Hi! I am reporting live from Cochabamba, where I was able to spend my day exploring the big city. But this post is not about Cochabamba. Rather it is about a place called Tiquipaya and the wonderful people I have waiting for me there – my homestay family.
I grew up with two older brothers, and even though I would not change a thing, deep down I had always wanted a sister. Someone to do more sisterly things with, like watch shows together, paint nails, talk about girly things – stuff like that. Little did I know that in a different part of the world, there was not one but two sisters waiting to meet me. Before the trip even started I was already counting down the days until the homestay portion. Just the prospect of having siblings at home close to my age was super exciting, as both of my brothers have already left the house. I cannot even begin to describe my excitement when I realized I was part of a big family with a mother, two sisters, one brother, one family friend – who is considered part of the family, and not to mention my baby cousin Bailey who toddles around the house during the day. The best part is that my sisters are 14 and 18 years old, meaning I am right in between them age-wise.
Immediately from day one of the homestay I knew my family was a perfect fit. My two sisters were cooking dinner and I went to help them and talk to them to get to know them a little better. They were playing music and asked me if I knew how to dance. I laughed and said I was not very good but the girls insisted I was wrong. Two minutes later all three of us were dancing and singing and my older sister even taught me some Bolivian dances that they do during special occasions, for example, their quinceñeras. This memory is just one of many that I have already made with my family. To briefly list a few more, the three of us went to the cancha and played soccer games, my older sister painted my nails, every day we play endless card games, we watch Sunday morning cartoons in bed and telenovelas every night before we go to sleep. Just yesterday my family and I made homemade pizzas so I could try some Bolivian pizza and we have plans to bake and make bracelets this Sunday.
Now I want you to know that I do love my brothers- they are amazing. But here in Bolivia I found something I was never really able to experience at home – a house full of girls and sisterly love. We talk for hours and hours about nothing at all and when I am with them I feel like I truly am part of the family. I know that wherever I go, I will always have a place I can call my home here in Bolivia, and I will be welcomed back with open arms. I hope I will one day be able to return to this amazing place and visit, and maybe bring some of my New Jersey pizza from home for them to try.