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Photo by Ryan Kost, Andes & Amazon Semester.

My Family

It’s the last day in Tiquipaya and I’m already missing my homestay family. Each member has an integral place and purpose weaving together a collective unit, and I can’t imagine my experience here without each and every one of them.

First there is Patty, who like my homestay mom Leti is constantly caring for and doting on others. She is filled with laughs, stories of her adventures in Germany, and she made the best quesadillas when the power went out and we ate dinner by candlelight. Then there is Juan, who tended to be on the quieter side but would always be working behind the scenes to care for 4 year old Santi or work in the garden with his father. Third is Ana, bubbly and funny, an amazing artist, and who never shies away from teasing her siblings and providing humor and entertainment for the whole family. My last sibling is Santi, who at 4 wants nothing more than to play with his cars, trains, and adored truck Mate outside for entire afternoons at a time. He will never fail to ask me to  “jugamos?” With big brown eyes and a cheeky smile, no matter the time of day, whether it be the middle of a meal, an attempted but failed nap, or even when I’m on my way to class. I’m going to miss him a lot.

My father is Wilfredo, and while he is busy working throughout the day, he always returns home with a smile and lots of energy to play with Santi (who never tires). Finally there is Leti, a super human, super mom, and genuinely good and beautiful person. She cooks the best food, keeps the home clean and organized, and has endless patience and love for her 4 children. On top of that, she is an incredible weaver and teacher, and along with Dona Carlota, worked with me to create and finish a Ch’uspa (bag). She is the wato (shuttle) who weaves the family fabric together, and I couldn’t have asked for a more caring and kind mother.

Together, my family creates an unbreakable tapestry woven with laughs, games, and a lot of love. I feel incredible lucky to have become a part of this close-knit unit for two weeks, and I look forward to the day when I will meet them again.