Tuesday, March 25, 2014


I feel like I've been saying "goodbye" a lot this week. Maybe that's because I've been saying "goodbye" a lot this week. Actually, I've been saying "goodbye" a lot this year. And I don't know anyone who likes goodbyes. I certainly don't. But this week, amidst the goodbyes, I realized that you don't have to say "goodbye" to someone unless, first, you say "hello."  This realization has made the goodbyes more bearable as I consider how blessed I am to have said "hello" and gotten to know many wonderful people during my time Huaraz. 

Some great people have walked through the doors of Albergue Churup. La Doña (lady in charge), Nelly, called me the Public Relations official of Churup. I loved sitting at breakfast, watching people walk up to the top floor and catch the amazing views of the Cordillera Blanca after a sleepless night on the night bus from Lima. I can't tell you how many times I heard "Wow! This is the best place I've stayed at during my entire trip."  (Remember: I roll with the budget traveler crew.  This is no Ritz Carlton. But as hostels go, this place is as good as it gets.) I've had some great fireside chats with people like Cristian and Jaqueline from Berlin, Fernanda and Cayo from Sao Paolo, Benjamin from Belgium, Gunther and Mary Ann from Austria, Hannah from South Carolina, Elissa and Resillyance from Seattle, Mark and Stijn from Holland or Jonathan and Catherine from the UK.  Some of those fireside chats turned into hiking companions the next day. Hostels are a great way to meet fellow travelers. I highly recommend them.  And I'm thankful that I walked into Albergue Churup two months ago. I was so blessed to call this place "home" during my time in Huaraz.  

(La Doña Nelly is a wonderful human being!)

I had the honor of spending about 20 hours each week with 10 amazing girls and the women who take care of them at a nearby children's home.  I know that this organization does great work, but it's also painfully obvious that kids are meant to live with a family.  It breaks my heart (there are actual tears streaming down my face as I write this) as I consider these kids I've spent the last six weeks with... and others... who are not being raised by a family who loves and cares for them. I'm convicted that a few hours of my life here and there is not enough. I'm called to do more. I just don't know what that "more" is yet. Or maybe I do, and I'm afraid to make that jump. 

(Pray for Rosita and her family)

I found great company in the baristas and fellow travelers at California Cafe and Cafe Andino. I love the thoughts that fellow travelers think, and the conversations we have shared. And I love that Lola, Giancarlos and Juan Carlos came to know that me walking through the door meant a latte and chocolate chip cookie (un poco caliente) would soon be requested. Each afternoon the rain came and I knew that one of these places was where I wanted to spend my afternoon. 

(Mi amiga y barista , Lola!)

(And a baby shower full of women in high heels just walked by and I'm thankful that I am not compelled, in any way, to wear those things.  If you are, God bless you.)

I would be remiss if I didn't extend my gratitude to Lacy Rammuno for encouraging me to check out Huaraz. She has shared some amazing hikes with me, some incredible chocolate mousse with me (Thank you, Santino and the Trivio gang), some hillarious memories with me (card house and chuchuasi to name a few...) and her gracious hospitality with me.  I look forward to our paths crossing again somewhere along the way! 

(Lacy and her customary send off at the bus station)

And so, as the Huaraz chapter of my trip closes.... I'm thankful. Thankful for the people I've met here.  I'm grateful. I'm grateful that The Lord provided an amazing place for me to stay, to volunteer, to enjoy and to relax. I'm overwhelmed. I'm overwhelmed by what it means to be "on the road again."  I'm amazed. I'm amazed how The Lord has provided for me ever step of the way, especially those details of the trip that there is no way I could have planned for... Like having a place to rest this morning after an overnight bus from Huaraz to Lima and then the flexibility to adjust to a change in travel plans caused by thousands of miners protesting in (and closing) main roads throughout the country.  Or amazed at the sun that is setting over the Pacific Ocean as I type this. Lord, why me?  Why have you given this life to me?  Muchisma Gracias! 

Oh... And my stomach is grateful to have said "hello" to chicken empanadas made by three generations of these women. Thank you for providing me sustenance for at least half of my meals these past two months. Incredible!

Blessings to you all... wherever your journey is taking you. Mine is taking me to Cusco!  Until then...

Friday, March 7, 2014

hb to THE HB

I'm a name-shortener.  Depending upon the comfort level I have in just about any relationship, I shorten names as soon as possible. When my nephew Hudson Robert Weaver was born on March 7, 2013, one of my first thoughts was, can I call him "Hud"?  The answer became clear vey quickly. Yes. I can call him "Hud" and many other derivatives of his already awesome name. And they all fit. 

Huddy Buddy
Huddy Bobby
Hud Bob
Hud Bob Squarepants
Hud Bob the Builder
The Bob 

He even has his own logo! 

Although my time with Huddy has been short, I'm thankful for the visits I have had. How sweet it was to hold this little man for the first time when he was a month old. And it was just as sweet to watch Zack and Carolyn become parents to this tiny human.  I'll always cherish holding my first nephew on the couch as I had my first real and precious heart-to-heart with his beautiful mother, my first sister.

I'll cherish this day as much as I'll cherish my two months with Huddy Bobby last summer.  How I loved getting him ready for his day...

driving him to Grandma's...

watching him learn to eat with a spoon...

coaxing him to roll over on his play mat...

rocking him to sleep ... 

and all those things that some parents may consider mundane. I loved them all. 

And then I've had to settle for social media moments to cherish during the past six months. I'm so thankful for each picture his parents post or video messages they send.  As a result, I've renamed our family chat on WhatsApp "Huddy Bobby Fan Club", because that is what the chat has become, and I don't think any of us would have it any other way. 

I was super thankful for my day with The Bob in January during my layover between Jordan and Peru.  Not surprisingly, he was the center of attention during our day together. Isn't it amazing how adults can sit and watch babies and be mesmerized for hours. That was pretty much me.  Or maybe it was the jet lag. Regardless, my little Huddy Buddy that I snuggled last summer was much more mobile this time around! I can't imagine what he'll be into when I see him in May. We are all anxiously awaiting his first steps!  Sounds like they are coming soon!

Basically, what I'm trying to say is that I'm so thankful for my nephew. And then I consider his parents and although he can't say it yet, how blessed Hud Bob is to call them his p's.  And then I consider how thankful our family is to celebrate this little life that is one year old today.  And then I consider all that life holds for this little man. I pray The Lord blesses and keeps him and blesses others through him. Pretty sure that last prayer has already been answered!

I Love You, HB!