The reason that was such a surprise has to do with our year in Puerto Supe. There are good things I could say about it, but one of my major struggles was that I felt so fake. It seemed like every time I left my house, I was putting on a happy face-- pretending to enjoy people's company, laugh at their jokes, delight in their stories. I was unhappy and so sick of pretending otherwise.
The comparison is striking and leaves me deeply grateful for what we have here. To sit down for dinner with 8 friends and be genuine, genuinely happy but also free to be sad or scared or frustrated. It's a freedom I cherish and hope I don't take for granted too soon.