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Photo by Tom Pablo, Andes & Amazon Semester.

A Birthday To Remember

A Birthday away from home can often activate homesickness, as it did for myself. All I wanted was the comfort of my family and friends around me. I wanted to be eating my Mothers chocolate cake in my house, with my dogs at my feet. Not only that, but while receiving messages from friends and family at home is wonderful, it can often remind you of people who you miss dearly.

This all changed when I sat down for dinner with my homestay family, a family that I have grown to adore so much. The whole family and cousins came over to celebrate. We ate Roasted Chicken with a chimi-churri sauce, french fries, and a salad. It was delicious to say the least. I laughed throughout the whole dinner. One of my favorite moments was when my “Uncle”…who is definitely the “funny uncle”… was joking around with the kids saying that they were all ugly. I had immediately understood his sense of humor since the moment that I met him. At the table, he showed me a moving photo of a Guinea Pig. I asked if it was a photo of him. The family burst out laughing thinking that it was the funniest thing ever. He then showed me a photo of a bunch of guinea pigs and said that it was his family. I told him that his family was very ugly. This caused a lot more laughter. I had finally felt like I had gotten to the point where I could really joke around with this family.

After everyone was finished eating, the family turned off the lights. They brought out a chocolate cake that said “Happy Birthday Ale” (Ale is short for Alejandra and what the family calls me) on it. They all stood up and sand Happy Birthday once in Spanish, once in English, and one other version that I had never heard of before but must have been a tradition for them. It included hand clapping and a lot of energy. I then took a bite out of the cake, which is also a new tradition for me, but it was quite fun.  I could not keep the smile off of my face. I was home. This was my home away from home. The cake even tasted similar to my Mothers chocolate cake.

I have felt so blessed and welcomed by this family. In some ways, I feel like we were meant to meet! Our personalities are so similar. My Mother makes me feel so loved. My siblings fighting(in a loving sibling way) reminds me of home and fighting with my sister over stupid things. The dogs barking reminds me of my dogs from home. Family gatherings for dinner and television are quite homey. I have naughty brothers which I have never had, and a 6 month old baby to play with and hold. I really enjoy going home here in Urubamba, and can remember Sept 25, 2019 as a Birthday To Remember.