Meghan, outbound to Peru

I am at a point in my exchange when thinking of home both scares, excites, and confuses me. When I think about home and family it's now hard to differentiate which home and which family is being implied. I now have 4 homes. I now have 4 families. This point and the emotions going along with it really snuck up on me. In early February I booked my return ticket and while that felt like a good stab to my Peruvian heart, I knew it was coming. But then one morning over a casual breakfast conversation my host mom asked how our eating habits where "over there" and I began to explain how my family in Lima eats together for breakfast and lunch but we don't for dinner and sometimes we don't have much of dinner, etc. and she looked at me and kind of laughed saying she meant in the US. When I tell friends family stories there is always a string of "which mom?" , "which little sister?" , and "which city?".

For the month of February I moved to another province about 17 hours south of Lima (where I have been living). I got to know a new city named Ilo. Ilo is a charming fisherman's town in the south of Peru. It is surrounded by beaches, it's always hot, and the people are kind and all know each other. I really had a great experience there not to mention my killer tan. The experiences I'm able to have in Peru I think are very unique and make my exchange so much different from the other students abroad. Since I live below the equator the seasons are switched and my lucky self has got to enjoy another summer and vacation from school.

I started this time with a trip to the north of Peru and Ecuador with the rest of the exchange students experiencing new cities and renewing our visas. This trip took us through the northern cities which are mostly made up of beaches on the coast. I was especially excited for this trip because of my love for the sun and beach, as any Floridian would probably have, and because of the AWESOME food of the northern region. The northern region is known for its ceviche, a peruvian seafood dish made of raw fish, lemon, onion, spices, and served with sweet potato, corn, and lettuce. It might sound a bit odd but I cannot get enough of it! The cities we visited included Trujillo, Puira, Zorritos, Mancora, Tumbes, and Quito and Guayaquil (Ecuador) they where all very beautiful and interesting to see.

I am now back in my home city of Lima and am super excited for the things I have in store for my last 100 days. I received an email a few weeks ago entitled "la ultima parte de tu intercambio" or "the last part of your exchange" from our director here in Peru explaining our remaining events and I still find it crazy to think that all this time has gone so fast.

My adventures here continue with lots of fun things coming soon and the start of university as my summer draws to an end. Every day I fall more and more in love with Peru. I know everyone says that and it's quite the cliche, but every day I find myself naming the things I'll miss. Things I found so odd just 7 months ago I now couldn't see life without. From the crazy public transportation to the sound of Peruvian Spanish to the fresh fruit markets, my life will never be the same having known such a wonderful country. I can truly say I will leave my heart behind, but that is only if they make me leave.