Lima Life #8: “…He Made a Hippo that Weighs a Ton”

Another week over, a new one just begun.

Can you believe it? Tomorrow starts the last week of Spanish class at El Sol, and I must admit that it will be a little sad to leave. I have had such an awesome time getting to know the other students from all over the world and having the opportunity to be taught by some of the best professors (laughing our heads off all along the way, of course). I think leaving the school and my host family will be the two reasons that leaving Lima will be sad. I can do without the noise and pollution and, while the views and ocean are very nice, for me it is about the people. Places and things pass away, one by one or sometimes all at once, but it’s always the people who mean the most to me. Even if there are people that I don’t particularly like, I’m stronger and better for having known them. And it’s the memories of the time I spend with others that make the best souvenirs.

Yesterday, Jimmy and I went to the zoo! We were joined by a new friend from Indiana who is also studying at the school. The place is enormous and there are all kinds of neat animals. Lots of the usual suspects, but also a lot of cool Central and South American animals, especially birds. Very tiring for me to walk around the place but certainly vale la pena (worth the pain).

We also took a trip to “the Centro”, aka downtown Lima where a lot of the historic, colonial buildings are. I’ve been down there a number of times already but yesterday was the first time I was able to see the Cathedral Museum which featured a little exhibit of my patron saint and spiritual grandpa SAINT JOHN XXIII.


Last week I finished reading a biography of him by some priests from his home diocese of Bergamo in Italy. It’s the second biography about him I’ve read and this one was definitely my favorite. We are so blessed to know so much not just about what happened in his life but we are also offered a glimpse into his mind and heart through his personal diary, Journal of a Soul. It’s the only document of its kind in existence; it is the personal diary of Angelo Roncalli (John XXIII) starting from the time he was 14 as a high school seminarian in Bergamo and ended with his death as Pope John XXIII in Rome. It’s a huge book…I’ve been working on it for over two years. Not really a very good “afternoon at the beach” kind of book, but well, well worth it.

Here’s a glimpse at what’s ahead: This week we will finish classes. Every friday the school has a little graduation ceremony for each of the students who are leaving that week. I’m looking forward to it, especially because there’s always Pisco. Immediately after that, Jimmy and I head to the airport and fly to Cusco, where we will spend Saturday exploring. Sunday we take a bus (read: home-school van) to a town with a very odd name (Ollantaytambo) where we will catch a train for Aguas Caliente, the town at the base of Machu Picchu. Monday morning we will enter Machu Picchu and spend the day exploring. We hope to catch the sunrise from there, so please pray that it works out. Monday evening we trek it back to Cusco via train and fly back to Lima on Tuesday. Tuesday night and Wednesday will be spent packing and saying goodbye to our friends and host families in Lima as we head to the airport Wednesday evening for our overnight flight to Miami. Jimmy and I will arrive in Chicago around 9:00am on Thursday, July 30.

Please keep us a in your prayers this week. I’d love to keep you in mine.


In Christ,

*A note about the title: it’s a line from a children’s song we teach at Totus Tuus, which is a Catholic day camp. I thought it was relevant cuz we went to the zoo. Don’t judge me.

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