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Photo by Tom Pablo, South America Semester.

Reminiscing on Goodbyes

I am incredibly grateful for my host family in Tiquipaya, though it was very different from my family back home. In Bolivia, I really appreciated having people who cared for me so much and so quickly and who were so wiling to welcome me into their home and their lives. My family often surrounded me with hugs, warmth and laughter- an atmosphere I valued especially when missing my own family. And although the hour long walks to my house in the bleating sun were usually exhausting and sometimes frustrating, I found that I enjoyed the time to think and process this opportunity.

I found that the relaxing pace of life and quality family time in Tiquipaya arrived at just the right points during our trip, following the strenuous challenges of Cordillera Real and then our rigorous adventures in Peru. Over the last three months, I have particularly cherished the moments that allowed us to reflect on all that we have experienced and to appreciate all that the communities and families of Bolivia and Peru have graciously shared with us. We are so fortunate to have had this journey in South America, and, for me, our Tiqiupaya families are just another stark reminder of the generosity and love the world has to share. They provided a glimpse into some of the different ways that love and generosity can be expressed. I’ve realized that sharing something that seems so small to one set of eyes can be so, so great in another.

As a small token of gratitude, we had a bit of a farewell fiesta with our families on our last day in Tiquipaya. Though much too small a gift to repay all they had shared with us, the party offered a wonderful opportunity to meet one another’s families and have that last chunk of time together. I had not expected saying goodbye to people I had only known for a few weeks to be quite so hard, but as I hugged my mom goodbye and felt the weights of my little sisters jumping on my back, it packed a pretty powerful emotional punch.

To our homestay families:
Muchas, muchas gracias por todo sus apoyadas y amores. Nos dan un experiencia inolvidable y unas casas en Bolivia. ¡Se amamos muchísimo y nunca nos olvidamos ustedes!

Un Abrazo muyyyyy grande,
Amy James