Dear Urubamba,

by Teagan, Nica, Elaine & Sophia, Civic Semester Participants

Dear Urubamba,

You’ve opened your arms for us during the past three months. In that time, we have gotten to learn so much about who you are, and what it is that makes you shine. We’ve gotten to step over the cracks in your roads and splash in the rains from your skies. We’ve gotten to eat from the fruits of your fields and laugh along with the people of your town. And while we can’t say we saw and heard and felt everything you have to give, we can most definitely say that we are thankful for the way in which you have shaped our lives.

Gracias por recibirnos. It is difficult to contain all we are grateful for in one post. But here is an incomplete list of some things that we will miss the most.

  1. I am thankful for my homestay family who welcomed me into their home with open arms. I will miss “dibujando” and “chapo” with my little brothers. I will miss dancing at zumba with my mom. I will miss the delicious food cooked by my dad. I am so grateful for this experience and my homestay family will forever have a special place in my heart.
  2. One thing I will miss in the transition home to Boston is waking up greeted by sunshine. I never slept in my homestay without the window above my bed open—letting in the constant breeze and the sounds of birds chirping. I will miss walking to the plaza—the joy of putting on my headphones—and stopping to say hello to any one I run into.
  3. Lastly, I am thankful for the market. The vibrant colors of the produce matches the vibrant buzz of the vendors. Looking at all the stands from the top floor brings me a reminder that we are all living such independent and intricate lives—and it is a miracle that I’ve found the friends I have in this vast world. I am thankful for fresh fruit. I am thankful for how personal grocery shopping is. And I am thankful for this slower pace of life.
  1. I am thankful for the Spanish I spoke every day, for the mental puzzles, for the mistaken cognates and the laughter that followed.
  2. The mountains and stars.
  3. I will miss the time I spent at my org placement, Yanapasun. It was an unexpected choice for me, but man am I glad I got to meet every single person there and get to know more about who they are and what they do. Getting to see Luciana move and walk despite her cerebral palsy. Seeing Leonaldo scoot around and laugh and talk and show me his building blocks without even acknowledging his paraplegia. Meeting each kid who came with a different story at the foster home. I could have never imagined how much of an impact they would have on me, and I can’t wait to continue supporting them from afar.
  4. I hadn’t hand washed every piece of clothing I own in a solid minute. But during my time here, it was my little safe haven that I can say will always only belong to Urubamba. Washing time served as my moment to unplug, to ignore the happenings of life around me—to only share with the water that ran across my fingers and the sky that shone above me. It didn’t matter if I was there for half an hour or two because every time felt like no time had passed. It simply meant was I could surround myself in Urubamba’s air for a little longer.
  5. The Urubamba uncertainty is different from anything else I have felt before. For me, this trip was about making the most of every minute of every hour spent in this place, because I knew it wouldn’t last forever. It was just the uncertainty of what we would be doing, feeling and seeing next that I am grateful for because it allowed me to cherish all the good and the bad of Urubamba.
  6. From salsa, bachata and zumba to clubbing in Booms: dancing within the houses, streets and restaurants of Urubamba was a sort of bond, story, celebration, sport and journey. It was about those instants when a Spanish song would start playing and I’d exchange looks with one of my friends and they could immediately tell that I know it by heart. I will forever cherish the moments when Peruvians would ask me where I learned to dance or when my host mom would tell everyone: “Nica le gusta bailar mucho!” because every week I’d ask if I could go to Booms (Urubamba’s famous club.)
  7. Lastly, we’re thankful for the friends we’ve made that we can now call family. <3

Tuyas para siempre,
Teagan, Sophia, Elaine, y Nica