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Photo by Teva Corwin (2018 Summer Photo Contest Entry), Peru 4-Week.

Home at Last

The month of the October is going by faster than I could’ve ever imagined. Since I had arrived in Urubamba on September 11th, I have had the opportunity to become increasingly closer with my host family. Prior to coming to the Peru, one of my largest apprehensions was the uncertainty of living with complete strangers. Family has always been my backbone when I was in the States. Everything I did, I did with my family. Everything I felt, I shared with my family. We are one cohesive unit, and when one member is missing, the rest of the group takes it very hard. Leaving my family, and coming to terms with the fact that I would no longer depend on them in the same way, was a hard pill to swallow. But I was confident in my decision to come to Peru and faithful that I would survive just fine. However, I knew that the only way I would make it through the semester, is if I had something to fill that familial space. Along with the support I was getting from my family in the US, I knew I needed a home in Peru as well.

As we near the end of October, I can proudly say that I have found one. Everyday, I find myself chatting with my host family for an hour after dinner while sipping mate. After mate, I might help Narda paint her apartment or run out for a quick errand. On one outing, we visited the fish farm in Pumawanka. Flavio and I rushed around the field throwing fish food into the dark water and watching the trout rush to the top, splashing water everywhere. Another weekend, we had visited the family’s chakra where I had introduced to a variety of plants and crops. I had tried cuy for the first time at lunch with my family, and afterwards, went to the plaza for the ice cream. We spent hours watching all kinds of films, from Anabelle 3 and Toy Story 4, to X-men and Godzilla. Sometimes, we’d have popcorn and CocoCola and coo at MeeseMeese, the family cat, who always curls up on Flavio’s bed. On Sunday mornings, I expect to grab groceries with Narda at the market. In the afternoons, we shop for clothes and pick the next batch of movies to watch. When we arrive back home, I know I’ll be coerced into a game of Chabaschabas (tag) or escondidas with Flavio.

It has felt both strange and exciting to build memories and routines with a new family. It is incredible to see myself so anxious and uncertain at the start of my time in Urubamba, yet coming to expect the plans of each day and develop supportive relationships with my family members. As I increasingly find myself becoming more comfortable whenever we are laughing, working, chatting, or cleaning together, I know at last, that I have finally found my home.