Today is All Saint's Day, which is a highly celebrated holiday here in Peru. Some call it Dia de los Muertos. There is specially baked breads for the kids, and "vigilias" that last all into the night. Most of the jovenes have gone home to their families to celebrate, so I get today to myself :)
This week has been alright, I've been in a "I don't want to do anything" mood lately. On Monday, I made is successfully to the orphanage, 15 minutes early. Being early is NOT at all normal, as most people show up to parties and meetings an hour or so late. I've been joking that I'm going to take one of these sweet babies home. Sad to admit, but I have my favorite little guys ;) It has been amazing to interact with the babies and start to get to know their little quirks. I got home absolutely exhausted, it's a long day!
On Tuesday, I did absolutely nothing, and I'm okay with that! However, we did have our meeting. This week was a little bit different, it was a time for everyone to vent and share some of the frustrations they've been having. Even to call specific people out. Thank goodness that this is a safe environment. I shared my frustrations with feeling inadequate in the way that I cut vegetables when I'm helping cook. Most times, I don't do it the "right" way that they're all used to, and they'll take it away from me and start over. To us Americans, food is food no matter how it's cut, and it all tastes the same. It's just something cultural that I have to deal with. Since then, things have been much better between all of us. Our cliques are beginning to break up and be more inclusive.
Yesterday of course was Halloween, which up until a few years ago, was not celebrated in Peru at all. There is a relatively large population of devil worshipers, as well as human sacrifice. It has been something that the population has struggled with, since these things do happen quite often, why should we encourage it? When there are parties and such, it is stressed that it is NOT a Halloween party, but a fall festival. At Corason we held a party. Beforehand, I went down to the store to pick up some candy (as well as some fruit for myself ;). The kids decorated candy bags, and we played a ton of games. We taught them some Christian songs, and did a Bible lesson about how we are God's children, and we are here to worship HIM, and not Satan. I think I had my fill of candy for the next two weeks! It was another late night.
Today I'm heading to the park to do my Bible study and journaling. After having talked to Sandy, we agreed that we always feel better after getting out. What better reason to get out and study in God's creation?
Some of you have heard, others maybe not. But I have decided to head home at Christmas. I know my goal was to stay for 6 months, but this has been an extremely difficult time for me. A new language, multiple new cultures, new experiences, living in a huge city (I hate that), and knowing that I'm missing some milestone - moments at home have made things hard. I went into this trip with few expectations, which was good, but at the same time it's been tough. I have my flight booked now. I'll be leaving Cusco on December 20 at around 8:30 pm, stopping in Lima for a long layover, then to Miami the next day, off to Chicago, and finally landing in Grand Rapids at around noon on December 21. Of course, it's during the holidays, so who knows what kind of delays there will be.
My biggest prayer request right now are that this next month and a half-ish is fun, eye opening, and that I make the most of what I have here.
I miss my family, friends, home, church, my car (having not driven in a month is driving me nuts!), food, air not filled with bus exhaust, and clean streets. These things and people I have taken advantage of, we really don't realize how blessed we are to live in America. I was talking with Sandy about some of these things. Yes, there are so many things wrong with America. But if we're not going to personally work to better it and simply complain about it, leave. Experience a new culture to see just how good we have it. One of the things I've taken advantage of is diversity. We oftentimes think of America as being very white and racist. Yes, that may be true, but here in Peru, I've been able to count on my two hands the Caucasian people I've seen living here. The people here don't know how to deal with a white person, because we aren't around a lot. Think about the U.S. How many cultures have you interacted with? For most people, it's quite a lot! Another thing that I have experienced is being treated like a child for not knowing the culture and language very well. I began thinking about it some more. When I worked at Russ', there were always customers from other backgrounds who came in! How did I treat them? I'll admit that I talked to them in the way I would speak to a child. I now know how awful that feels! I am so thankful for the experiences I've had in this short time already.
I cannot wait to get home and truly treasure the people and things that mean the most to me. Hug your families and friends today for me. Tell them you love them and you're thankful for everything they've done for you. Take a look around at what God has graciously given you. Thank Him for it. I sure wish I would've done so more often.