Over the course of six days last week, I spent a total of 29 hours on a bus. My host family’s grandma invited the whole family up to her pueblito for the festival of their patron saint, El Señor de los Milagros or, the Lord of miracles. Where she lives is three hours on dirt roads from the biggest city (in which I’m sure everyone knows one another) in a tiny village called Barranco. There are no roads, the nearest neighbor lives about a 30 minute walk away, they just got electricity within the past five years, almost everyone is family and there is no indoor plumbing. We celebrated with the locals with mass, castillos, dancing and the vaca loca (which really is crazy). We at five meals a day sitting in the rustic, adobe kitchen while the guinea pigs were running around, nibbling on our feet (probably because we were eating their relatives) which almost always included some sort of potato, yuca or sweet potato and pork. While the festival was great, my favorite part of the trip was spending time with my host family and struggling to understand the grandma who talks a mile a minute. I can’t stand the thought of having to say goodbye to them in just two short weeks.
I like to think I’m a pretty independent lady. At least I did about a year ago. Like a three-year-old, I was always proud when I could do things “All by self”, never needing help from anyone. Things changed a bit when I got to Peru. This is a culture where people rely on one another. This is a culture where you do not even go to the grocery store by yourself. At first, this drove me crazy. I liked to do things on my own sometimes and I saw it as a weakness to rely on other people so frequently. Like so, so many other things throughout this year, my opinion on independence has changed. I now realize that this dependence on others is not a way of showing your weakness but rather, a way of showing how much you value your relationship. When it really comes down to it, my year was all about relationships and isn’t that what life should be all about?
Congratulations to Sarah and Jeremy Orem who welcomed little Mira into the world on September 8th. You two will be amazing parents. I can’t wait to meet her!