Friday, July 22, 2011

Doesn't take much to make me feel at home

I was exhausted. I had been up since four am on Saturday, April 11, 2009. It was now nine in the morning on Sunday, and I hadn’t lain down anywhere in that time and had only caught a few minutes sleep on the plane from Atlanta to Lima. But I was finally there, the home-base for Cross Cultural Solutions in Ayacucho, Peru. A simple but clean three-story building on a noisy street corner. My home for the next week.

Inside and up one flight of stairs were familiar faces. Megan, Gayle and Tina, my partners for the week, all who had arrived the day before. We had met each other via the internet and swapped pictures and experiences. It was like I had known them all along. Most importantly, English was their first language!

We had a quick orientation, then I went to my room to unpack, take a short nap and what would be my only hot shower the whole time I was there. Lunch that noon – and most days – was chicken in tomato paste with rice and mixed vegetables.

That afternoon, Gayle and I walked up to the Plaza. What a beautiful city square, full of shops, churches, statues of famous people and fantastic views of the surrounding hills. And only a five minute walk from our home base. We walked here at least once a day, so many pictures of that will be coming.

That evening however, still exhausted, fighting a headache and feeling the effects of the high altitude, I wanted to lay low and go to bed early. That would not happen. Instead I went down to the kitchen to socialize.

Including the four of us who had just arrived, there were three students who had been staying at the home base for a while already. Harriet, Angelina and Harry. They had decided to make cookies that afternoon. It was Easter Sunday and so the logical shape – and easy – to make was round, in the shape of Easter eggs. Then we all decorated them. Colors for frosting were limited, but we managed.

I felt like I had come home.

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