I am just over a week from boarding my first international flight in 2.5 years. I arrived in Peru on October 11, 2011, and I haven’t left here yet! Just after arriving I wrote a blog about Celebrating the Small Things. In that blog I talked about the “firsts” I was experiencing: my first solo bus ride, my first solo grocery trip, etc. I’ve come a long way from those firsts, but as I prepare for home assignment (furlough), I’ve noted that I’m still experiencing firsts! Just a couple of weeks ago the movie “Rio 2” opened here in Lima. Because it’s an animated flick, it doesn’t come to Peru in English – only dubbed into Spanish. I had not yet tried to see a dubbed movie in the theater because I didn’t want to miss any of the dialogue, but I wanted to see Rio. So, I gave it a try and I’m happy to report that I understood it all! Also, just this weekend, I had what I would describe as my first vulnerable conversation in Spanish. I’ve had lots of personal conversations, sure, but Peruvians (for many cultural reasons that I can cover in another blog someday) aren’t super inclined to really be vulnerable. As my sister pointed out to me, if someone is speaking your language as a foreign language, you’re only inclined to share deeply when you are sure that the person can understand the depth and meaning of what you’re sharing. So, when this friend began to open up about some things that I am certain aren’t broadcast for all to know, I was humbled and thankful… and I was praying for clear understanding and communication on my part too!

These “firsts” are significantly different than what I experienced in October 2011. They remind me both of how far I’ve come, and of the fact that I am a life-long learner as I continue to live in a culture that is not my passport culture. What a journey this has been, and I trust it will continue to be, as I seek that which He has for me!