What I’ll miss about Uru:

by Pablo, Civic Semester Participant

I will miss playing basketball with guys and girls my age here three times a week. It’s always a great way to end the day, practice Spanish, and compete with Yazan. Once, I pretended to be Urubambino (changing my last name to Quispe) so they would let me participate in their weekend tournament against other nearby cities.

Everything here is less expensive. We pay for food, moto taxis, clothes, and anything else we may need with soles, which are approximately one fourth the value of a dollar. Also, most festivals and celebrations are free in the plaza, and snacks are usually one sol.

I will miss the sense of purpose I have here. It’s a purpose that focuses on searching: we learn from unexpected experiences, from planned visits to organizations, and from the tops of mountains, where we can see the world, or at least Urubamba, differently.

Traveling with the group is one of the best parts of this whole experience. Juan Carlos, our driver, has a wonderfully contagious laugh that always makes our expeditions more enjoyable, especially when we’re tired, grumpy, and carsick. When we aren’t traveling, we love to go out to restaurants, bars, the plaza, bakeries, clubs…you name it.

I will miss the blasting music and late night dance parties in the kitchen. Jordan has always played salsa, and I’m sure our neighbors can hear Yazan singing in the shower. A recent pastime for us has been storm parties. When there’s lighting, rain, and the power is out, we congregate in the outdoor (but it has a roof) kitchen space to sing, dance, and drink tea.

The stars here are amazing. After around 10 pm most of the lights in the nearby area will go out, and one of the best spots in all of Urubamba to stargaze is in our garden (basically our front yard). Now and then I’ll go out there and spend a few hours with Fatima, even sometimes when it’s really cold.

I will miss my roommate. With Mathew, I have learned to share everything that is mine, aside from female dancing partners. Sometimes, we get into arguments that last a few days. Once, I was offered my own room but opted to resolve my issue with him because walking away didn’t seem like the answer. He is very admirable in the way he thinks and observes. We both push each other, talking late at night about difficult things or doing over 200 push-ups because we both are so competitive and later feeling sore because we did too much.

Pablo Moreno is filled with wisdom that he shares with us through his captivating stories and experiences. He also makes us grilled meat for dinner on special occasions, which we usually have by the bonfire. I know he is missing his wife and kids a lot. When he tells us he will miss us after the program ends, I think of Munay, the energy of love.

I will miss Tsering’s singing, thoughtfulness, and kind words. She’s always available, even in the middle of the night, and has adapted very well to the easy-going, spontaneous nature of our group. She also has played a really important role in making sure some of us were able to bond, not just as “buddies,” but through forming legitimate relationships: heart to heart. Huge thanks to both of our instructors for their dedication.

When I came here, I didn’t know how to wash my clothes by hand. Nancy, the person who keeps the house clean, taught me one day as I struggled for well over an hour to wash about five t-shirts and a couple pairs of socks. Nancy and I became good friends, and I often talk to her about culture, daily life, relationships, and aspirations. I will miss her.