Two Who Trek share some lessons learned (and not just Spanish ones)
It’s a gray morning in Cuenca – one of the few we have had. It’s also a sad morning, as our program host will be coming with a taxi about 7 to take us to the airport to start the journey home. As we share our last breakfast in the apartment (our favorite – a fresh fruit medley, pastry, milk and coffee, today made even more special by sharing a piece of tres leche cake left from the day before), we discuss how profoundly sad we are. But we knew this day had to come. Staying in Cuenca wouldn’t be the same – after all, the apartment has been sold, our fellow travelers (now friends) are heading back home, and even one of our teachers has been laid off from the school. So it was time to leave.
But why were we so sad? While there is usually a twinge of remorse about a vacation ending, this was a much deeper sadness. We concluded this trip was the best travel experience we have had to date, one we wanted to continue. Many questions were answered for us, such as:
Could we live in a foreign country?
Yes. While we did have some structured experiences throughout the trip, much of the time we were on our own. We negotiated in stores, found addresses, tried new restaurants, and saw amazing sites. The more time we spent in the country, the easier it was to navigate daily life. With more time, practice, and improved language skills, we would have a great living experience.
We only had one time when we had to ask our program host for interpretive help. Sherri had arranged to have a lovely blazer made to her specifications – two button, hip length, pockets – like one she purchased years ago and has worn out. When she went back for the fitting, a different seamstress waited on her and we couldn’t understand what she was saying. Program Hostess Christine came to our rescue, and found the seamstress was saying her associate had only measured for the fabric and didn’t take specific jacket measurements. After some quick measurements, we were done. By the way, the blazer is amazing and professionally done, all for $25 for the fabric and $45 for the labor.
Would we want to live in a foreign country?
Not at this time. We both realized we are closely connected to our family and friends. Sherri still has a job to go to daily, too. Continue reading →