Study abroad is full of amazing moments and new adventures. Every week is a new experience and new growth. The highlight of my week was climbing two different mountains in the Andes Mountain range and seeing a glacier. I do not consider myself a very athletic person due to my lack of desire to work out and my asthmatic tendencies. In addition to the amount of times I heard from Peruvians about altitude sickness, I want to stray as far away as possible from the mountains.
For those of you who do not know, asthma and high altitude do not go very well. All of my initial hesitations grew into intense fear once the bus pulled up to the national park, after hours of winding up the mountain. Once I entered the park, the beauty (and the altitude) took my breath away, along with all my fears. I took in the sounds rushing waterfall to my left, and the running water at my feet. I took in the sun, which is not present in Lima, and admired how it shined off of the landscape. The sun-rays illuminated the mountain ranges and highlighted their vibrant colors.
After taking all of this in the next moment I could not help but thinking about my friends. Wishing I could share this beautiful moment with them. In my head, I could hear the endless jokes we would be making. How we could fill the air with laughter that would awake all the sleeping cows that peppered the cliffs. In this moment of beauty, I couldn’t help but feel a touch of sadness. While I have been filling my days with amazing experiences I realized that the people I care about the most are far away from me.
To sit in between these two extreme emotions of excitement and homesickness can be confusing to process. I absolutely love the friends that I have made here, but there is nothing like talking to someone who you have shared the past 4 years with. I have always prided myself on not being homesick on my study abroad experiences, but I have also not been away from home for this long. At first, it was hard to accurately identify these feelings of missing home, but once I did, I knew how to address them. The one reason why I feel homesick is because I feel that I am too much of a tourist to follow my routine I do at home. This past week, I have made it a point to do some of the things I normally do at home that make me feel more like myself, like getting my nails done. These have also been great experiences to practice my Spanish and learn everyday vocabulary as opposed to the academic vocabulary I mostly learn in class.
It is necessary to find a balance between having extraordinary experiences and grounding moments. While studying abroad is full of amazing moments, it is necessary to have reflective moments, and I am glad to share these reflective moments within this blog.