Despite the fact that I love adventure, there is a large part of me that will always be a homebody. I love my dog, my bed, my family- even the smell of my house brings an immediate sense of comfort. I have chosen, however, to leave the comforts of home behind and along with my 11 fellow students, embrace the challenge of finding home when you’re really miles and miles away from it.
I felt home in Peru when my homestay mom recognized my nightly spot at the dinner table and when she let me look after her baby grandson, Sergio, while she went out for the first time.
I felt home when I forgot the word for manzanilla in English, and was excited about it (camomile!).
I felt home laughing with my homestay family in Paru Paru, all overwhelmed with the challenge of language and accepting temporary defeat by communicating with hand gestures and endless Quechua repetition.
I felt home bonding over popcorn and Shakespeare with my instructor Ellie, gathering recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert popcorn meals.
I felt home playing with the children of Paru Paru after a long day of hiking, covering my yawns with funny faces and swinging laughing children through the air.
I felt home laugh-crying about over-priced mac and cheese with my friends, strangely comforted by a stranger from Pittsburg.
Despite the fact that sometimes I can feel like I’m surrounded by newness and discomfort, the known feelings of home are ones that I am happy to say are regular here in Peru. It’s easy to feel homesick, but over the past 3 weeks I have learned that it isn’t necessary to be in your house to feel at home.
If you open yourself up to it, you can feel the warmth of home wherever you are.