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This March we had two volunteer groups come from the States to help with a variety of projects at Poppys House. In between hauling bags of concrete and painting rooms, they got to know the girls. They were able to convey a lot despite knowing little Spanish, and the girls got very attached very quickly. I was blown away by how these kids, who have every reason not to trust people, quickly made these strangers their friends.

That got me thinking: Wow, I am lucky. I don’t just get to know my girls for ten days, but ten months. I get the opportunity to be immersed in the Spanish language long enough to learn it. I’ve grown with them. I know who is more likely to burst out in song, to attempt avoiding chores, and to ask to eat fruit right before dinner. I know the little details that exist within a slow day without an audience. Those details, in a way I don’t know how to fully explain, are everything.

Being in awe of your surroundings and the culture around you is an amazing feeling, but there is also something deeply special about what used to feel foreign becoming comfortable. It was difficult and weird seeing people from my own country leave for their homes while I stayed, but it will also be devastating when I have to leave my life here. I will be losing so many beautiful details. After all, in the U.S. I don’t have any siblings, but here I have many.

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