Nothing makes me smile more than when I think about sweet memories, happy jokes, and Peruvian dance parties. No, Peru wasn't easy and sometimes it wasn't fun, but other times it was so AMAZING incredible and just God blessed. I definitely left a piece of my heart there and would love to return to visit someday soon. These are a few of my favorite things, my warmest memories (not in any particular order).
1. BABIES. There was always a baby to hold, always a toddler to cuddle. Children just LOVE you when you are in Peru. I miss that special connection, those hugs, those precious slobbery kisses...
2. BESOS. The warmest kiss on the cheek EVER. "Welcome"; "You're family"; "You're loved"; "You matter"; "You are enough." I felt each one of these things everytime I was gently kissed on the cheek. I love the sweet friendliness of the Peruvian people and I miss their innocent kisses that make you feel so loved and encouraged.
3. CONQUISTADORES ADVENTURES. Haha ok so to be honest I never wanted to wake up early on Sunday morning (our free day) to go to Pathfinders. But each time I did, I ended up having so much fun doing the craziest things ever that I definitely don't have any regrets. Falling on the floor from a 2 high trust fall, literally face planting in the dirtiest swamp ever, trail running under a pack of wasps, hiking for miles with a Peruvian child on your back in the heat, learning about electricity in a language you can't understand, and trying to vaccinate wild dogs... LOL It was cray cray.
4. SISTERHOOD Orphanage Days. I loved the Sisterhood Project. Good thing, since I pretty much made it. But I loved making face masks with our girls out of the wild stuff we would find and combine, painting each other's faces, doing crafts, making cookies, and singing Peruvian hymns. The girls adored us and I knew that we were making a difference and filling a huge need.
5. SINGING. I learned how to sing in Peru. You might not believe me, but in fact, it's really true. Before Peru, I was afraid to sing out loud, to be heard. But then when I went to Peru, my Peruvian SM family LOVED to sing and Peruvians LOVE to sing. At first, I didn't want to sing too loud because I thought my voice sounded terrible but then I started singing with everyone else and I learned to LOVE singing. God really worked on my voice and helped me overcome those fears that year because I did a duet in front of the staff at school I worked with at the Christmas program-- I NEVER would have done that in a million years!
6. "ITA"- the term of endearment. Chickita, mamita, bebita.. I love the warmth of the endearing "ita" in the Spanish language. I miss the love of genuine care of the Peruvian people. They were just so kind and so caring! I don't know how to explain it but they were just so real. And I love them and miss them. I miss my friend at the cornerstore, and the milagroses, and my friend at the school supply shop, and Tatyana the wonderful orphanage physical therapist, and dear Carmen who died. I miss them more than I can explain.
7. MY GIRLS- I miss Patty and Nikol in ways I can't explain. I wish I could be there for them and I feel so sad for them because I feel like I came into their life and impacted them.. and then I just left them. I don't know what to do for them other then encourage them on Facebook and pray for them, but I feel so connected to these girls. Words can't describe what I would do for them. They are my babies, my precious beautiful princesses. I don't want them to ever get hurt.
8. MY PERUVIAN FAMILY-- Wow I miss my sisters and bros de Peru. There is nothing like living with someone in one tiny house and sharing two little bathrooms and showers with peekaboo holes and cooking together that good old greasy rice and beans that makes you truly bond. My Peruvian family helped me so much to grow in God, helped me overcome my medical fears, and truly was the reason I survived eight months in a foreign country. They were always there for me and they have impacted my life in so many ways and taught me so much. Happy Ariana the giraffe, Lisa who saved my butt on many sharpie or licey or terrible no good very bad days, Allie my mama goose who always took care of me and comforted me, Kirsten oh Kirsten and our wild adentures, Crazy Katie Kat my best friend who made me smile, laugh, and dance everyday, Bernice and I's foot time and the way she taught me to really pursue God and memorize God's word, Meggy my orphanage buddy. I miss you guys, each and every one of you, in so many ways. Each one of you guys that I have worked with have a special place in my heart!
9. MAKING TORTILLAS- Wow I miss cooking with my best friends. I miss spending 4 hours in our "kitchen" over our two frying pans, cooking and cutting and learning how to fry and grease and make arroz y frijoles. I miss cooking big meals for 20 people or sometimes for even 50 people. I loved learning how to make potato salad, egg salad, good ol' 2 hour beans, chile, lasagna, pasta, omellotes, egg sandwiches, egg sandwiches, egg sandwiches (hahaha inside joke: we had way too many eggs). But I loved cooking in Peru and I'm so glad I finally learned such a useful trait.
10. WATER TOWER TIME AND SWAMP CHOMP: I miss having time to go for leisurely strolls and stop by the little fruit stores and eat watermelon while we walk. Watermelon has never tasted so good.. unless you are in Peru.. where the sun literally melts you! I miss sneaking up the water tower with Kirsten and looking at the stars and talking about all of life. I miss leisurely sitting at the table and reading my Bible and journaling and knowing that I had three hours to do whatever I wanted. I miss TIME. I miss the change of pace, the way we would work by the sun, never knowing stress or being in a hurry. I miss life in Peru =)