Coming back to San Pedro this time was much easier than my first arrival. I felt good about returning to a place that I knew. I had a family to stay with, I had a few friends from my language school, and I knew a lot of the teachers that taught there. I got really excited as we crested the first mountain coming into the lake. I felt like I was coming home.
I think it’s important to dive into a new place. Dive in completely and try to make it your home. At first, I didn’t like that idea, because I wanted to stay true to my roots: Virginia. Somehow, it seemed that if I were to try to make a new home, sentiments for my old home would decrease. Nope, that’s not how it works. I’ve found that when you try to expand your heart, there is always room for a new home.
As I arrived to my house I heard a chorus of “Hola Aaron!!!” It was almost like they coordinated this greeting. There’s nothing like the feeling of coming home, or hearing your own name. I dropped a few of my bags and looked around for my little brother. Tiny Hector’s mom released him (as he was scrambling to get out of her arms) and he ran to me. He had a huge smile and reached out to hug me, but because of my size he just grabbed my leg. I leaned down and he gave me a high five. (My family told me that for a few days after I left Tiny Hector would come up to my room and knock on my door and say “RRROOONNNN!” He thought that I just had my door closed, he didn’t really know I left!)
My family was really happy to see me. They said they had a surprise for me. We walked closer to the kitchen and they opened the door to their room. But it wasn’t their room, it was a redecorated, rearranged room and there were streamers and balloons everyone.
Two more students had joined the family from the language school and my old room was taken. In order to make room for me, they moved to another room so that I could have a place to sleep. Their entire family sleeps in one room, and they moved everything to the small room to the side of the kitchen so that I could stay there.
Wow. Such graciousness and hospitality.
Many times I feel such a weight of gratitude, that it feels like a burden that I have to repay. But there isn’t a way I can repay them. They do it out of love and they expect nothing in return.
I suppose seeing the joy on my face is a down payment though.