Roses, thorns, buds.

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Roses: talking about God under the guava tree, talking about books over tacos, talking about God on the roof, talking about books on the bus. Cooking soup from leftovers & a few onions from the corner store. Mini excursions for lunch; after-lunch walks through a park. Spontaneous conversations in the kitchen: musing about life as 9 turns into 11 turns into 1 & we remember we have to cook breakfast in the morning. The pre-dawn walk to the bakery; the city sounds that build as I prepare breakfast. Hearing music from a cantina on the way home from dinner; dashing inside to dance salsa; spinning, spinning, spinning.

Meeting guests from Germany, from Cameroon, from Holland, from the Congo. Filling a paper bag with pastries from the corner panaderia; sharing them on the back patio. Gathering & sharing the guavas that fell overnight. Laughing till our faces hurt—over lunch, at the reception desk, while washing dishes. Petting a puppy together outside the torta place. Waking up to light, the Monument, the distant megaphone wail announcing tamales for sale. Balancing two people on an ecobici bike, gleeful, to pedaling the few blocks from the bus to a poetry reading.

Thorns: long days of repetitive orientation sessions. The thrum of interpersonal tension among staff members. Gossip pulsing through the house. Volatility, turnover. Division. Factionalism. I try not to talk about it, not to think about it, when I can. A line from an Indigo Girls song sticks in my head: if we ever leave a legacy/it’s that we loved each other well. My job, here as always: to love well. I remind myself.

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Buds: my project for the year, working with a migrant shelter in the city. Relationships that already feel full of joy & understanding. New friends to pray with. A sprawling, surreal city to wander.

I live so many rich moments each day. To be here feels deeply meaningful. Someone asked me yesterday where I’d go if I could travel anywhere, right now. Right now, if I could go anywhere, I would stay right here.