I´ve spent nine weeks living at a small white house with green fencing on calle Tte. Roca Peirano.
I´ve been welcomed into a family as a granddaughter, daughter, and sister.
I´ve celebrated 4 birthdays, 1 fiesta, and an independence day.
I´ve lost 2 watches, 1 glasses case, and a SIGG water bottle. I´ve stolen one Paceña beer glass.
I´ve slept next to cockroaches and lizards and I´ve eaten cow tongue, intestine, udder, and blood.
I´ve gained the bravery to dart across busy 12 lane highways.
I´ve spent weekends wandering through the complicated maze of markets and along narrow paths in towering cemeteries.
I´ve wandered the streets of Cochabamba alone and scared.
I´ve sat at the edge of a crowd watching miles of dancers stream by moving to the sounds of beating drums.
I´ve become connected to the happiness and difficult stories of 20 girls and 1 boy.
I´ve watched kids who have experienced terrible things learn how to be kids again.
I´ve spent afternoons in silence teaching with nothing but my hands.
I´ve spent two months communicating in three languages, often confusing one for another.
I´ve seen men without legs sit in the middle of busy streets begging for money. And I´ve seen children hollow from a life outside dancing for tourist money.
I´ve heard the stories of families unable to visit loved ones in the United States and I´ve listened as friends have plead for me to help them find jobs.
I´ve put up with catcalls and harassment and at times I´ve worried about my safety. I´ve been forced indoors and into taxis after the sun sets for fear of taking micros or walking alone.
I´ve seen strong mothers and strong women live difficult lives. I´ve seen women three times my age hauling heavy loads of fruit strapped in blankets on their backs. And I´ve seen calm mothers breastfeed their infants while being tossed about on micros.
I´ve amassed hours thinking about smells and feelings and places that I miss and are so far away.
I´m ready to come home.