I am so thankful to be here.
So thankful that the second I stepped off the plane in La Paz (still one flight away from my beloved Coch), I almost started crying because it smelled like Bolivia.
So thankful the staff brought this girl to the airport with them when they picked me up- she's graduated from the program but they'd told her I was coming.
When we got back to the house, she and I sat down at the dining room table and talked, deep talked, for over an hour- about what she's been learning, about her baptism last year (she beamed as she told me about it), about what she misses about the house since she graduated and how it changed her life, about our memories from my time here.
In my opinion if I had had that conversation and turned and headed back to the States, it would have been worth the trip.
So thankful for how insanely easy it has felt to step back into relationships here. For the inside jokes we all started tossing around instantly, for the affection and laughter and mutual gratitude exchanged.
So thankful for the conversations I've already gotten to have with the staff.
So thankful to get to hug and know a new group of girls.
So thankful for how much more fun it is to be here with Spanish and self-confidence.
So thankful and genuinely surprised by how completely natural it feels to be here. A year and a half is a decently long time, but the most surreal part so far has been how not surreal it feels. The streets, the cafés, the fresh fruit sold on the corners, the people's mannerisms, the house, the Albergue schedule, all feel so familiar. I remember more than I thought I did.
So thankful the waitress at my favorite café RECOGNIZED ME IMMEDIATELY!! I left here 19 months ago!! That rocked.
And thankful to have sat in that café once again at the quiet table in the corner on the second floor, where I found my sanity so many mornings those six months.
So thankful to get to see my mountains in every direction.
So thankful and THRILLED (and not surprised at all) to see how amazing Lauren is doing here, how much the girls and staff love her and that I can see her falling in love with Mosoj Yan and its work and its girls. So thankful I get to see her HNGR journey up close.
So thankful to have stayed up two late nights talking with Lindsay. So thankful for how natural living Cochabamba life with her, even briefly, feels. So thankful to get to mutually externally process with her; so grateful to see her belly and squeal over kicks and celebrate upcoming parenthood.
Praying so hard to be an encouragement to the people I'm interacting with here. The staff, the girls, Lauren, Lindsay, my host parents.
There have been hard things, too.
I don't want to trivialize them by throwing them into a quickly-written list.
The joy is richer than I remembered,
but the darkness is just as dark.
But I am deeply, deeply thankful to be here.
To be a part of this work again, even if only briefly.
To be praying over this work, these girls, this suffering, from here.
Every night when I've gone to bed and tried to start praying, all I can do is thank Him over and over for letting me come back.
More to come...