In January my parents’ and I decided to surprise my little sisters for Prom and Graduation with me coming home! I held that secret for four full months, panicking every single time I sent a countdown snap that I had accidentally sent it to Molly and Rose.
On May 4th, my madre helped me load up my suitcase onto the combi and together we went to the airport in Chiclayo. She sat with me up until it was time to pass through security and wished me goodbye. She also arranged for her nephew to pick me up at the airport in Lima during my 6 hour layover. She’s the cutest, best host madre.
During my 7 hour flight from Lima to New York, I could hardly breath I was so excited to get home. And there was also new movies in English on the personal TV, so I obviously had to binge. Throughout the flight I thought the male flight attendant was actually hitting on me. He commented about my Spanish, and was like it’s even better than mine! And when I turned down some snacks he handed me 3 mini m&m packets (clearly he’s into it). We had a quick chat during the middle of the night while everyone else was sleeping and I was between movies. AND in the morning he gave me extra coffee (obviously my soul mate). After careful reflection though I realized he 100% thought I was a young teenager traveling alone and was just being nice. Another love lost.
When we landed in New York, I started to tear up just a little bit as it was almost 1 year exactly since I left my family and I would be seeing them soon! Once we landed in Boston, I basically ran off the plane to see my parents.
Seeing my mom and dad for the first time made me feel like I had never left home. It was so surreal. Even as an “adult” I still miss my mom and dad everyday and there’s some days I desperately wish I could hug them. Then, it came time to surprise my sisters! Just watch the video below, words can’t explain how great that was. I haven’t seen my sisters so surprised or so happy to see me ever in my life! Every snapchat panic attack was well worth it in the end.
At first, things in the US were a little weird like hearing English everywhere and not just from other Volunteers, always having running hot water and being able to throw toilet paper directly into the toilet! Driving, which I thought would be hard, was normal and so so so less chaotic than in Peru and my life didn’t flash before my eyes every time I got into a car. It was freezing cold; after living in above 80 degree weather everyday for 9 months the 60 degree weather was frigid. And where was all the rice?! Just kidding, there was not a single meal that I wished for rice. But I quickly got used to real life again and I really enjoyed every minute spent at home.
Some of my favorite moments from my time home were:
Meeting my parents at the gates- our reunion must have looked like a scene from a movie. There was lots of hugs and tears and I am pretty sure everyone around us was like wtf is going on.
Surprising my sisters- seeing Molly and Rose cry pure tears of joy was the great. I watch the video of it almost everyday still.
Wedding dress shopping with Emily- being able to spend this time with Em, especially because I most likely will not be able to actually be there for when she picks out “the dress,” was really special. She’s going to be the most beautiful bride!
Seeing Rosie off to prom- one of the main reasons I went home instead of my family coming to Peru was to be there when Rose went to Junior Prom at La Salle. She looked beautiful, definitely the prettiest girl at prom!
Brunch at MilkMoney- Em and Kath and I ate brunch one morning at MilkMoney, Bloody Marys included, and it was delicious. The Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict there is great. So were the Grits from Em’s Chicken and Grits.
Driving around the entire state of Rhode Island with Katharine- after some miscommunication, Kath and I spent most of the day driving around RI looking for a gift. But just being in her company again made me happy.
Hand massages from Kath- from freshmen year of college to now, hand massages will never get old.
Presenting Peace Corps to a class at La Salle- I did not expect to be impacted by talking about my Peace Corps service, but I found that I was full of pride as I was able to talk about Zaña and my service.
Getting drinks with my dad, McGinn, Sav, Molly and my Uncle Andrew- being old enough to have a beer with old teachers/coaches is pretty cool.
Eating Chiptole- I was worried that it wouldn’t be nearly as good as I remembered it, but it was. Ecoli and all.
Lunch with my grandpa- he took me out to lunch at Quito’s in Bristol and we both had lobster rolls. Even though the construction made for a loud dining area, I genuinely enjoyed sitting there talking to Charlie.
Going out in Newport with Sav and Henry- the day started with drinking beers and watching Sav play baseball and ended watching live music at Newport Blues Cafe. Good times.
Seeing Molly graduate from Providence College- although I may have been a little hungover from the night out, watching my little sister graduate college was so much fun. Congratulations, Molly, on all that you have accomplished!
Dinner for Molly’s graduation- nothing beats a Bloody Mary, Chips and Fish, and a view of the water!
Sleeping with my Annabelle- I miss puppy cuddles every single day!
In general, all the food and beverages consumed in the United States were spectacular. Shoutouts to CHEESE, Cheezits, Bagels, Fish Tacos, Chips and Salsa and Guac, Veggie Burgers, Pancakes, 7-11 Slurpees, LSA Bakery Iced Chai, UFO Big Squeeze Shandy, Jalapeño Margs, and of course Bloody Marys. You’re all already greatly missed.
Being home made me realize how lucky I am, not only to have this opportunity as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Peru, but also to have so many people who care about me. I have some of the greatest and most generous friends that I could ever ask for. Emily flew from Louisiana, Katharine from Virginia, Sav drove over from Newport, Henry came from New York, all to spend some time with me. My neighbors and family members made sure they had a chance to say hi, even if it was brief. It helped me realize that the people who care and the people who want to be apart of my life will be, no matter what. No excuses, no blown off plans, you’re there if you want to be there.
Coming back to Peru wasn’t nearly as hard as I had heard it would be. The whole time being home I reminded myself that it was just vacation and that I still had work to complete in Peru. Getting drunk at the airport bar before my Lima flight also may have helped a little bit. The trip wouldn’t have been complete without almost missing my flight from Lima to Chiclayo and running through the airport like an insane person. When I got home to Zaña, I was welcomed with flowers, a sign and a cake from my madre! There’s nothing better than feeling completely loved in both the US and in Zaña.