Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Home Sweet Home

As our time in Lima came to a quick end, none of us wanted to leave our new home. We had to meet the group at 2:30 a.m. on Saturday so we could get transport to the airport. A bunch of us thought it would be a novel idea to not go to sleep that night and instead catch some zzzz’s on the plane, but that was a huge mistake! We all felt horrible and tired all the way home, but somehow we made it back safe and sound after a whole day of traveling. I was so happy to be able to leave the airport with my parents, and soon after, I was reunited with my puppies! After a long day, my bed and all of my pillows never looked better!

I never thought I would have experienced culture shock coming back to the states, but sure enough, I did. Even though I was only gone for a month, it felt like my world had been turned upside down. So many things had changed, happened or gone by that I felt like I was left behind. I did not have a problem switching back to English; however, I still dream in Spanish pretty frequently. The one thing I hate is that I’ve become so cheap. In Peru I could buy whatever I wanted for pennies on the dollar. Unfortunately, here there is no bargaining and I’m suffering from sticker shock! I also miss the Peruvian food — it was to die for!

To anybody who is thinking about studying abroad…. do it! This trip was amazing, and there are many other wonderful trips that Valdosta State offers as well. It doesn’t matter where you go, because in the end, it’s all about the new experiences you will gain. That alone is priceless. These study abroad trips are worth every single penny; so don’t let the price stand in the way. Peru really opened my mind and allowed me to expand my horizons. I have learned so many important life experiences that will stick with me forever. The most important thing I learned was that we are so blessed to have access to so many things here in the states. I no longer take things like clean water, sanitation and toilet paper for granted.

I would really like to say thank you to my host parents Oscar and Julia. They welcomed me with open arms and are the sweetest people I have ever met. They will always be my Peruvian parents! I would also like to say thank you to Dr. Amy, Dr. Marcos Goldfarb and José for making all of the plans and arrangements. This trip was really a once in a lifetime experience.

* Stephanie is participating in a study abroad program in Lima Peru, organized by Valdosta State University's International Programs and Modern and Classical Languages.

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