Mother’s Days in Arequipa, Perú

Today is the actual day. We had a lovely time of fellowship with the church this morning. As I was eating my delicious “pan con huevo y palta” (egg, avocado sandwich), Greg told me not to fill up… they were taking me out to lunch. Special food that I don’t have to prepare or clean up always makes my day.  He knows me well. Also, sweet, dear Etelvina gave me a gift this morning. She said, “Megan, I wanted you to have this.  It is your last Mother’s Day in Arequipa.” For the record, I am having a hard enough time trying to cope with the grieving stage of leaving here.  It is not helping when these people that we love so much remind us of that fact.  But it is true.  And the truth makes me sad. I celebrated my first two Mother’s Days in the states, but every other one (there have been EIGHT in all) has been here in Arequipa.

Mother’s Day 2009 (Ana was still our single child, but Maggie was in the oven)


Mother’s Day 2010 (Maggie had been in a harness.  We are in the park in Miraflores.)


Mother’s Day 2011 (we just became a family of five.  Cohen was 3 weeks old.)


Mother’s Day 2012


Mother’s Day 2013


Mother’s Day 2014 (taken on our roof top)


I chose La Italiana for my restaurant of choice today.  I ordered the shrimp stuffed crab with steamed veggies (one of my AQP all time faves).  La Italiana is a lovely atmosphere.  It sits on one of the city center streets in an old sillar building.  They sat us by a window on the second floor, and I couldn’t help but wonder if I would ever see Volcan Misti on a Mother’s Day for the rest of my life…


I will be in a super reflective mode throughout the remainder of our time here for sure.  This last Mother’s Day has caused me to reflect on all of the beautiful experiences I have had in my time here as a mom.

  • sending all three of my children to their first day of school
  • experiencing a natural birth in Clinica Arequipa when Maggie was born
  • experiencing the birth of a baby boy when Cohen was born (emergency c-section style)
  • watching all three of my children develop vocabulary for Spanish and English at the same time
  • learning how Greg and I would work in a partnership to discipline our children in a foreign culture
  • throwing birthday parties for all three of my children (Peruvian style at times)
  • learning to make natural baby food from the delicious fresh produce of Arequipa (mango and palta being two of my favorites)
  • learning to potty-train my children in a culture that doesn’t offer public restroom spots throughout the city
  • learning to privately change my baby’s diapers when there are no changing tables or good spots to change babies in public
  • taking advantage of the public bus seats for mother’s with small children or pregnant women
  • navigating the doctor’s appointments and doubts when Maggie was diagnosed with hip dysplasia
  • an ER visit with Cohen when he came down with croup
  • attending award ceremonies (the clausuras and promociones of both Ana and Mags later this year)
  • teaching our children what the family of God truly means especially since we do not have blood family close
  • learning how to travel alone with children internationally
  • developing our first traditions as the McKinzie Family (Christmas, Easter, and other special days)
  • knowing how to use Skype really well, and our children knowing our blood family by Skype calls and furlough visits
  • making count-down calendars for special visitors and special visits we make to the states
  • all of the memories of grandparents and friends coming to visit for 2 weeks at a time or longer
  • receiving care packages or letters from people in the mail
  • hearing “I love you” from the three most precious pieces of our marriage
  • Arequipa being their first “home”
  • moving 3 different times in the city (we are a super flexible family)
  • falling in love with our Peruvian family and Team Arequipa teammates

Arequipa, you have taught me so many things about being a mother. These years have been formative years for my marriage and for my development as a mother to three children.  Out of those three children, two were born at the foot of Volcan Misti.  They are true Arequipeños.  Our first was 17 months old when we arrived.  She is a true Arequipeña in her heart.  You are their first real home, and we will be leaving a huge piece of our hearts here when we leave.

