Dear Friends and Family

by Eleanor, Emma, Veena & Tziavi, Civic Semester Participants

Since we last saw you, we want to let you know that …


I am so excited to see you. Since last week I’ve been daydreaming about that flight home, about hugging my mom and dad in the airport, about finding my backpack in JFK’s baggage claim. I’ve never had this much time to myself to reflect and I definitely know myself better from it. I can’t believe I was away for so long and I wish that there was a way for you to understand my experiences using a USB cord from my head to yours to transfer all the memories. But I’m excited that now, for better or worse, I have experiences that are just my own, that I’ll never be able to verbalize. It’s an independence that I’ve never had before. I’ve never been as sick in my life as I’ve been in Peru. My body feels different now, stronger. I know I can go on long hikes and puke my guts out and recover. This is the most capable I’ve ever been and I can’t wait to see how I grow into this new existence when I get home to you.  I have eleven new best friends and a newfound appreciation for stray dogs. I’m an early riser and I’m conversational in a new language. I know how to hail a mototaxi and I’ve gotten really good at catching spiders and scorpions alike. I’m different but mostly I’m the same.


Though I have loved my experience here, the warm thoughts of home linger in the back of my mind. The comforting smells of cedar and the sounds of crackling wood that I would usually be absorbed in are replaced with the aroma of sweet fruits and green Amazonian parrots flying above. Though I have missed home, I will miss the home I have created here. I will miss the market, the Andean mountains, Booms, but mostly my host family. I will miss waking up and drinking my daily tea with my host dad, shopping with my host mom, playing basketball with my host brother, and admiring our 17 year old dog Rex, who has seen so many things in his beautiful life. These memories will forever hold a place in my heart. As we prepare to go home, I am ready to go forward and create new memories. But I will never forget the adventures I had here in Urubamba.


First, I am so excited to see you all, give you huge hugs, and hear all your stories from the past three months. I know your lives and Medford have not been static, and I am so eager to join back into the community you have created. From my side, I want you to know that I have grown from this experience. Describing growth in words is really difficult, so I am excited instead for you all to see it in person. But here are some things I can say: first, and this may sound like a bad thing, but I do not feel like I have a set home anymore. During past experiences abroad or away from family, I was always counting down the days until I could be in my bed, back in my house. But now I feel like my home is what I make it. Home was Rocafuerte, living with my 14 friends 24/7. Home was living with my host family near Plaza Pintacha, cooking with my mom, playing cards with my brother, and making bracelets with my sister. Home is where I can be happy and feel loved, which now I realize can be anywhere. Second, when I get back I want to walk more and be more adventurous day to day. Meme, I will go on walks to Whole Foods with you. Dudda, I will go on hikes and go to the radio station with you more often. I will try and really embrace Medford and foster the intuitive curiosity I had for Urubamba. Anyways, I will see you all soon. I am excited to carry all I have learned with me, and come back to my home in Medford with new experiences.


I have had so many crazy adventures and I have become a person that I am really growing to love. The new me isn’t afraid to embarrass herself. I’ll talk to everyone in my broken Spanish, and sing and dance loudly even when I am off beat. I love hiking and sitting in the plaza by myself for hours. I am starting to get to know and love this new me and I can’t wait for you to meet her too. I want to make new adventures with you and I want to tell you all about the home and second family I have made here between the corner with the lady who sells churros, the women at Canastas Verdes who always give me a hug and a some free cherry tomatoes, the chocolate man who I pretend gives me a good discount but definitely doesn’t, my host family who never fails to make me laugh, and the eleven people I have shared this amazing experience with. I can’t wait to see you all and hug you and tell you all about my adventures, because the cuddly and talkative me is still here too. I want to visit you all in the new homes you have created and the new families you have made. I want to hear about your time in university and the memories you have made these past three months. See you soon!