So here we are, day 10, and so much has changed between the first few days in Playa Gigante and now. On our first day when we were assigned homestays, I was given a very limited amount of time to freak out about who and where I was going to be living with for the next two weeks, as Makenzy and I were the very first people to be dropped off.
We approached a very cute green house with a very loud and homey environment. Pigs were sleeping in the dirt yard, chickens were running around, and a little girl was drawing in the dirt. We entered their living room and found four pictures on the wall, a table, and a few plastic chairs. From there we were introduced to the bathroom, the kitchen, and our very own bedroom. It had been set up so nicely and we each had a mosquito net to keep the bugs out. Compared to most homes in the United States, this home is very humble, with no TV, no running water for a shower, very few pieces of furniture, and no fancy appliances. Nonetheless this is a home where people don’t need fancy things or many things in general to be happy, and everything that we would think as to keep us entertained, (TV, phones, etc.), they make up with the greatest entertainment of all, human interaction.
Although the first day I felt very inclined to pull out my phone and nervously tap away to avoid any awkward confrontations, I found as the days passed by these strangers transformed into my friends and now have become my second family. The first couple nights as I adjusted to this very different and somewhat difficult lifestyle, I would always think, wow I still have 12 days left on this trip; 12 days in a place that feels nothing like my home, far away from the people whom I feel comfortable with. I now look at the time I have left here and think wow, I only have 5 days left. It feels like overnight a surplus amount of time has turned into a lack of it, and I find myself dreading the day I have to say goodbye to my second family.
When Makenzy and I felt sick a couple days ago, Carla was beyond worried about us, scared that it was her food that caused us to feel ill. She also asked our group leaders, “Don’t they want to be with their Mom when they are sick?” Yesterday when we were all sitting around the table eating delicious food and retelling the details of our days, I paused and said to Carla, “Carla you are my second Mom.” She smiled and said with enthusiasm, “Ok!” This is one of the many examples of the willingness of the people here to accept us, care for us, and love us. I know leaving here will be very difficult for all of us, but I hope that we can take with us the pure desire to connect with those around us, and the willingness to accept and love all those we encounter in our lives, regardless of their race, gender, appearance, or social standing.