Mother’s Days in Arequipa, Perú

¡Felíz Día de la Mamá! 2014

I remember going though a list of “firsts” when we first moved here.  This year, I am documenting many of our “lasts.”  Today, I went to my very last Peruvian Mother’s Day show at my children’s school.  It was as Peruvian as it could get.  Rented costumes, fees for manualidades (crafts to make for the moms), items to buy and give toward the food canastas (baskets) that they give out to a mom from each class, and a show that lasted the majority of the day.  🙂  It was a joy to see all three of our littles perform this Mother’s Day.  I have a ton of pics to post, but I post them because I know I will love looking back at them in the years to come…

this is Olivia Newton John the night before her stellar performance (first time for this momma to ever use overnight curlers like this)
Bethany and I went to get manicures the day before. I wished myself a “Happy Mother’s Day” with this sparkly pink french manicure.
the baskets for every grade. I thought I would have a good chance to win one since I had three chances this year… no such luck.
my “granjero” (farmer)
the banner walking in
Sandy all ready to perform “You’re the One that I Want”
it may not be leather, but we got the “all black” look down
there’s a smile. He was such a grumpalumpugus all morning.
my pin
I was told to fix Ana’s hair with lots of little braids. There you have it.
Hasley and Ana–school BFF’s
Dafne, Mags, and Ana Paula
Cohen’s 1st performance
Yeah, the Zorro hat was all that we had in the house that would work. Ha!
Ana played the flauta and she sang. This made her Show Choir mom AND her marching band dad very happy.
somebody wasn’t too exited about their 2nd performance
There might have been an ice cream bribe. 🙂
Vilma Picapiedra (Wilma Flintstone)
some sibling love in between performances
Hasley and Ana aka Wilma and Betty Flintstone
my three beauties
look at the body of that hair
my little Amazonian
Wilma checking the stage out
does it get much cuter than these three?
Ana was picked to draw the name for the basket. She didn’t pick my name, unfortunately.
Cohen’s class
dance time
glad he had some shorts on
the caboose got left behind
there they go
The Flintstones
in her Arequipa dress
Maggie ready to perform her traditional dance
arms up
our Arequipeña
Ana and her Miss (Angela)
“Mom, get a picture of my skirt twirling.”
the lone girls
class pic
my Mother’s Day gifts from the school crafts
Can you see Cohen’s “signature?”
Ana’s sweet handwritten note (capitalized red letters and all) 🙂
¡Felíz Día de la Mamá! 2014

Whirlwind 2014

It’s that time of year again, when the whirlwind is about to arrive and tomorrow turns into 4 months later.

Greg’s travels

First of all, Greg has been gone all this week.

right before taking off to the airport
right before taking off to the airport

He went to the Pepperdine Bible Lectureship in Malibu, CA, and then he skipped over to Pasadena to Fuller Seminary for a campus tour and NT Wright conference on his new book Paul and the Faithfulness of God.  Greg is hoping to start his doctorate in the fall of 2015.  We hope to know toward the latter part of this year where he is accepted.  We sure have been missing him, but we have survived.  He is enjoying his visit and hanging out with Dad.  Two of my most favorite men in the world hanging out in CA together… presh.

Mother’s Day program

Greg will arrive late Sunday evening, and the kids will have one week of school before their fall break.  I am looking forward to their Mother’s Day performance.  All three of them are learning different dances, and I have already paid the money for the costumes.  That will be on Friday.  It cracks me up that I have paid money for a craft and a costume for all THREE kids.  They will only go to school for the time of their program (a short day).  What an honor!  Expensive and losing my time they are in school.  I know that sounds selfish, but it is kind of ironic considering who they are celebrating, right? 😉

Thompson fun and Mission Teams Retreat

We are looking forward to the Thompson family coming to visit from Lima the next week.  They are coming in a couple of days early before our annual Peru retreat with the Lima and Cusco teams.  We are hosting this year in AQP, and it is always so much fun to see everyone, catch-up, and share stories from the field.  Our retreat will be Wednesday through Saturday out at El Lago.  It is the first retreat where we will not have a child to lie down for a nap… yes!

Pat and Caleb–woohoo!

The following week it will be back to school, but we are looking forward to my older brother, Pat, and his son, Caleb, flying in to AQP to spend a week with us.  It is always so much fun to have family come to visit.  Also, David Fann, one of our CUDA board members, is flying in for a quick visit to check out the new medical program.


The day after Pat and Caleb depart, the real whirlwind arrives… interns.  Greg and I have chatted with each of the five girls coming in this summer.  I am very excited to meet them all in person.  It is looking like it will be a great summer internship with them.  It is sad that it will be our last internship to host in our time here.

Mid-year break

The internship will swallow 2 months, and then it will be the mid-year break to celebrate the Peru National Independence Day and Arequipa Day in August.

The whole “moving back to the USA thing” gets real

Then we will find ourselves in September with only four months left in this chapter of our AQP life.  Crazy.  The whirlwind is almost here.  I want to savor every single moment.

Whirlwind 2014