It’s been one year to the day since I arrived in Lima, Peru and began the most amazing year of my life. I’ve said many times that I feel like I’ve lived out several lifetimes in this past year. I’ve passed through my share of seasons, emotional states, and border crossings. I’ve felt alternately like an old lady and a ten year-old girl.
I am now more aware of who I am and what I want to accomplish in my life. The details are still a work in progress, but I know that my primary goal is kindness. Without that ingredient, none of my other accomplishments will matter. It’s like trying to bake a cake without flour. Just doesn’t turn out very well.
But I’ve also realized over the course of this year that I need to learn to balance kindness with strength. I want to get better at acknowledging when enough is enough, speaking my mind, standing up for myself and the things I believe in, and muddling through hard times. I don’t think any of these qualities are at odds with being kind; in fact, I think they are vital elements of self-kindness.
Enough with the life lessons. Today I want to reflect on all of the fun times I had this past year with friends, new and old. Here are some great photos that celebrate those moments.
And of course, thank you to all the wonderful people who made this year so memorable!
My year of international volunteer service may have passed, but there is plenty of travel in store for me in the future. I hope to keep sharing it with you all as I go. Stay tuned!