I have just a few days left in Cusco, and I can’t believe how the time has flown these last few weeks. While I’ve checked all the major items off my bucket list, I’ll spend my last week savoring my last Peruvian meals, buying souvenirs for family and friends, and enjoying my last days with the girls at the orphanage.
Over the weekend, I hiked the Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu, which began with two days in the frigid mountains looking up at a glacier, followed by two days in the humid jungle. I went with three other girls from my hostel, and there were eight other people in the group from Brazil, Norway, and the Netherlands. Our guide was a ball of energy and seemed to know every little plant and animal along the way, and told interesting stories about the history of Machu Picchu. While the hike was tough, the views and memories made it completely worthwhile.
Today, I finished my last Spanish lesson. Over the past month, I have been taking one-on-one Spanish classes 2-3 times a week, mainly focusing on my conversational skills. Besides learning more about the language, it was interesting to speak with a local, and he often asked about American culture and politics. While explaining U.S. political culture and our most recent election can be difficult in English, it was even more of a challenge in Spanish.
When I first arrived, the coordinator at the orphanage suggested that I switch houses every week within the orphanage to get to know all the kids, but I’m glad I have gotten to stay and get to know the same five girls and baby boy over the past five weeks. The girls are all so sweet and spunky, and I will miss them when I return home this Saturday. Yesterday, we spent our time doing homework, playing tag, and making “snowflakes” out of paper.