It’s been exactly two weeks since I arrived at my homestay, and it’s crazy to me how quickly it’s begun to feel a little bit like home.
I took a taxi home from Cuenca and was struck by how familiar the lights of Sayausí looked coming up the hill. The soft Spanish music and gentle curves of my neighborhood lulled me into a state of surprising comfort.
I rode the bus effortlessly to Spanish class on Friday, finally feeling confident enough to listen to music during the ride instead of obsessively counting stops and looking for landmarks.
I impulse-bought cookies from my favorite cafe, only later realizing that when the cashier gave me the price, I didn’t have to think about what it was in English before counting coins.
My mom surprised me with fruit salad for breakfast. Peaches, apples, strawberries, honey. It tasted like Michigan.
Sometimes I try the right key on the first try and the gate swings open with ease.
We sat in the park—live music playing, families laughing, surrounded by tents full of artisan goods—and thought, “This could be America”.
I was walking home from the bus, listening to music and staring out the mountains. In that moment, I realized how deeply grateful I am to be here and breathing.
Today we went to the mountains and I felt at peace. It felt normal to be there, among the clouds, eating chicken with my hands and sharing cups of tea.
It doesn’t feel like home quite yet.
I miss my parents and Goldfish crackers and good Wifi and Uber Eats.
I don’t know whether to call my host mom Terésa or Mamá.
I don’t recognize the curvy mountain roads past my house.
I learned the hard way that Linea 3 buses don’t run past 6pm on weekends.
But somehow, this place is beginning to feel a little bit like home.