and rash these days. It’s not a pretty sight to behold.

Easter Candy & Taylor Swift

I remain in the wallows of trying to vencer my quarter life crisis. I’ve been grappling with this state of discomfort and general confusion about life, you see. I’ve gone from a highly fulfilling–albeit ridiculously tiring and over-heated–mission to being furrowed in my below-zero room eating left over Easter candy. I’ve gone from feeling wonderfully fulfilled as a human being and messenger of God to being a strange twenty-one year old girl who has many hours to fill and few things to fill them with.

But mostly I walk around with an aching heart, missing. It’s hard to be happy with all the missing I have going on in me. I miss loving so many people, I miss helping so many people, I miss speaking Spanish, and, heaven help me, I miss the heat, but most off all, I miss knowing exactly what I should be doing–sharing the Gospel with whoever, wherever. And of course, there are other ways I can do that. Callings, personal efforts to share the gospel. But all will be a hollow echo of the name tag that one carries, of that joy you feel to be a servant of Christ in such an intimate, personal manner, one which I learned to love so very much in the selva de Peru.

When I was a child, I refused to play the left hand on the piano. It stretched my brain too much to be moving two hands at once, to strike out with all ten of my fingers and not just five. I was content to stick with the light notes of the melody whilst playing, to be comfortable and happy with what I knew. But then, in my last ward on the mission, the bishop forced me to play during sacrament meetings, and I finally learned, due to extreme discomfort and painful mistakes, to play the left hand. And the music was much richer for it– but of course it was. Because that’s how it was written. The deep and the light were written to complement and mix and wind through one another. They weren’t meant to be separate. Then I came home, and for some unfathomable reason, tried to go back to playing one hand, which was idiotic. My left hand already knew that it shouldn’t be slacking off, and that it had it’s part to do. The music was hollow and joyless, so I quickly went back to both hands.

And that’s the pain of my soul in these dreary spring days. I was playing on all hands, emotionally, physically, spiritually, intellectually. I was pushing with all I had, living many days in discomfort and making mistakes, but growing and living in a way so much richer. And now I’m back to only using one hand, and you can’t just ignore it. The empty notes are making a ruckus.

People keep asking me what my favorite things about being home is. I’m often left floundering. There were so many things that I thought I missed when I was down in Iquitos–fast food, movie theaters, sleeping in, lazing, making my own schedule–but now that all those things are in my grasp, I have no desire for them. The fruit’s not so forbidden anymore, and anyways, it was an empty, deceptive fruit, really.

I’m not really sure what it is God wants me to do to keep being a useful daughter, and figuring things out are a lot harder done than said, I just know I lack. I fault. And that’s not so very fun. In the mean time, my best coping method seems to be dancing to Taylor Swift when no one is looking. Whoops.

Amen and out.

boxes better left unopened

fellow Internetians,

it’s quite true, the rumor that I’ve returned from

darkest Peru.

O sea,

I am home.

Upon returning home, I’ve done two things.

1) Caught up on all The Hunger Games movies.

judge me not, Jennifer Lawrence is fantastica.

2) Went through a few boxes that belong to Before Melody.

I found several strange things.

Old, smelly books.

notes written in bad handwriting and in other languages

and a bat

a wooden one

why ever was there a bat there?

i know not.

goodness, why didn’t anyone tell me I was so weird?

p.s. i sealed the boxes again and decided it better that Before Melody stayed there.

DSCN0022

but in all seriousness,

i actually am home, and this is strange.

i’m now grappling with fitting After Melody into the life of Before Melody.

it’s all quite awkward,

as if perhaps my bones don’t fit into my skin anymore

(perhaps that’s 18 months of rice talking, and nothing fits me)

but serving as missionary, marching in the back streets of Iquitos, has been the most

amazingly, life-changing, stupendously, 

excellently difficult

 event.

i say that,

and i mean it.

and i’m terribly sad it’s over,

(i’ve burst into tears now at least six and a half times already)

i’m working on my denial problems though,

so i guess

i am home.

It Came Off Like a Cheap Bandaid

And a adorable sister who started out her mission with a ROUGH companion. I’ve adopted her. Her name is Colquewanca, and hugs me frequently, so of course I love her as well. 3.30.15

3.30.152 3.30.153

A mini replica of a moto car that mama frida got me. she hugs me a lot.

