Some of you heard that I had a chance to come home to Colorado for Christmas. When I left, when I got on that plane in May, I had no idea if I would be able to come home and visit during the entire 27 month period. But an opportunity opened up since our group is done with school and we don’t move to Puno for another week or so.
The day I found out we were not moving to Puno until the beginning of January, I was dreading 3 – 4 weeks with little to do. I hopped online and looked at tickets. I had already committed to babysitting at the beginning of the next week so I looked at leaving the day after my babysitting commitment. Thoughts were running through my head that going home for Christmas was a pipe dream, impossible to execute as it was already December 8th when I looked at tickets and I could not leave the country without special permission from the government. But, I looked at ticket prices and dates anyway, just to check. I pulled up prices for a two week stay at home and to my surprise, I found round trip tickets from Lima to Denver for $988! I thought $1600 was a decent price as I have even seen round trip tickets as high as $2600. Immediately, I called my dad for advice, I didn’t want to make the decision on whether or not I should come home by myself. Which is actually quite strange since usually I’m an impulse buyer and very independent, hehe.
Obviously, Mom and Dad agreed that since everything seemed to be falling into place and I had idle time, it would be a good idea to come home for Christmas. Since it was only 7 days from the day I found the tickets to the day I would get to Denver, we decided to keep the trip a secret and surprise my little sis, Brookie. I also got the chance to surprise my Grandma and Grandpa Carlson as well as my little “sis”, Jessi-Bear.
Grandpa's Chili, I also got some of dad's yummy turkey chili and I made homemade cinnamon rolls for Christmas morning. Yummy food!
Being home for Christmas was wonderful. Yes, I got to open presents on Christmas Eve and morning, but I got some other wonderful presents before Christmas.
I got to…..
spend time with my Mommy, Daddy and Sissy,
smell Colorado crisp winter air,
stare at the beauty of the Rocky Mountains,
look at Christmas lights,
have conversations and coffee with friends,
enjoy lunch and dinner dates with friends and family,
go horseback riding,
spend precious time with my grandparents,
bake Christmas goodies with Brooke,
help at the Breakfast with Santa outreach,
watch a few snowflakes fall,
wear high heels almost daily,
hug so many people I miss and love,
sleep in my old bed (with my sissy),
take hot showers,
and simply be in the same house as my family.
.There is so much more I could list! I am very grateful for the two weeks I had in Colorado. There are people I didn’t get to see and things I didn’t get to do, but I’m thankful for the opportunities I did have.
Family favorites, Heritage Square and the Georgetown train.
As I write this, I am actually on the plane to Lima. I will arrive to the Lima airport in about another hour and a half then I have a few hours in the airport until my morning flight to Arequipa. Leaving this time was so much different. Yes, it was still difficult to leave my loved ones, my closest friends and my family. When I left in May I was excited to embark on this journey but I was also scared. This time, I am excited to get back to my Puno family, the people who I’ve lived with, people I love and call family, true family. I’m excited to get back to my partner Francisca. Although we have our differences and sometimes our partnership is a struggle, I can hardly wait to get back and work on strengthening our relationship as friends and as a team with God at the center. Also, I’m pumped to moved to Puno and get started on the actual work God has prepared for us.
Despite my excitement to get back to Peru, leaving my family Wednesday morning was difficult. Dad prayed for me as mom and Brooke put their hands on my shoulders. I’m so incredibly grateful for our little family and our strong relationships. But our closeness does make it harder to be away from them! It was difficult to walk away from them yet again, knowing I will be away from them for many months. But, they will be in Peru on a short term trip in just over 5 months!
I truly hope you all experienced a blessed Christmas season. Maybe not material blessings, but blessings in the form of time with family, simple pleasures, and the experience of a powerful celebration of the birth of our Savior.