I’m back to an adjustment phase, or time of transition. There are all these emotions flitting about. People in this community are getting used to the idea that John and I will be gone for over 3 weeks. A couple people have asked me questions about the U.S. and what our travels will be like… How many hours will it take for you to get home? Are you scared to go in a plane? I would be.

I’m simultaneously excited and a little scared to go home. 

Another lizard that we sometimes see outside. I think I have identified as a 'streamside skink'. Better photos and information at:

I feel a little displaced at the moment. As I prepare to go home for a short visit, it stirs me to contemplate what it will be like to leave this community in a more permanent way next February. I had a few moments of realization - for example, I hadn’t shown another producer how to print all of the new labels for this year’s products. She was familiar with several of them already, but not all. Kinda important to share for the time when we’ll be away and for future knowledge!

I’m reviewing the last 11 months and putting myself under the microscope. What do I wish I had done better? More of? Less of? (I know the perfectionist side of myself comes through, and I wish I didn’t think in terms like this sometimes: i.e. better vs. worse). One thing is that I wish that I had spent more time making the crafts with the Hands of Hope producers. I have spent some time, but definitely not as much as previous volunteers. Part of it was a conscious choice. I’m not especially good at crafts (and by that, I mean, I’m well below average!), so it didn’t seem like the best use of my time. I also spent less time at Hands of Hope than previous volunteers have, what with my three afternoons of massage and leading music therapy sessions weekly with the patients, on top of the usual patient activity with Antonia.

This week I spent a couple chunks of time with the producers, and the situation lent to more informal sharing - talking about how many siblings we each have, they wanted to know how many kids John and I want to have, etc. I wish I had done more of this, which makes me grateful for our extended time with this community.

I have a little trepidation about going home because I’m wondering if it will still feel like home. Will it feel so good to be back that it will be excruciating to leave? Or conversely, will it feel odd to be at home? On a lighter note, John and I are curious how our bodies will adjust to eating American fare.

Youth can be the same the world over; these two are trying to find the perfect background for their 'selfies'.

I tend to think in extremes in the midst of change, so bear with me. Rationally, I know that all will be well. As many people do, I build situations up in my head and accentuate the worst or the best of what is to come. And it’s usually a lot less drastic once the future arrives. 

One aspect of living simply is that I have more time to think and reflect. Because we have less money as volunteers and choose to spend it wisely, events and travel take on more meaning. There is more of an anticipation. I’m grateful for this most of the time. I feel like I’m a little less fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants and impulsive - mostly in a good way - and more intentional. Because I have already started processing the emotions surrounding my visit home and being aware of what I’m feeling & putting words to it, I feel like there is more clarity and more realistic expectations. I’m still adapting to a new way of approaching life: living more intentionally, traveling more simply and with less means.

The patients got their salah rebuilt finally, so they can enjoy sitting in the shade while the breeze gently rolls through. 

As is the case for many people, change is not easy for me. Having the time & space (I’m back to that phrase again, you’re welcome, John!) to process things helps.

Nonetheless, I’m really looking forward to my time and space being infringed upon when we are in the midst of all of our dear friends and family back home.