Mother,

My dear Mother. I’m writing you all for the last time, and I feel. . . strangely calm. I’m not freaking out. I’m not hyperventilating. I do have a strange pit in my stomach, but I’ve lathered it with a thick layer of denial, and left it alone. I hope—

Lies. I just read my itinerary that the mission just sent us, and it appears to have ripped off the denial and it came off like cheap Band-Aid. Dying. I’m dying. What am I doing? How am I possibly getting on a plane and what if I never see all these people again? You know what I don’t like doing? Loving people. Loving people is so overrated, and complicated, and makes my insides do things that aren’t okay. Ugh. I want to sit down and cry and also maybe dance because I’m going to hug you for the first time in months and months and I don’t like this.

It appears that I’m in a state of internal conflict. Getting along with other people is hard enough, but getting along with myself should be a God-given gift.  But, chiste, natural man.

On the bright side, I have Keith and patches of kale to look forward to.

Okay. I have to compose myself. Alexandra and Jose got baptized this week, and they just glowed they were so happy. Yesterday they both bore their testimonies in church, and I was trying to suck back in the tears from behind the piano. I feel they have been my blessing. This area has been hard, and it was difficult not to be sad sometimes, but they came along and climbed over all the obstacles and problems and now they’re here, spirutal babies, but hold all the keys in their hands in order to keep going.

Andres, a young man in the area, was also baptized Saturday. He’s a whipsharp little thing, though he looks the usual teenage rebel, but he loves learning, and is already dragging family members behind him to church. To us they had little interest in listening to, but to him, they all follow and obey. He’s going to do marvelous things, I’m sure of it.

They are all that I’ve ever wanted in the mission. They’re people who love living the gospel. I choose to believe that they will remain active and participants of the gospel. We’ve worked so hard with the members too so that they know of their existence, and I hope the very, very best for them.

I suppose my work is done here, and while that hurts in a way that I don’t know how I’ll ever explain, I guess I need to accept it.

Ugh.

I hope there’s piping hot lasagna awaiting my return, because I’m sure it’ll be the only thing to soothe my aching heart. But also, I like lasagna. Yum.

Hna. Compton

La Penultima Carta

Albert

albertOrianaMelody

the daughter of my pensionista, Oriana. 

she found out i’m horrifically ticklish and it’s been a rough time ever since
i have to choose between eating or facing the flipping tickle monster
but ps the oriana is so very loved

iquitos3.23.15

also my heart hurts every time i pass this sign now because nooooooooooooooooo

Dearest Mother,

This is my penúltima carta. I literally have no idea how to say that word in English.

This week was chaos. We had a family get married—Alexandra y Jose. They’re fantastic souls. Young, but super excited about the gospel. They have a small, adorable son named Albert. Well, his full name is Dir Albert. Literally. Not even a joke.

Hna. Reyes—or Sister Kings—is my companion. She’s a lithe, little Ecuadorian who doesn’t talk much, but is a good little missionary. She’s almost got seven months in the mission, and I’m the second companion that she’s ‘killed.’

I would love to fly out to see spencer and Aurora and, my, oh, my, New York. But no promises. It’s a cool idea. Spencer looks…balder. . .than the last time I saw him. But he’s definitely lost weight. Does he get letters? Can I send those to him via e-mail or by hand? Packages? How does this work? I’d like to send him something. I miss him a lot, actually. I hope he’s doing well over there.

My heart does this painful little shuttery thing every time I think about going home—have in excitement and half in horror. But hey

HEY! MOM! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

I literally just remembered, mid-sentence. If I was there, I’d totally take you out to the chocolate and eat fattening, delicious things. But alas, you’ll have to eat it without me and I’ll stick with my rice with a side of fries. Sigh.

Love you all lots,

Nos vemos en un ratito

denial-and-repression tactic; mud, grit, and other things

AMAZONIQUITOS

MEL3.16.15

Dear Mother,

I’m not going to be writing much this week because I’ve been wasting time scrambling through old-sent photos and trying to get them all together. Blech. It hasn’t been all that enjoyable, to be honest.

