to wander: elena's family

I am still trying to figure out how I’m supposed to blog about past experiences while I’m currently living out new ones. I’ll do a full post soon of a huge photo dump and explanation, but for now, I’ve been wanting to give time to the moments that have impacted me the most on this little journey.

Like I said before, I am bad at following through with goals I set for myself.
But I am so grateful for the decision to do portraits every day.
It’s allowed me to have an excuse to take the photos I always wish I had taken at the end of a journey like this, and it’s given Alyssa and I the opportunity to meet so many new and interesting people.

Alyssa traveled to San Diego last spring break for a mission trip discussing with issues of immigration and ministering to Mexican immigrants. We decided to visit one of the families she met back then on our way out of town last night. They graciously invited us over for an incredible dinner of carne asada, rice, and beans, insisting that we stay longer the next time we are in town. Our plan beforehand was something like this. “Ok, if it’s weird and awkward, we’ll just say we have to leave by 6:30.” We arrived around 4 p.m. after spending time walking the beach after lunch. In the way of the usual latino hospitality, we were offered delicious melon as we sat around the living room with sweet Elena and her five year old son Benji, speaking spanish together for the first time in months. When her son Haram arrived, we sat with him discussing immigration policy as the finishing touches were being put on dinner. As the evening progressed, dinner was consumed, photos were taken, laughter erupted. Our 6:30 end time stretched on into 7 o’clock…then 7:30…until finally at 8, Alyssa said, “Ok, we really have to get going.” Over and over again we were reassured that “esta casa es tu casa” and that anytime we needed a place to stay in San Diego we were more than welcome.

This offer, coming from a family of five who has taken in at least four “adopted siblings” in the last few years. Coming from a family who works harder than anyone I’ve seen just to put food on the table. Coming from a son who has put his education on hold while he works to save for his final two years.

This unbelievable hospitality to accept anyone as family who enters their house is coming from a family, of whom many would say, doesn’t belong here. Perspective.

Elena, muchas gracias por abrir su casa y su familia a Alyssa y yo anoche. No puedo explicar mi felicidad de conocerles. Espero que podamos vernos en el futuro y que Dios les bendiga 🙂


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