If you read my blog, it's probably because we're friends on facebook and if we're friends on facebook, you probably know that I recently went on a trip to Peru and Mexico with Israel. And you've probably seen a few pics, and maybe even read the blog I wrote for Exquisite Events, but you haven't heard the full story. (If you want the short made-for-TV version, read the Exquisite Events post).
Not like it's anything dramatic or overwhelmingly amazing or horrible, so don't get your hopes up, but I did have some life changing moments on this trip, and probably not in the way you'd expect.
This is what you might expect:
and there was plenty of that.
And there was also lots of
But it's the stuff that can't be captured on camera that left a mark on me.
I'm in a heightened philosophical phase in life because I'm in a master's program at USC in social entrepreneurship. From day one, we were taught that from that day forward we were never to look at the world the same way. It's weird that some academic program would have me see life differently than I did as a Peace Corps Volunteer or Bible study leader or short term missionary. Maybe it's just because I'm getting older. But I am starting to see the world differently. This has been the progression (or digression) of my thought process:
at 16: I'm going to change the world!I'm starting to ask a lot more whys? But I'm also starting to realize that some things just are the way they are. I wondered if any of the people that we saw while traveling through rural Peru would even want the help that we plan to provide as social entrepreneurs.
at 24: I'm going to change the world!
at 25 in the Peace Corps: The world is impossible to change. At least the quesadillas are delicious.
me at 27: I actually can change the world?? I just need a business plan!
This little amigo, Ruy, was quite the entrepreneur. He just wanted us to pay to take a picture with him, and he put his sweet little arm around me when Israel told him to give me a hug for the photo.
If you hadn't noticed, my thoughts are a little scattered. I'm just trying to make sense of everything. I am totally spoiled rotten. I am spending a fortune (that I don't have by the way) on an education because I feel so strongly that I have to do my part to make the world a better place. But does the world even want my help? And why do I think that I can spend money on school and trips and things that make me a more "well-rounded individual" and "broaden my horizons" and "challenge" me, when all this kid wants is a Peruvian Sol for a photo?
And then on top of everything, we went back to Mexico. My home away from home. I saw my host family who is actually making progress on their little restaurant, which I (and some of you) helped to fund and I see that our help was well received and is slowly but surely helping this one random family on the top of a mountain in Mexico get ahead. So far, my thoughts as a 27-year-old are more accurate - I would have done a better job helping this family with some feasibility analysis...
Anyway, this trip made me think about myself and what I want. Why am I going back to school? I'll let you know when I'm done.
Another weird thing that happened on this trip that never happened in the 27 months living in Mexico or the 4 or 5 weekend trips back since, was that I was absolutely heart broken to leave. When I left at the end of my PC service, I was sad and knew I would miss everyone, but I was ready to go home. This trip, I felt like Mexico was home. I felt just incredibly loved, and it had little to do with Israel (even though I of course miss him), and everything to do with everyone. My host family, Israel's family, and almost everyone I know in Mexico (except for maybe the town delegado who still crosses his arms when he sees me), is warm, welcoming, and loving. (This was just Mexico, by the way. The people in Peru were actually colder than people in the US.)
I didn't want to leave those people and they didn't want me to leave.
I learned more than I intended to learn in 10 days in Peru and Mexico. I learned that I'm still wondering what I'm doing with my life, and how I can analyze and formulate a plan to make sense of it and make a difference, and I learned that I want to be more like the people in Mexico. And that goes for every day life and goes for my future business venture. I want to genuinely love - like my Christian upbringing always taught me to do - but like the Mexican people actually do.