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Reflection On Tiquipaya Homestay

My family had warmed up to me immensely from the first time I arrived to our last days together. I was always overwhelmed with joy when I would walk into the kitchen and be greeted with a Piñalosa (my nickname). At first Jesse (my homestay sister) would not speak a word to me or look in my general direction, but by the end of my time with her she really felt like my little sister. I remember the first time she started feeling more comfortable around me- it was when we went to the cancha (sport court type thing) and we played football. We conversed very little but the entire time we were playing we were smiling and laughing- I felt a feeling of connection that can often not be put into words ( a universal language). I remember feeling upset or self conscious because I couldn´t understand everything my family was saying or be able to communicate all my thoughts. What I realized was that my most meaningful experiences weren´t when I was directly talking to them. Some meaningful moments I recall were sitting outside with my homestay father, chewing coca while he played the charango and I played the guitar, sharing the same feeling of suspense watching a scary movie with Jesse, gripping her arm, singing Gracias A La Vida next to Doña Carlota (my homestay mom) while she hummed along next to me. By the end of my stay I felt like no longer a visitor or guest, but a part of the family.