But this week went well. We have a family that’s getting ready to be baptized the 28th. They’re wonderful, but I don’t feel like it’s been for any reason whatsoever on our part. They were just there, like they were waiting for the gospel to come knocking on their door. The worst part of this whole ordeal is that they live atop Mount Doom and it’s been raining at least once a day this month. On the bright side, we’re toning our balance muscles. But goodness, the mud, grit, and other things that I walk in all day. Almost nothing grosses me out now though.

Joy finally wrote me. She’d been on about a month streak without writing me. But she sounds like she’s a little social bug and 14—14! This I cannot believe. I remember when I was 14. I was pretty sure I was a legal adult at 14.

I heard about a sister missionary from Utah that died in Argentina the other day—a case of unexpectedly strong E. Coli. It had me jittery for an afternoon, and I was thinking about my heath in the mission. I’ve been blessed with what appears to be the immune system of an ox, for which I’m quite grateful. The worst I’ve come down with is the stomach flu for a day, but nothing of serious weight has happened to me, while many sister have struggled or gone home for serious

problems.

I’ll tell you, one of the things that I’ve really learned to love here in Colinas is the stake building. I love—love, love, love—being in the stake center Sunday nights. You can feel the warm bustle of deadlines and organization and meetings and service, and I feel something so very special to be in the midst of all that. I plan on demanding the bishop a calling upon returning home—I would love to teach small, bratty children the gospel. It’d be a nice change from hardened, bitter old people. Or whatever calling they’re willing to give me. Just to be able to sit and bask in the glow of service and spirit. It’s literally the thing I’m most excited about when I think about coming home.

I’ve been using the denial-and-repression tactic upon thinking about going home, actually.  So. I’m just going to leave it at that.

Love, Hna. Compton

Thanks for looking through all my photos. It’s sort of a pain, I know. But the mission asks for 5 before, 5 during, and 5 baptisms. Can you do me another favor and search through and find all my pictures of baptisms that i’ve sent home? I don’t have the time or access to get to them. Pwuease.

I’m just going to pretend that I’m not actually coming home

Mother, you know I love you to bits and pieces,

But you appear to have picked the grainiest, most awkward faces I’ve ever made in my life. I literally laughed at some of them, and I love them, but I don’t wish to scar my mission president with my past life of picture-bombing. Please try again? I’m sorry, but I’m laughing right now. Mom. Wat?

Anyways, the works going good. We have a little family that’s going to be baptized the 28 of March. They’re adorable. They already want to go to the temple. I told them I’d fly down in a year to going to their sealing, and it wasn’t even a lie.

My new companion is from Ecuador. Her name is Hermana Reyes. I like her.

A lot of things have happened this week—for example, was homeless for half a week—but I feel like it’s all sort of escaping my grasp. The less time I have the faster it’s going by and I don’t like that at all, so I’m just going to pretend that I’m not actually coming home. It could either be less painful or twice as painful, not sure which.

But tell Joy that I’m sorry no one came to her birthday party. I know how that one feels, but I totally would’ve been there I was on that side of the world. As I’m not, I just wrote a little note in my agenda saying JOY on her birthday. Oh, and my companion drew two balloons and crazy eyes. Let her know that she’s loved, and that I’ve bought trinkets for her to give her in a month.

Hey, I sent a few letters home about a month back. Did you guys ever receive those? Or did they get lost in the air?

I still eat a the pensionista’s house. Last night it was tacos—second time in 17 months—and the night before that fried banana chips with a fish hamburger. I think I’m putting back on the pounds I’d managed to get off. Ugh. Oh, well. I’ll survive.

Hna. compton

Darkest Peru. What?

mel 2.23.2015iquitos 2.23.2015

I have no idea who or what or where Paddington, but I must assume that this is social media references that I’m not going to get for a long, long time. And that’s okay.

This week on Crosby updates—well, she’s fantastic. She doesn’t hug me much, but she’s really good at saying things like, ‘I love you. You have no idea.’ And also, ‘I could just stare at your face all day.’ along with other affirming, feel-good things. We have changes today—my very last—and we’re terrified at the thought of being split up. We’ve only been together for one change, but she’s literally the best thing that’s happened to me in a long time.

