Tag Archives: Lima

Home to Pucallpa

At this time tomorrow, Lord willing, I’ll be in Pucallpa. In fact, by this time, I’ll probably be in Mama Rosy and Papa Jacinto’s house, having eaten my first Peruvian meal of 2012. The air around me will smell like dust, smoke, and chicken, and – if I have my way – I’ll be laying in the hammock.

As I got ready to fall asleep in Aunt Lora’s squishy pink bed (the same place I’ve slept the night before every Peru trip) last night, I commented to Mom that this year’s trip felt different. Of course there are the few major differences – going alone, length of trip, purpose of the trip, etc – but there has just been a different feeling hovering over the whole idea of the trip itself.

Between the flight from Detroit to Ft. Lauderdale and the 8-hour layover in Ft. Boringdale that Spirit Air has blessed me with, I’ve had a lot of time to think about that feeling. I think I’ve figured it out.

You see, up until this year, Pucallpa was the only place where I had ever gone maskless. Something about the combination of serving, pure love despite the language barrier, and the sweltering heat, caused my mask to fall off when I first stepped out of the plane in 2008.  It was one of the things I loved most about Peru – how free I was always able to be when I was there. How I was able to laugh and cry from the deepest place inside of me, to sing and dance without feeling embarrassed, and to love from the deepest place in my soul.

Towards the beginning of my time at Moody, however, something changed. I was assigned to read the book “True Faced,” and it convicted me in the deepest way. God gently reached down, tipped my chin upward, pulled off my mask, and threw it on the ground. It shattered into a million tiny pieces, never able to be worn again.

As a result, I lived out this past year with the vulnerable confidence that I had previously only felt in Pucallpa. I learned to laugh, cry, dance (this is a relative term. I still can’t dance.), and be a friend. I learned the true, radical, life-altering meanings of church words like “grace,” “trust,” and “faith.” And I was content on a much deeper level.

That’s why this year feels different. Rather than longing to go to a place where I can truly be myself, I’m returning to the place that first taught me who “myself” was. I’m going home, but I’ve really been home all year long.

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Be Calm.

Amongst those who know me well, the fact that I’m a more than a little afraid to spend a night in Lima alone is no secret.  Though I’m confident in Spanish, I’m far from fluent.  The “what-if’s” flood my mind. What if Rosa isn’t there to pick me up at the airport? What if my flight is delayed? What if the people I’m staying with don’t speak a word of English? What if I want my mommy?  As I pack and prepare, these words from the song “Be Calm” by fun. have been stuck in my head:

All the tree tops turning red
The beggars near bodegas grin at me
I think they want something
I close my eyes, I tell myself to breathe
and be calm.
Be calm.
I know you feel like you are breaking down.
Oh I know that it gets so hard sometimes.
Be calm.

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Four Days!

Four days from now, at this time, I will be sleeping in the house of Rosa’s sister. I’ll be in Lima, without my family, without my friends, without internet, without my phone. I’ll be in a strange bed in an unfamiliar house, but I’ll be happy. I’ll be almost home.

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