The month of August brought a welcome change of pace for my work and life down here. The month started out with Amber and I FINALLY getting our visas. A supposedly one month process ended five months later with our Peruvian residency cards and a nice stamp in our passports…just in time for our departure. While in Lima, we picked up a group of physical therapy students from Regis University who spent a little over a week with us doing home visits, free clinics, learning about PT and health care in Peru and helping out with the international conference that Amber has been working her butt off on for the past ten months (you can read about it on her blog here). I had a blast with this group. Not only were they a ton of fun to be around for the week, but it was great to get a view of Peru from new eyes after being here for almost a year. Things that I no longer think about were new, exciting and often challenging for them. Perspective is a great thing and I feel that as my life has become more normal down here, I have lost some perspective and settled into the mentality that this is “just how it is”.
Following the PT students, I had a quick couple days back in Chimbote to do some laundry and help out with a free clinic before heading back down to Lima to pick up a friend that was visiting. We had a wonderful time camping at the base of Machu Picchu (which is just as breath-taking the second time around) before heading off for an Amazonian adventure. We stayed at a lodge that is part of a conservation project in the Tambopata reserve. If anyone ever goes to the Amazon, go here: http://www.baltimoreperu.org.pe/. We stayed with a family, had a local guide, got to meet lots of people, see wild macaws and parrots, and hitch a ride back to town on the local fruit taxi. The jungle is unbelievable and if it were not for all the blasted mosquitos, I could have stayed there forever. Thank you for a wonderful trip, Caitlin! I had a blast!
Living far away from home has really helped me to realize who the important people are in my life. A week ago, on August 25th, Fr. Phil Wallace from my parish at home passed away after a long struggle with cancer. Fr. Phil was an amazing man who truly led by example and was a great inspiration to everyone he met. The outpouring of love shown by everyone throughout this past week is a testament to what a great man he was. I feel endlessly blessed to have met him. I will be forever thankful for his presence in my life. So please, say a prayer for Fr. Phil tonight. For anyone interested, this is a wonderful article written on him in the Seattle Times.