As far as missionary work in this ward goes, it’s stalling. We’ve got this adorable lady and her grown son going to church, but she’s super hesitant about being baptized again—she understands the priesthood and authority, but is quite opposed to the idea of a second baptism. She’s Catholic, and her mom was a nun when she was younger, but she’s quite wonderful, all things considered. Then there’s Alexandra and Jose. They’re a young, unmarried couple who’ve attended a few times. She’s definitely more invested in being a member and going to church and reading and praying, but he doesn’t want to get married, which is a huge obstacle here in Peru. She can’t progress any further without being married in able to be baptized. It’s sad, actually.

In all honesty, yesterday was a pretty rough day. Spiritually, physically, emotionally. It’s something horrible to know and to understand the truths of the gospel so clearly and to watch people completely reject it. We taught a less active where there was a woman who’s a member of a church called Dios Madre, of which has pretty strange, extreme ideas.  She snapped and bit at every little thing until we had to go to another room in the house.

Also, it was Sundays. Always, by far, the longest, hardest days of the week.

Alden and Sinda are coming home! Rejoice! To quote you Mom,  ‘I am SO happy about that! I want to jump up and down and yell and sing and dance.’ That’s about how I feel. That’s actually the best news I’ve gotten in a long time, and is definitely a booster to my iffy week.

See you all in a bit,

Hna. Compton

p.s. I’ve been dreaming a ton about Alden and Sinda lately and I totally had a dream of watching Alden get off a plane and you crying, you were so happy. Pre-cognitive-dream-called-it!

A Whole New World; She thinks I’m hilarious

Dear Mother,compton and crosby
The Robot Arm looks horrific. I can totally see Richard deciding not
to come down to Peru, but I also cannot see you and Keith getting down
to Peru without having Richard with you. This is all sounding a bit
sketchy. I will let you know that I won’t freak out if you guys decide
that maybe you all won’t come down to pick me up. But it’s sort of up
to you guys. I heard that there’s a tour guide of Machu Pichu
specifically for all lost Mormon families picking up their children.
Mormontours or guids or something like that. But if you all back out,
also totally okay with it, just so you all know. Let me know so I can
talk to my mission offices to let them know, okay?

This week nothing of striking importance happened. We had zone
conference, which was nice, I suppose. All the sisters put on pretty
skirts and actually combed their hair, myself included. We have it
pretty rough with the frizz out here on the outskirts of the amazons.
Sunday two huge gringos popped into our sacrament meeting late looking
for a place to take the sacrament. I nearly died of a heart attack.
One was bearded. It was all super alarming.

I don’t actually like P-DAYS, if I haven’t already said that. I read
lovely letters about broken arms and kittens named Binx—I love Julie
letters—and about Marissa and Joy and K’Lani and how you’re all still
there and I feel all the hollow spaces where you belong.

Today we got to see Meet the Mormons. Have you guys seen that? You
haven’t, right? You should watch it. You should take the kids and go
watch it. It made me happy but also super homesick. But mostly happy.
(That’s my denial talking. It just made me homesick.)

My companion, Hna. Crosby, is wonderful. She’s from Northern
California. Like, Red Wood Forest California. She’s going to finish a
year in the mission this week. I think we’re going to eat, erm,
cookies in celebration? I actually don’t know. But she’s this adorable
sports girl who loves anything and everything about, well, sports.
She’s quite determined to get me a social life back home, which is
terrifying, but we adore one another. Literally. We laugh so much, and
we’ve started doing pushups a night before we go to bed. This might
sound shallow or bad or something, but being with another gringo is .
. . how should I put this . . . ? ‘A whole new world!’ It’s amazing.
She thinks I’m hilarious. I understand her puns. It’s a win-win
situation.

And yes, there are several Americans—also a Canadian and a ginger—here
in Iquitos. The companionships are generally a half and half
combination. Gringo y latino together.
I’m sending off two letters today. I hope they get there to you. There
are cards and/or letters for you, Nathan, Joy, Sam, Spencer, and
Aurora. Also three bracelets for Nathan, Joy, and Sam.

Sister Compton