So, it's been one month and one day since I arrived in Arequipa, Peru. I figured it would be a good idea to be sure that I at least post a blog on a monthly-anniversary-type-basis.
During my first month here, I have met so many wonderful people. I have felt welcome into homes and accepted as a member of the family in my class. Of course, there are hard times, that is part of the experience. You have left everything you have known and all the people who have always been there for you and thrown yourself into a new family, a new language, a new school, a new culture, a new everything, but every time I've felt a little down, I just think about how I would feel to leave, right now. The idea makes me sick and want to cry. I have known most of these people for no more than 3 weeks and I am so attached that I would go through anything to stay with them. (I'm in denial that the end of this year will ever come, and that's totally ok with me right now). It's true and rather well known to most of the people who are close to me in my life that I connect with people faster than most. Some see this as a bad thing, as being overly vulnerable and perhaps it's like asking to get hurt, but it has blessed me more than it has ever hurt me. By being open and willing to just meet people, I have been honored to call so many people my friends and, in fact, most of them feel more like family, because I know they will always be willing to help and support me. I know my exchange has barely started so I look forward to the new amazing people I have yet to meet.
As everyone in the US knows, today is 9-11. I'll be honest and say that I was incredibly curious as to how it would be to experience today in another country. I've officially been in another country for a big American holiday, but I felt a day of mourning would be an interesting thing to experience. I guessed that it probably would not be a really big deal here and I was right. My family here knows what day it is and even brought it up because they know I am from the States, I have family in New York and I love the city, but it's not all over the newspapers, you can't flip channel to channel and see the towers fall a million times, no one has flags up or is wearing pins or red white and blue. I can say that, it's a little refreshing. Perhaps a little more healing than remembering all the sadness and rage from ten years ago. Of course, honoring the memory of those lost in the terror should always be important and they should be remembered, but it should also be remembered that the world is changing and it is vital that the United States, as the massive force they are, should be setting the example as a positive nation looking toward a better future, not an angry nation, constantly reliving their past. I'll go to church today and pray for those families who lost loved ones ten years ago and that they have the strength to not hold rage and hatred within themselves, but instead remember that the world is always changing and it's time to be sure it changes for the better and that they, as the individuals directly affected by that attack, have the power to use their actions and words to spread a message of hope and healing.
On a lighter note, yesterday I went with my friend Maria to this BEAUTIFUL cafe that overlooks the Plaza de Armas. We saw the sunset there and then wandered around the little shops, nice and relaxing.
Today my family and I went for a Sunday drive. I swear, the more I see of this city, the more I love it. We went to el Molino de Sabandia where I got to ride a horse and then my host mom and I walked around taking pictures. It was absolutely stunning!
So I'll try to keep a bit more up to date on my blog! I have a couple trips coming up, so there should be more to post about as well!!!