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Andean priest and spiritual leader, Don Fabian Champi Apaza. Photo by Tom Pablo, Andes & Amazon Semester.

Peach Trees

My room in my homestay faces due east, and I’ve stopped using an alarm because the rising sun wakes me up in the morning. The window next to my bed opens onto a small grove of peach trees, and my little brother and I love to reach out and eat them fresh off the trees. We toss the pits out the window, for the chickens to peck at in the grass. We do the same with the fig skins and banana peels from all the fruit we eat. There’s a massive hole in the mosquito net over my bed, and I wake up with four new bites every morning.
Breakfast is some kind of hot, sweet, and vaguely corn flavored drink and traditional Bolivian bread. Every morning I ask what the drink is called and every morning I get a different answer, but as far as I can tell it`s the same drink. I push for space in front of the bathroom sink to brush my teeth with all three of my host siblings. At 7:45, I head out the front gate, where Charlie and Marco are waiting for me. Charlie is usually brushing his teeth.
It`s a five minute walk from my house to Evans` house, where we add him to the crew. The four of us have decided we are the West Side squad, given that we live to the west of la Granja. We`re very original. We get to la Granja and say hello to everyone else congregating in the gazebo. Morning check ins usually consist of talking about what we ate last night or for breakfast that morning. Food is very popular in our group.
We have Spanish class from 8:30 to 11:30, and then we meet up again. As I’m writing this right now (after Spanish class) there is a very exciting and chaotic game of Cambio going on next to me. The West Side squad walks home together for lunch, dropping off in reverse order from the morning. I almost always take a nap after eating lunch with my siblings and abuela, which my parents will not be surprised at all to hear.
Today we have ISPs after lunch, so that means Eeshani and I will be listening to our 2 instructors gossip in Aymara while we struggle to do simple stitches. Slowly but surely our weaving is improving. We`ve already made some sick bracelets.
When I get home from ISPs (no West Side gang, because we all have different ISPs), I play with my siblings until dinner. The setting sun comes through my window as I set up the holey bug net again. Hopefully tomorrow I’ll find another peach on the one closest to my window. If not, maybe the next day.

(Also, Mom, sorry this is my first Yak, but at least I wrote one)