On Saturday, I say good-bye to Chimbote. I am not really sure how the end of September snuck up on me so quickly. I find it hard to put into words exactly how I feel about my time in Peru. What I will say is that this has been one of the best, most rewarding years of my life. Being away from family and friends for weddings, births and family vacations was not always easy, but I think the struggles made this experience even more valuable. I have met some of the most amazing people throughout my year. I have been welcomed as a member of the community. I have learned the real difference between want and need. I have learned the value of family and creating relationships. I have learned to just sit with someone in silence to pass the time. I have learned that my stomach maybe is not as strong as I always thought. I have learned how to argue in Spanish (and win!).
To the people of Chimbote, muchas gracias por todo. No tengo las palabras para decir lo agradecida que estoy por todo lo que me han dado durante este año. Les voy a extrañar muchisimo! Nunca les voy a olvidar y espero que nos vemos muy pronto.
To everyone back home, thank you for your support, your prayers, your laughs, your letters and emails. You have been just as important to me through this journey as everyone I have met in Peru. Thank you for keeping me grounded and thank you for reminding me who I am. This little book sums my thanks up pretty well. I look forward to seeing you all in just a few short weeks!