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Two Dragons welcome the sunrise with an improvised dance atop the Andes. Photo by Ryan Gasper.

adios tiquipaya

last night we had a goodbye party during which we would thank our homestay families and present our ISPs. we were told to tell our homestay families to come at 4:30 with the expectation that they would show up at 5:00. most families showed up by 4:45 but a few like mine had yet to arrive. at 5:05 a member of every family was there except for mine. since emmy’s family had to leave at 6:00 we agreed we would go first after the welcoming speech and the ice breakers but that we would wait a little longer to see if my family would come. at 5:25 they still hadn’t shown up and i felt terrible. had i been such a bad homestay daughter that they didn’t want to even say goodbye? i started going over every little thing i could have done wrong in the last four weeks, was it because i was late to lunch yesterday or because i was at home with a headache last sunday instead of going to tiquipaya? and then another part of me was trying to rationalize it by the fact that they might just have too much work to. my mom here works until at least 7 almost every night and then on weekend nights they prepare chickens to sell in the market. while that made me feel a little better, i was still hurt because i just wanted to say goodbye and thank them for letting me into their home for the last four weeks. but there was nothing i could do, no way to call or text them and ask where they were so i went on to help welcome the families, played palo bonito and then gave my photography presentation. when i finished i looked over and saw my sisters, Lineth and Daniella watching from the back. i ran over to hug them and thank them for coming and they explained that there hadn’t been any trufis so they’d had to walk the entire way to the farm and that’s why they were late. we  spent the rest of the night talking and eating and i gave them my gifts and a teary eyed Lineth gave me some of their family photos so i wouldn’t forget them. i don’t think i ever could but the photos are now in the same bag that i keep my photos of my family back in the us and are just as precious to me.