We're now a little over the 1/3 mark of our stay in Peru. I'll not evaluate my 1/3 of the year here (though this reminds me that I need to evaluate both the CapCorps retreat and the experience thus far for my lovely organization), but I do feel the need to put out a few thoughts.
We're planning on revamping the way we work here, so that we'll be able to be fully engaged, but also have more than just the one day every other week off. It's nice to be able to re-evaluate, and I'm looking forward to the future year with a different context. That'll be nice.
There will be a Norwegian guy coming here in the middle of February and staying until Mayish, I think. I believe that he'll be moving into my room, which will be cool. Though very, very crowded: my bedroom is the smallest of the 3 apartments here, and definitely the least outfitted for having 2 people using it simultaneously. Maybe I'll move into the small nook in the library: That way, he can have the mattress that has more firmness than a marshmallow, I can continue to sleep on the floor (don't ask), and we'll both have room to put our clothing. Yeah, sounds good to me. We'll see how this all goes.
Being a theology nerd, I'm thinking about Lent. They don't call it Lent here (big surprise, seeing as that's an Anglo-Saxon word and all): they call it Cuaresma (40 days, roughly, from Italian). It's fitting that they don't call it Lent, because Lent means "spring," and from the natural perspective, we are definitely approaching the beginning of fall and entering into winter as this liturgical season approaches here in the southern hemisphere. It's so weird, because the nature worked so well for my spiritual life during liturgical seasons in the states. Cold just seems so perfect for imagining Advent and Christmastime, i.e., the Light coming into the world that lay "in sin and error pining", and I love how Lent begins in winter, when everything's been stripped of its ornamentation, and the idea that we're like the trees budding as we progress in our practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving in preparation for the great mystery of faith that is "Dying you destroyed our death, rising you restored our life; Lord Jesus, come in glory," and what it meant to be a part of that. I love that while Pentecost doesn't occur at the harvest time (as it originally did pre-Christianity), it occurs as everything is at the peak of flowering and about to go into bearing fruit. The naturalness in which nature provided insights into the general milieu of each liturgical season was great.
So I'm anxious and excited about the atmosphere that I'll encounter here during that time. Without such a great exemplar as nature here as a guide in the way I'm accustomed, there's a world of opportunity for new ways of looking at things, having internal motivations, etc. Though of course I still miss that unto which I'm accustomed.
On sunny days when my family and/or friends would go on hikes up in the mountains, the air was so clean, the sunlight so brilliant (yet without humidity), and there was a smell of sweetness...the sweetness almost like ripe blackberries that had gotten enough sun, but I swear it was coming from the trees, nature's assurance that yes, today IS a perfect day. I love that smell.
I saw the Nutcracker back in December. It certainly was no performance like I saw back in the States way-back-when, but the kids had an earnestness, and such care was put into the choreography, and I could feel the family and friends in the audience and their joy and pride in their friends; and family members' performance, it was lovely. The music wasn't live, but the venue was too small for that, anyway. Even so, hearing that music was like meeting with an old friend. Seriously. I've been seeking out classical/romantic/orchestral music ever since.
Well, until our next meeting, January, and the embarking of a whole new adventure as this one ends. After many joys, new experiences, old struggles, homesickness, newfound friends, frustrations, and insanity, and after 12 months, we'll chat again. Until that time, be well.