During our study abroad here in Cusco, we have been staying with host families. This has proven to be such a wonderful experience. Not only have I been making connections and relationships that I hope last a lifetime, but also I have been learning way more about the Andean culture and lifestyle than I could have ever imagined.
I have been living with the most amazing couple and their dog Speedy Loco. I am fortunate enough to have breakfast and dinner with them every day, which have been perfect opportunities to ask questions about the history of Cusco and daily life here. However, I do have to speak only in Spanish since my family does not speak any English. This has improved my Spanish enormously. I even asked my host parents, Gloria and Willy, to correct me whenever I make mistakes and they are always happy to help. They always give me the best advice about places to go, things to do, or most importantly which buses to take and how much to pay in the taxis!
I continue to learn new things from my family here in Cusco each day. One night, my host mom even taught me how to make the Peruvian dish lomo saltado. She gave me step-by-step directions and tips on exactly how she makes it. As my host parents are both retired professors, we have nightly discussions about Peruvian politics, history, and economics at dinner. They love sharing with me and knowing that I want to learn about their culture and lives.
My cusqueñan family teaches me new things about this beautiful culture and country all the time. I am immensely grateful to have had the opportunity of living with them during my time here in Cusco. It is an amazing feeling knowing that I have a place I have called home and people that I have called family for the past few weeks. Getting to know this culture, city, and language with people who have experienced it throughout their entire lives has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.