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  • Writer's pictureEmily Breeden

Back to (First World) Reality

Home, and it feels like I was gone for less than a week… Two months anywhere is not long enough.

If you are my Facebook friend, then you probably saw all of the pictures and comments from the last part of my volunteering adventure, which involved the following three main events:

  1. A four-day, three-night Inca Jungle Trek to Machu Picchu where I got to go white water rafting, downhill biking, meet some monkeys, drink some snake juice, eat organic chocolate, chew coca leaves, go zip-lining over a river (including superman style!!), salsa dance with some sassy latinos (and Scots), make awesome new friendships with people all over the world, take selfies with llamas, climb up more stairs than ever in my life, get bit by a million mosquitos, and laugh my ass off for 4 days straight.


2.  The “25th Aniversario” festival at Simataucca… where I dressed up like a traditional Chinchero lady and danced to Taxi, proudly watched the kiddos dance to the Papa Llankay*, ate some guinea pig (“cuy”) and chiriuchu, was peer pressured/physically forced by a 7 year old to drink a bunch of Cuscueña beer, watched two adorable kids named Alex Kevin and Alejandra Violeta dance the marinera, saw some rodeo clowns get knocked over by some bulls…

3.  My last day at Simataucca which involved turning the ground into an oven to make potatoes and veggies, getting surprised by the kids with their special version of my favorite song, El Perdon*, getting my final hugs and thank you’s from everyone and crying, going to another huge chakra (potato field) and drinking chicha jorra with some awesome locals, dancing and partying my a$$ off with friends there the last night (and as a result having the worst hangover of my life on the plane to Lima)… then finally, after 2 days of traveling, getting to Minneapolis.

*Note:  Actual video(s) of the kids will be uploaded once I figure out that whole iMovie/YouTube thing.  Patience please.  Also, I keep getting errors when I try to add more pictures for some reason.  I am hoping to add some for each of the above bullet p0ints eventually!

ALSO, all of the remaining money from the GoFundMe site has been given to the school and is being set aside for Franklin’s education, as well as fixing up the bathrooms (which is desperately needed!!).  I couldn’t be happier, and want to thank EVERYONE who donated.  THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!  You helped me completely change everything for La Eco-Escuela Simataucca, and it will never be the same.  I hope you all know you are welcome to go visit and see first-hand what was (and is still being) done with your money, the entire community will welcome you with open arms!!

“OKAY, SO NOW WHAT?!” -Everyone.

Why thank you, everyone, for asking!  

First of all, if you couldn’t tell by my very first sentence in this post, I did not feel ready to leave at all.  As excited as I was to see family, friends and some first-world things (like hot, consistent and non-contaminated tap water, and clean bathrooms with actual tee-pee)… as soon as I landed in Minneapolis, I had this sinking feeling my stomach.  Sure, the air feels thicker and heavier here than in the 12,000 ft thin air of Cusco… but that wasn’t it… It was more of a feeling you get when you don’t feel like you belong somewhere.

I think what I’ve learned about myself, not just from this trip but from many different situations in the last few years, is that I am NOT happy being comfortable.  Sounds crazy, right?

I thrive on getting out of my comfort zone, and jumping into the unknown, as opposed to sticking with what I know.  Every day in Peru was a new adventure, which is why I felt like I belonged there… My heart was full.  New foods, new dances, new languages, new experiences.  Two months flew by, and I feel like I barely scratched the surface of being a part of a new culture, and was already coming back to “comfort.”  THIS is why I had that feeling in my stomach when I landed in Minneapolis.

With all of that said, I had to come back to the US for a few things (like renewing my passport, which expires soon enough that they probably wouldn’t let me back into Peru if I were to try!)… but once they are taken care of, the world is my oyster again.  I’m not “rolling in the dough” as they say, so my options are becoming more limited… However, if I can save up enough for a flight back to Cusco, I could take the TEFL program and teach English anywhere I want in the world.  It’s just a matter of figuring out IF teaching English is really what I want to do…

Or, I could find a new job somewhere that would combine my love for speaking Spanish, helping people, traveling, and making connections all over the world.  Anyone have any ideas? 😉

In the meantime, I am going to Colorado to live with a friend temporarily.  Why?  Because one thing I KNOW I miss from Cusco is seeing the beautiful mountains.  As much as I love the lakes in Minnesota, there are no mountains.  And since I’ve never lived in Colorado, it will hopefully give me that new-adventure feeling again, until I know what my next move is.  On top of some “real job” interviews I’ve had that sound interesting (and would provide me with some of those “paycheck” things again which would be nice), I am also looking into doing a yoga teacher training there…  Who knows, maybe I could teach yoga AND English in South America someday.  Hell, maybe I’ll learn to teach Zumba also.  A Yoga/English/Zumba school??  Why not?

So Colorado, here I come!!  (The rest = To Be Continued…)

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