Siempre estarán en mi corazón
These past few weeks have been a little on the rough side.
Not that this is unusual for the last weeks of a semester, but a semester in Perú makes things a little more complicated.
Normal semester stuff: final projects and paper and exams. More stress, less sleep, less time for family and friends.
Different stuff: Uh, being in a foreign country. Needing to pack up all of your life from the past four months. Deciding what to leave behind so all your awesome Peruvian Christmas gifts can fit in your two suitcases and carry-on. Trying to find some adequate way of thanking the family who has taken you in and loved you as one of their own this semester. Finding time to say goodbye to all the awesome people God has brought into your life this semester. Getting on a plane to leave one family in order to go back to another one.
Packing up brought back many memories. Memories of packing to come on this trip, memories of previous apprehensions about what this semester would contain. Memories of my first night in Arequipa, being utterly exhausted after spending SO MANY HOURS in airports and on planes and meeting my host parents.
I’m taking so many wonderful memories with me from this semester. Of new friends, and new family. Of adventures and exploration. Of late night talks with my host family. Of the beautiful city of Arequipa and all of Peru that I have seen. Of all that I have lived and learned here.
I have learned so much this semester. I’m not even sure I can fully put it into words. I’ve obviously learned a lot more of Spanish and how to communicate in another language and how to adapt to different cultures and ways of life. But I’ve learned how to be a better, more culturally aware person. I’ve learned what it feels like to be an outsider and a minority and how I can take that and use it to help the marginalized in our society. I’ve learned how to have an open and warm home for the community, to never turn away someone in need. I’ve learned more about the person that I want to be.
My life after this semester will never be the same. I will always carry these memories and life lessons with me. I might be saying goodbye to perú this week and all the people I have met, but this is not the end. They will always be with me in my heart.
Chau Perú. Te quiero mucho. Cuidate.