Here’s what living in Cusco for a couple of months has taught me.
- There’s tons of beauty in simplicity. The un-manicured nature of many South American cities is what draws us to them – they are raw and real. I get to see it every day in
- unfinished buildings of brushed concrete with long stems of re-bar
- row and rows of clothes being dried by nature on lines on the terraces
- abuelitas sitting every day by their roadside stands cooking up favorites for near-nothing prices
- Never again will I make fun of the strange accent or piecemeal grammar of someone who is attempting to learn another language. I now have a huge amount of respect for people who’ve worked hard enough (and endured enough embarrassing moments) to be bilingual!
- No matter who you are or what you do, it’s the small, every day actions that count. The enthusiastic greeting to your neighbor while looking them in the eyes, even when you’ve had a long day. Demonstrating patience and gentleness with your family in private, which always makes itself obvious in public. Showing up early for worship to not only give a friendly face, but a caring conversation to those courageous few who’ve braved the task of visiting… a church. Faithfulness and perseverance in the small things is my weakness and greatest prayer.
- It can really do you some good to get out of your 8-5 (7:30-6… ) American dress clothes, slow down your pace of life, and focus on people more. Why was it ever a good idea for spreadsheets, rigid schedules, and projects to come before the ones who love us most?
- Many of the conveniences, brands, and comfort foods that we have become accustomed to can become idols that, when forced to, we will still grasp for with gripping white knuckles. I miss:
- brown sugar for baking yummy, gooey things
- (never thought I’d say this) Wal-mart, and knowing that whatever my recipes call for will be there
- on occasion, having a car to do whatever we please
- canned, quick-and-easy chicken broth
- and – did you ever doubt? – Chick-fil-A!
- It’s entirely possible (and ok) for me to be a walking contradiction. In part of my heart, I will always be the girl who never wanted to make a home somewhere other than (beautiful) North Carolina. While still, God put an unquenchable desire in me to take the Word to another country. This dissonance manifests itself when my heart aches knowing that I’m missing my Dad’s birthday, or a Sunday meal at MawMaw’s or Grandma Pat’s, or seeing my cousins grow as they begin high school and college. But in my heart of hearts, at the very end of the day, I still know that I am exactly where I want to be, need to be, and am called to be. The tears that come from time to time just mean that I am blessed enough to deeply love and be loved by other people in other places.
- Some cities and places have an energy about them. Sounds new-agey, but if you were here you would know it too. It’s in the kids playing fútbol in the streets, laughing and taunting; in the sounds of Andean pan flutes and drums whirling up to the clouds, while the singers cry out in native languages. It’s in the cars honking, street dogs howling, and fiestas bumping until 3 am even on weeknights. They used to keep me awake in frustration, but now they are a welcomed lullaby reminding me that the city is always alive. I smell it on Saturdays and Sundays when families gather to have their “parrillas,” while the intoxicating smoke of grilled chicken and sausages wafts through the neighborhood. The mountains, majestic and grandfatherly, carry this energy the most. They have seen the Incas fighting off Spaniards for what was always theirs, and now they see the bustle of progress as malls, stories high, are erected, boasting the temptress of commercialism. The energy of the Andes mountains will always tower over our city, promising us security and capturing us with awe. This energy is in Cusco. And it’s something to behold. But not only to witness, because it requires and stimulates more of your senses than that. It’s something to feel, like the rush of adrenaline in your veins when you’ve attempted and conquered something that you feared the most.
ComeCome see us here. 🙂