The time is coming to that time that I don't like to mention : The End.

I hate goodbyes. I don't think it's a natural thing. Or at least for me it's not. Por ejemplo: Last Sabbath I bawled my eyes out in church. I started crying when I was leading out in hymns. As I stood up in the front of the church watching the sun-worn and wrinkled faces of the hermanos that I have come to love like my own family, my throat stopped letting me sing and my eyes got all watery. I kept checking with Alfonso, who was sitting in the very back frantically writing his sermon that he was going to preach in 5 minutes. Uno mas, uno mas, he kept telling me. So after about 5 or 6 hymns he was finally ready. I debated singing my favorite hymn of all time, Es el Amor Divino, but then decided against it because I knew I wouldn't be able to make it through. Ok, time to sing Santo, Santo, Santo. Like every Sabbath. I invited them to stand on the second stanza. Like every Sabbath. Nothing was different. Except for this was going to be the last time I would be doing all this.
I read the children's story. How can Daniel and the Lion's Den make a person cry? Maybe it wasn't the story at all. It was Johnny, Mariela, and Giampier. It was looking at their faces and knowing that they weren't really listening to the story. It was knowing that they were paying more attention to the wasp that was buzzing around my head. Like they do every Sabbath. The tears came because I remembered all of my Sabbaths with them. It was because I remembered having to start bringing two waterbottles to church because I knew that they would drink all of it. I remembered giving Mariela paper to draw on so she would be quiet during the sermon. I remembred fighting with Mariela, insisting that I had 11 fingers and not 10 (I never got her to believe me, no matter how many times I 'counted'.) I remembered Giampier falling asleep on my lap. I remembered playing with his hair. I remembered Johnny, the little troublemaker, how he would stick his fingers in my armpits while we were praying. I remembered him taking all the beads out of my dreads and putting them in his mouth. Gross-o. 

I keep thinking about what I'm going to do with my life when I go back to all the luxuries and commodities of the States. How is it going to be when I don't have to burn the trash? What am I going to do without the rooster to wake me up every morning or the chickens to eat all the leftovers? How am I going to take a shower inside? How am I going to go a morning without eating oatmeal? Where am I going to buy my oranges - 10 for 1 sol? I'm going to freeze when I feel air-conditioning. It's going to be weird having my own car. It's going to be weird to pee in a toilet instead of in the grass. Honestly. It's going to be weird to walk down the street and not get stared/whistled/kissed at/talked to. Ok, that part I'm not going to miss so much. But what's going to happen every evening when all of my neighbors don't come outside, put up a volleyball net in the street, and play until it gets dark?

I don't even know my neighbors at home.

Where is that now?

I guess Peru changed me more than I thought it would.

I was thinking about what I'm going to be taking away from this year. What have I learned? Have I become closer to God? I don't know. I don't know if I necessarily feel closer. But I feel like He showed me more of who I was - who He MADE me to be. Which I believe brings me in closer communion with Him. Creator and creature. I found a peace this year that I've never had before. He showed me a family, and community, friends, and a support system that I will now have for the rest of my life. He challenged me and broke me and changed me and above all LOVED me - despite of myself.

In four days, I will be on American soil. Probably thoroughly freaking out about the prices of everything.

Thanks. For this grand adventure that You have taken me on.

And there shall be many more...


  1. Hanna, I started to tear up reading this post. It's hard, but you will be able to live when you return to the States. You think about home everyday. You will think about everyone, the church members, the chicos, the dogs, the chickens, and you will cry. But it's not a bad thing. It's beautiful to see how far God has taken you and know that your life doesn't have to be the same as it was before you left. That's also a hard thing too. I love you Hanna, and I'm so glad I was able to share this part of your life journey with you.

  2. Thanks, Jeness.
    It was so good talking to you the other night. I'm actually feeling slightly ready to go home. I miss my family and stuff. I know life will never be the same - but in a good way. Our eyes have been opened to so many things. Thank you so much for your friendship/sistership? this year. I love you MUCHO!