The last few weeks in my life have been full of movement. As I’ve mentioned, my host family has been talking about moving practically since the day I walked in the door back in September. The last three months I have been living out of a half-packed suitcase because I would be told, “This weekend we’re moving.” And then we wouldn’t move. Then I would be told, “This weekend. It’s really going to happen.” And then we wouldn’t move. Then I’d be told, “We paid for one more month in this house, but we’re going to start moving stuff over to the new place slowly and calmly.” And then we wouldn’t move anything. Long story short, I came home one night and it was actually happening! I packed up the rest of my stuff quickly and at 8:30pm we started making trips over to the new house. We didn’t stop until 3:00am and everybody had to work the next day. I just had to laugh. They were so proud of themselves for supposedly packing so well and being so organized for this move compared to others, but I was screaming internally at the disorder and chaotic nature of it all. And almost three weeks later they still haven’t completely finished. The kitchen stove, dining room table, and washing machine – all quite essential items to a home – have not yet been moved.
I haven’t lived in one place for more than 9 months at a time since I lived at home during high school. I thought I was going to break that record this year, but we moved right at the 9-month mark. It was actually a good test to see if I could fit everything in my suitcase (which I could!). I’ve gotten settled here and am actually enjoying the new arrangement. The TV is now in the living room instead of one of the bedrooms, so we have actually spent a lot more family time together especially now that the World Cup is happening. My true soccer fanaticism has come out, and I fit right in.
SOME SAD NEWS
Two weeks ago I was traveling with another group from the PC(USA) that came to visit the Joining Hands Network and a few of the associate organizations. I went with them to Huancayo. We left on Thursday morning early and got back Saturday afternoon. On Wednesday night before I left, I came home to a pretty visibly upset host mom. I sat down next to her and asked her what was going on. She explained to me that her sister Violet, the one who had a stroke about a year and a half ago, had a really bad day. She’s been on the decline for the past few months, but I did not realize how bad it had gotten. She lost a ton of weight, wasn’t really able to eat or keep down any medication, had an infection that started in her kidneys and then spread to the rest of her body, and now was having trouble even breathing. We sat and she cried a little and talked in a roundabout way about the probability of her sister passing away. The next day, on Thursday morning after I had already left on my trip, Violet went to be with the Lord. They had the funeral the next day, which I also missed, and a mass a week later, which I was able to attend.
The death really hit my host mom and the whole family hard. They had been more or less expecting it, but it came so fast. They had all thrown their time and energy and money and hope into Violet’s recovery and to see that all come to an end was really difficult. Please be keeping them in your prayers.
…AND WRAPPING UP
Here is a quick itinerary of what I have coming up! I have three weeks left of work and living with my host family. They are really big into doing goodbyes here, so I will get an official “despedida” from my host family, office family, and YAV family at the end of these three weeks. Then we have one last YAV retreat in Paracas where we will spend time reflecting on the year as a whole and what it has meant in the trajectory of our lives. We also get to do some fun stuff like dunebuggying and touring the Ballestas Islands! After the retreat I will spend 2 ½ weeks traveling into the jungle with the YAVs before flying back to the U.S. We will get to see where Spencer has spent his year, take a boat up a tributary of the Amazon until we arrive at the Amazon itself, and tour around Iquitos – the “heart of the jungle” – before flying back to the U.S. on August 6th.
I feel at a good place of being ready to be done but also knowing that it is going to be insanely hard to leave and say goodbye. It is so strange to think that I am almost done. I am a year out of college now and almost a YAV alumna!
I also just published my first Partnership Program update that I will be writing monthly throughout my time at Gordon-Conwell. If you want to check it out, here’s the link you need: my.gordonconwell.edu/partnership/amiller5
|A look over the valley in Chupaca.|
|Beautiful blue skies!|
|A compost project - they can turn methane gas from decomposing cow manure into gas used with a normal gas stove!|
|The tiniest and cutest kitten I've ever seen.|
“X” by Wendell Berry
Whatever is foreseen in joy
Must be lived out from day to day.
Vision held open in the dark
By our ten thousand days of work.
Harvest will fill the barn; for that
The hand must ache, the face must sweat.
And yet no leaf or grain is filled
By work of ours; the field is tilled
And left to grace. That we may reap,
Great work is done while we're asleep.
When we work well, a Sabbath mood
Rests on our day, and finds it good.