we’ve made it three months, during which malachi has gained a pound each month, learned to prop himself up on his elbows, flown internationally twice and turned out to be a smiley and friendly baby. thankfully, emi has grown into her role as big sister, and it is awesome to see how wide he smiles when he sees her or hears her voice.

emi started preschool, and although there were many tears the first week, she seems to enjoy it after that initial moment of separation. school is in spanish and it’s hard to gauge how much she understands, but we think she’s at least learned how to communicate through language barriers by using context and the handful of vocab she knows. she comes back with stories about the kids and what they did during the day, although there are things lost in communication at times. it took us a while to figure out what her teacher’s name was because she kept on saying ‘miss billy’, which is no way close to any spanish names we could think of, until we figured out that it’s ‘miss pily’, short for Pilar.

i always assumed that moving down to chile with a three year old would be easy because i would know how to help her navigate the transition. in a lot of ways it has been seamless since her world is still largely our home. recently, she’s been having a hard time anytime we need to go somewhere – grocery store, school, the park, church. she starts tearing up, frantically looking for her backpack, and any small glitch sets off a fresh round of tears. she probably has anxiety about parting and loss given the changes over the past year, and it’s been a huge challenge for me not to react negatively when i’m scrambling to get out the door while she’s having a meltdown over whether i’ve double knotted her shoelaces. i know it’s crucial to offer reassurance, but sometimes that’s easier said than done.

we started year two down here after the summer break. the middle school youth group has grown a bit, and although still small, we’ve seen traction in both groups as the kids get to know one another and nate pushes the kids to think and examine more deeply. i think we’ve both also moved beyond the initial surprise of how things were different than our expectations to really enjoy the kids and the many – intentionally and unintentionally – funny moments throughout the week. i’ve even grown to enjoy hanging out with middle schoolers and engaging in absurd conversations!