Nine Years

11 years ago, I was swooned by the sweetest 8 page love letter I had ever read.  I had just completed a semester in Chile with “Jesus Boy,” but little did I know that I had slowly fallen in love with him throughout the four months we had traveled the country and gone on numerous jogs in a Spanish-speaking world.

HULA (Harding University in Latin America) 2002
HULA (Harding University in Latin America) 2002

10 years ago, I spent my very first Christmas away from my family.  It was a pretty big deal to be convinced to spend the holidays away from my farm home.  I was gifted with a Bilingual Bible from Greg.  It’s like he thought I might need it in the future or something.  😉  Here is the note he wrote inside:




9 years ago, we celebrated with family and friends as we said our “I do’s” in front of all to witness.

one of our engagement photos
one of our engagement photos

Nine years, moving to a country above Chile, and three kids later, here we are.  He is still my faithful friend.

Greg McKinzie, thank you for writing that love letter to me 11 years ago.  Who knew that a jogging schedule would completely change our lives together for the forever?  I sure am glad you had an interest in your health.  😉  Here is to nine more glorious years and counting!

Always and forever,

your Meg


Nine Years

You may have lived in AQP for five years if…


September 1 is the 5-year anniversary for Team Arequipa. That is hard to believe. I KNOW that I could add more to this list, but here are the ones I thought up for now:

1. Brown eggs look way more normal than white eggs.

2. You use avocado, red onion, roma tomatoes, and lettuce on all sandwiches year-round.

3. You can recognize the difference in tune from the trash truck and the recycling truck.

4. The trash truck music no longer makes you think of an ice cream truck immediately.

5. Seeing a llama is like seeing a cow on the side of the road. (It is that normal.)

6. You find yourself saying “it’s cold (when compared to the U.S., it really isn’t)” all the time.

7. You order your produce and baking ingredients from the market in the metric system with ease. You also know your own personal recipes in metric system measurements.

8. Your 3-year-old can use the word “sewage” in its appropriate context. (She also points out in passing any water out on the street, “Don’t step in it. It has poopoo and peepee in it.”)

9. Your one-year-old knows the correct way to hail a cab or get the combi to stop.

10. Your almost two-year-old demands to stand in the taxi holding on to the bar over the door. He does this because this is how people stand in the public buses.

11. You are finally comfortable showing up to a party one hour late.

12. When you plan a party, you are not surprised when people show up an hour late or later.

13. You have perfected stovetop popcorn and you comment or think frequently, “There is no going back to that gross microwave stuff.”

14. You have forgotten what good milk products taste like.

15. You use tons of high altitude recipes.

16. You have a homemade recipe for bisquick and stewed tomatoes.

17. Walking 2 miles to get somewhere is normal.

18. You can navigate the city in different combis in order to buy all the kids’ school supplies (without asking for help).

19. Your list of “Things I miss eating from the states” has dwindled from around 150 things to about 5–good Tex-Mex being right there at the top.

20. You have at least two children that have been born here and know that you can spore points immediately in a new relationship if you share that with Peruvians.

21. You can’t think of the English word for certain things, but the Spanish word comes automatically (it happens for me with spices and herbs).

22. You use “Si” and “entonces” accidentally when speaking in English.

23. You refer to evaporated milk as “Gloria.”

24. You are able to teach a visitor to make rocoto relleno and pastel de papas on Arequipa Day.

25. You know that there will be some type of drama every time you leave the country.

26. You no longer think it is surprising when the school asks you to rent a costume for your kids THE DAY BEFORE they are supposed to have it.

27. You don’t feel guilty about not completing homework assignments that ask ridiculous things because you know you have gained the reputation as “that parent” and they know you won’t do it.

28. Your kids beg to have Aji de Gallina every.single.week.

29. You have fallen in love with many people in the Peruvian culture, and it absolutely breaks your heart to think about leaving Peru.

30. You have lived through 5 summers of interns.

31. Peru will always be a part of you and known as “first home” to your three children.

Greg, Kyle, and Larissa, can you add anymore to the list???

You may have lived in AQP for five years if…

8 years


I posted on FB yesterday that nine years ago I emailed Greg to tell him that I would date him starting in our spring semester (we had just returned from our fall semester abroad to Chile).  He was on his way out the door with friends to see one of the LOTR movies.  This anniversary, we went to see The Hobbitt in the theater here.  Isn’t it funny how things come full circle sometimes?

Eight years.  I say this every anniversary… we have grown so much in these eight years.  I think the major thing for me this year, though, is defining what we do share as a married couple and what it takes to really build a long lasting happy marriage.  I believed in fairytale love, but it is becoming evident to me that fairytale love is not what lasting love is built on.  I have always said that Greg and I built our relationship on Christ (we don’t have a whole lot in common), but it wasn’t until this year that I really grasped that fact.  You see, I get why marriage is hard.  We have had rough times, and there will still be rough times ahead.  Times of difficulty.  Times of grieving.  Times that just aren’t happy.  We fight, we disagree, we get on each others’ nerves, we speak disrespectfully to each other, we sometimes don’t understand each other.  But on the flip side of that, we have times where we are totally in love with each other, times of PDA ;-), times where we just want some alone time together, times when we can’t wait to do something together.  It isn’t that we don’t share times of “fairytale love,” it’s that our marriage doesn’t always demonstrate the perfect love connection we are told about through romance novels and chick flick movies.  And when we aren’t that season for birds to be singing above us, or when our hearts aren’t pitter-pattering for each other, where does REAL LOVE come from?  God is love.  He teaches us to submit to one another, to LOVE one another, to respect one another.  And as long as I have heard that, I don’t really think that I fully grasped the concept for my marriage until this past year.

It always kind of bothered me just a little bit when I read Jesus’ teaching about the resurrection and what part marriage will play in it.  He says marriage won’t exist.  If I had to define “my heaven” it would definitely include my husband, and I just really don’t like what Jesus has to say about that thought.  But really, what is important?  Christ’s kingdom and my decision to live out his purpose in that kingdom are what are important.  I trust that when all is complete and made whole by Jesus’s return, I won’t be whining about not getting my perfect version of heaven.  So how does my marriage play out in living out God’s purpose in this time?  Through sharing the journey of God’s mission with my spouse, and living every day to try and honor him as Christ honors me.  Because we are Christians, he can call me out when I am not honoring him with Christlike love.  I can call him out when he is not honoring me with Christlike love.  That, to me, makes all the difference in the world.  When the world says, “You just aren’t compatible anymore.  People change.  You once loved each other, but now it’s okay to move on and find someone else who fits better as your ‘soul mate,'” we can disagree as Christians.  Anyone who has stuck it out in marriage can see the truth in this teaching from the world.  But this isn’t the teaching of Christ, and Christ has a way of taking the world’s teachings and turning them completely upside down.  You love your spouse when you are a Christ-follower because you are demonstrating the love of Christ, and that NEVER changes.  Ever.  Period.

Greg McKinzie, I love you.  We have had quite a journey up to this point.  We have shared many experiences that I smile on and that I also frown on.  But through it all, it is my prayer that I continue to learn to love you better as a Christian wife.  We are far from perfect, but thank you for trying to love me in a way that is Christ honoring.  Thank you for striving to be a father that exemplifies Christ-like qualities to our children.  Thank you for openly loving and respecting me in front of our children so that we can be a positive example of a Christian marriage for their lives.  Thank you for saying sorry when you mess up and showing humility when we may not understand each other.  You are my partner in the gospel.  And I pray that God will bless this marriage for the ultimate purpose of his kingdom work in the here and now.  Here is to many more, my love…

8 years