My exchange in Lima, Peru ended a little over a week ago. I’m at home now, typing this up at my old desk. Time has truly flown by. My exchange is just another blurred memory, a little more colorful than most. Funny thing is, I actually got on the airplane to Lima three months ago regretting my decision before the plane had even taken off, homesick within the first hour of leaving home. Yet, sitting in the plane a week ago in Lima as the wheels began to roll, I found myself sobbing next to the kind stranger seated beside me, tears beseeching time to stop and rewind for me.
My first week in Lima, I spent a lot of my down time contemplating how long the two-and-a-half months ahead of me seemed and skyping my mother every chance I had. My last week in Lima was, ironically, one of the best weeks I have ever spent, anywhere. I had a host of new experiences in the last few weeks. I got to visit my Peruvian family for a couple of days, treated my host family to dinner at one of best sushi restaurants in Lima, bonded with my host, Marianne, and her mother by watching French movies in her mother’s bed until late at night the day before I was to leave, went to the cinema with friends twice in one week and saw Wonder Woman and Spiderman, went shopping in Jockey Plaza (one of the largest commercial malls in Lima), and more. I even bought a fairly complicated non-fiction book written entirely in Spanish, perhaps a little too confidently I now realize. Speaking of which, I am finally able to string sentences together in Spanish without thinking in English, to a certain extent. This is making my Peruvian grandmother very excited. Fortunately for me, with her constantly coming over to our house, I won’t have the chance to let my newfound Spanish skills deteriorate. I am still in contact with most of the other exchanges who I met in Peru (there were 22 other exchanges at Markham this bimester!), as well as with my host and a couple of other Markham students.
Thanks to this privilege, I now know myself a lot better, both in terms of my ethnicity and regarding the decisions I make for myself in different situations (when my mother isn’t there to make them for me). I also feel as though a lot of my old habits have been changed for the better. I would like to thank the Athenian School for allowing me this opportunity and my friends here at Athenian for providing me with support and advice whenever it was needed. I’d also like to thank my host family for all of their patience and generosity. I’ll be visiting Lima again soon! Hasta la prox, Lima!!!