Ok, so I really don't have ANY time but it has been way too long since my last post so I am going to give you some five sentance updates.
1) I went on an INCREDIBLE 10 day trip with all of the exchange students to Cusco and Puno. Even though I had been there once before it was a unique experience and I saw new things and had a blast. As a group of exchange students we got to know eachother way better and united into the family that we should have been all year long. Highlights include walking barefoot all over Machu Picchu and swimming in Lake Titicaca ( the high navigable lake in the world and the biggest body of fresh water I have seen in my life)!
2) I went on my last trip with my host parents to visit the homeland of my host dad - Jauja. It was a three day escape from Lima and it was FABULOUS! We walked the streets that he hadn't seen in 30+ years, ate all of the tipical foods ( jello made out of cows feet, potroast cooked in a pit underground, flat bread from the little old ladies selling on the streets etc ) and did a one day tour in the back of a pickup truck to see the countryside. I swam under a waterfall, saw the land that belonged to my host grandpa, and danced the night away in the plaza de armas.
3) I had to say my first goodbye. One of my best friends from the group of exchange students left on May 15th and it was awful! We spent the entire weekend with her and then went to the airport at 4 in the morning. I must say I am not terribly excited for the next two weeks of hugs and tears...
Here is a copy of my last rotex roundup. I think it does a fairly good job summing up my feelings right now...
I can’t believe I’m leaving home again. It’s time to say goodbye to my family, my friends, my dog, my running routes, and everything else that has become mine in the past year. Basically I have to say farewell to an entire culture, language and life. But it’s also welcome back. The months and days have flown by and in less that two weeks I will be in Wenatchee. I’ll be in my own bed, in the valley where I have spent 18 years of my life. I’ll be back in the real world where I don’t stand out as the gringo girl and where my family looks like me. I’ll be with the people I loved and missed all year long. I’ll see snow, eat chocolate chip cookies, speak English, swim in Lake Chelan and live the life that until this year was my only reality.
I don’t know what to think. In some ways it feels like I have lived in Peru forever and at the same time I feel like I just arrived a month ago. Time is playing tricks on my mind and blurring everything together. Each day of this exchange has been an adventure and everyday I thank Rotary for the opportunity of a lifetime, for the dream come true. I have seen, heard, loved, felt, and truly become a part of this incredible country. I have learned about a culture, a history and a language… and even more importantly I have learned who I am. I have discovered my strengths and tried to overcome my weaknesses. Now I know what I value in the world and what is important in my life. I have defined myself and I can say with confidence that I am Chelan Pauly.
To tell you the truth, I very have mixed feelings about the end of this exchange. There is no denying the fact that I am sad. I have become accustomed to my life in Lima, the food, the music, and the energy of the city. And the life of an exchange student is obviously fabulous… for an entire year my only responsibility has been to travel, learn, and experience. It is going to be very, very difficult to leave that paradise. But I think I am ready. I feel as if this year I hit the pause button and it’s time to push play again. These months have been the perfect sabbatical to find myself and recharge my batteries but now it’s time to get on with life. It has been one of the best years of my life and I’ll miss it like crazy but it’s time to move forward. I have a career to study and a future to pursue!
PS. I will oficially be arriving in Seattle June 13th. Mind blowing!