eight hundred and twenty-two

it has beennine hundred and eight dayssince i boarded that plane nine hundred and seven dayssince i stepped onto the tarmacexchanging damp winters for hotpressing heatmy first christmas in summer eight hundred and sixty-four days since i lit my first new year’s lanternthe paper catching fire dangerously close to a neighbor’s house four hundred and […]

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A Slow Goodbye

The sun sets on me for the last time. I spot the panadería on the narrow street, the tienda on the highway with its typical two customers drinking beer at the table outside. I sit in the back of the bus, the window blessedly open. It’s the best place to be so that I can watch both the passing […]

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Tales from the Mountains

Señor Vildoso cuts the little moto-taxi’s engine as we careen down the curving hillside towards Estique Pampa.  Once again, I have returned to the mountain region of Tacna, accompanying my students on their summer service trip. One of my students, in a moment of poor teenager-induced decisions, cut himself in the eye with some wire […]

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Christmas Heat

There’s snow powdered on the branches of the Christmas tree. The sugared aroma of chocolate caliente calls to me from the kitchen, a chunk of panetón ready to be dipped into the tasty beverage. Christmas music plays in the background. And while there may not be a fireplace, my host family has turned on the television set and […]

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Far From Home

My head hurts from unshed tears. I’m not sure I understand why my need to cry is so powerful. If I had never connected to internet, nothing would have changed about my day. I would have gone from class to class, teaching verb conjugations and vocabulary for family members. But the knowledge and the weight […]

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breathe out

i am filled with love when the shouts and laughter of  my students  fill the street when  a pattering of feet and  a soft voice wake me from my nap beneath the open window even when a soccer ball comes crashing  against our house,  glass flying,  faces of terrified neighbors peering out from a nearby […]

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The Revolving Door of Volunteers

“MISSSS, NO TE VAYAS” — “MISS, DON’T LEAVE.”  About three months left of my time as a JV here in Peru and my students act as if I’m leaving tomorrow.  In fact, sometimes they act as if I have already left:  “Miss, ¿Cuando vas a regresar a visitarnos?” – When will you return for a […]

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Neighborhood Noises

Although Tacna, Peru may be an urban city, stretching far out into the desert, my neighborhood of Habitat remains a tranquil suburb on the outskirts. As long as no one has decided to throw a “tono” in their house and blast reggaeton music until our windows shake, most evenings are quiet affairs, with only the sound of […]

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