Back home and getting my head around all there is to say about the community in Esfuerzo and this year's SOMOS/DASV efforts. Right now, I'm catching up on sleep and snuggles (both were in short supply for me in the DR) and appreciating many things about my normal life, as well as many things about the 1/52nd of a year I spend outside of my normal life.
:: I'm grateful for fresh, clean vegetables. I'm grateful that even if I don't wash my grocery-store veggies, it's unlikely that I'll catch a bacterial or parasitic illness. I'm grateful for the luxury of worrying about pesticides and BPA.
:: I'm grateful that my trash is taken away from my house weekly by a big truck, and that I don't have to think about it at all. I'm grateful that my government maintains our community's infrastructure (roads, sanitation systems) well enough to keep this running smoothly.
:: I'm grateful for cool, sweet, healthy water that I can drink straight from the tap. I'm grateful for toilets that flush reliably.
:: I'm grateful that my period decided to wait until 40 minutes after I returned home to start, so that I didn't have to deal with it without reliably flushing toilets and clean water for washing hands. (I know this is TMI to some people, but y'all will have to get over it. Women menstruate and management of menstrual flow is a very real issue for women in developing countries.)
:: I'm grateful for relatively unpolluted air, and for emissions standards that prevent unlimited diesel exhaust from clogging the airways of the people in my country. I'm grateful for albuterol and antihistamines.
:: I'm grateful for the hospitality of strangers and the exuberance of children.
:: I'm grateful for being shown some of the universal things in life.
:: I'm grateful for a sense of adventure and the human mind's ability to soak in new languages and new customs.
:: I'm grateful for pharmacies that always have antibiotics, anxiolytics, cold remedies, blood pressure medication, and so many other things in stock. I'm grateful that all I have to do is go to the store, and I can be certain I can get what I need, when I need it. I'm grateful that these things are in such ready supply that I can keep stock in my home so that it's ready at a moment's notice.
:: I'm grateful for techology that fosters and supports connections between people via GPS, telecommunication, digital imagery, and so much more.
:: I'm grateful for the ability to document life via photography, and for the many ways in which my ability enables me to connect with people.
:: I'm grateful for a community of friends, both new and old, who find great fulfillment in digging deep into weighty topics, and who can also be completely silly.
All these things and more are in my heart and mind today. Thank you, my friends here in the States, and also to those of you in Paraíso. I am grateful for you.