As usual of late, my brain flits like a hummingbird over a thousand blooming thoughts. Sometimes I wish that I could simply take all the things that I’m holding, undam them like an exhale, and you could catch it all up and know everything. Afterwards, we could take a nap.

There has been a distinct change in the air. Lima has dipped under autumn’s gentle sloping roof, on its way to the valley where gray lingers, the nights are cooler. I knew it was coming. I’ve spent many moments with my cheeks pressed towards the sun and wishing it was here to be mine forever. But still, I don’t regret the sudden inclination to wear flannels and drink tea. There is something about being chilled that I associate with a sort of strange, sweet autonomy.

And me, I’ve seasoned, too. I think I was holding onto a bit of skepticism and reserve, but I have since found a deep joy in my daily Peruvian life.

Going to Machu Picchu was, unmistakably, a turning point for me. It was last minute, makeshift, rife with harrowing issues, and it was unequivocally amazing. Something about the soft rain and damp dripping down yellow buildings and shiny green leaves. It was nice to be in my own headspace, it was nice to greet my backpack like a good friend. And, then of course, there is the Amazon, the crown on the top of my wayfaring glory, a reverie realized. Mostly, though, I am tremendously relieved to have stumbled into parts of Peru that resonate with me. A complete indifference to Lima has been a weight on me these months. And, even such brief jaunts into adventure and extraordinary, unbelievable beauty has made my crappy job completely worth it.

Words can hardly express how deeply and thoroughly I adore my roommates. We are a triple venn diagram of distinct colors, overlapping enough to create gorgeous new shades of common ground. We don’t have to spend every waking moment together, but we choose to, because we are lucky and we want to. There flows an incessant volley of wisecracks, bright ideas, dirty jokes, devotion, confessions, and counsel in our life shared round the clock. I like how they ask me for things. I like how I don’t ask for things and they don’t get mad when I take them. We tremble with our mouths covered, shaking with laughter over secret chat rooms at work, two feet away from each other. We make up names, take naps in the park, recline over coffee and indulgent food. We daily tease, spin tales, plan exploits, bare hearts. One makes farting noises in the stall next to the second, and all three dissolve into hysterics of different pitches. Pink post-it notes scrawled with affection and encouragement appear in hidden pockets. We clink glasses brimming with sticky, tropical concoctions; we curl up on the couch in nightly, girly unanimity. Trouble-making and peacemaking ensue with equal solidarity.

I am happy. It is an incessantly beautiful thing. In many ways, I look in the mirror and feel as though I have finally arrived. Not in the sense that everything in my life is idyllic — quite the opposite, in fact. And not in the sense that I have abandoned my eternal exertion towards betterment. But first and perhaps foremost, I look and see a woman, one that finally holds some of the womanly qualities revered in the heart of a girl who has felt perpetually young.

There are other things, too. I have been gently cultivating small, humble habits that bring me disproportionate amounts of gratification: I am learning the art of cooking for one, and have found it to be surprisingly satisfactory. I floss every night. I set goals for myself and inch towards them. Sometimes I workout until I am panting, and then later I will see real progress. I try to drink at least a liter of water each day, if not two. I may despise my job, but at the very least, I have finally nailed down the difference between affect and effect, and how to spell exercise correctly, the first time. I have come to even small terms with the question mark of my future. I read my bible each night and feel its vast gravity —  as a thing in and of itself, and on me.

I am deeply pleased, presently, as a whole. When I pull it apart, as I always do, and examine why, I think it would be this — that I have somehow accidentally struck balance, as haphazard and valuable to me as striking gold. Because I am rectified with my past and hopeful about the future, I can look straight across the expanse of the present and feel contentment well up within me, even if here isn’t quite it, yet. Think of it like this — if even one of these is heavier than the other, how hard it is to walk in a straight line! No wonder it’s so easy to lose one’s way. This, and, I think I am coming to decide that happiness isn’t quite what I thought it was, after all.

As for the rest of it, the yes, but, the and?, it always seems to come back to writing. I am an island of hopes and potential bobbing in a sea of questions and fears and false starts. But, I am coaxing myself into composure, and more importantly, realization. As it pertains to you, I hope to say that you’ll be hearing from me again very soon, sooner than a eighty-eight day drought.