An Ode to James Chilada

Yesterday morning, we said goodbye to the first of our group to head home. Sweet Baby James (as he was so named by our BFF Isla) is now back in his homeland of Washington, spending time with his family and friends before taking off on his next adventure. But it only seems right to take a moment and say how thankful I am to have gotten to know James. Simply put, James is everyone’s favorite, from the church ladies to his clients to the kids he worked with. James has the ability to really connect with people, especially in the face of differences. He’s a multicultural kind of guy, always interested in learning from cultures, constantly working on a language and easily embracing the many people he encounters. It’s what makes James, James. He also embodies the phrase “simple living” more that anyone I’ve ever met. All year long he biked everywhere, sported a cameraless flip phone and willingly slept in an oversized closet. On top of that, his animal shirts are legendary and his dance moves are unmatched (this boy is not afraid to shake his hips). His cooking is always on point, even when it was a little too spicy for Julius. And he’s incredibly funny. I’ll always remember the Spanish shouting matches we’d get to, the kind New Yorker accents we would obnoxiously do and his infamous chopstick song. All in all, it was always an adventure with James and he was a true and gracious leader among us.

I speak for all of us in this community when I say that we will truly miss this paleta loving, bike riding, rock climbing, vegetable eating, (flawless) Spanish speaking, go with the flow kind of guy. James, we miss you already and can’t wait to follow you as you venture on! #SATXforlife

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