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Photo by Tom Pablo, Andes & Amazon Semester.

Bittersweet Goodbye in Urubamba

As we are gearing up to leave Urubamba and continue onto the next phase of our program, I can’t help but feel a bittersweet feeling to leave my homestay family here. I remember when I first walked in the door of my home for the past 5 weeks, I felt so nervous and out of place and awkward. Now, I walk in every single day feeling completely at ease, comfortable, and at home: just like a part of the family. I went from barely being able to communicate a few words in Spanish with them, to being able to have full, long conversations with every member of my family. I played games almost every day and joked around with my thirteen year old brother, had beautiful conversations with my mother and celebrated her birthday with her, and connected with my father through music. They were always there for me through the laughing and the crying (like when I broke my laptop and it couldn’t be fixed for a week). I fall asleep every night with love filling my heart, knowing that I’ll wake up at 7:15 every morning to the smell of breakfast and my name “Esperanzaaa!!” being called from the kitchen in a sing-song tone of voice. I looked forward to every meal with my family, all of the food that my mother and father took turns cooking for me was so good, and they never complained about or had any qualms about making me vegan food, even though that isn’t their normal dietary choice of food. When we would go out to lunch, we would walk from place to place until my mother was content that the place had enough healthy vegan food for me to eat. I couldn’t believe how selfless and generous every member of my family was with me. I feel so overwhelmingly grateful for them and for the experience to be with them, be in a family, for so long. It’s my newfound home away from home. I don’t want to leave the comfort of their home, but I am excited to see what Bolivia holds. Farewell, mi familia bonita.