Letter from Sean Delaney
7 beds in 8 weeks
Don’t let the title misguide you – nothing scandalous is about to be revealed – only details on my recent semi-nomadic lifestyle and some tall tales of the holidays abroad…
Let me start by saying that (if possible and barring some unforeseeable cataclysmic event) I never intend to be this far away from my family at Christmas again. Don’t get me wrong, I just got back to Lima after 3 weeks of travel, laughter, adventure and brought back memories to last a lifetime BUT good heavens I missed my family and friends more than I can adequately express. Doty and Delaney holidays seasons are full of traditions big and small, ranging from the annual Utica pilgrimage for the trees (yup, that’s plural) to cookies galore and that one special gift on Christmas Eve.
This year could not have been more different. Prior to Thanksgiving I became quite ill and that set into motion my eventual move to a new host family, but also my more temporary move to Debbie and Harry’s apartment and then Shane and Sarah’s host families home. (2 beds – 4 weeks).
The before we knew it, our designated YAV vacation time was upon us…Longing to spend the holidays with at least one person I am close to, I sent my dear friend Hannah a message inquiring about her Christmas plans. She gracefully allowed me to spend Navidad with her host family and subsequently some vacation time with her actual family too! (More on that later). However, prior to my time in Huanuco I was lucky enough to spend a few days in Huancavelica with Mary, Angelica and Jover too! Despite the rain that seemed endless and my cold feet that refused to get warm – it was a wonderful trip. Christmas in Huanuco consisted of long walks around the city, a pretty great lights display, and singing Feliz Cumpleanos to Jesus (cake included) – among other things. (4 beds – 5 weeks).
Hannah and I returned to Lima and awaited the arrival of her family all the way from Newport, Oregon. We took them to some “must sees and dos” of Lima, i.e. Plaza de Armas, catacombs, good café con leche, Miraflores, the local market, etc. Shortly thereafter we all departed to Juliaca/Puno (Lake Titicaca) for a few days of adventure on the lake! Suffice it to say that the Casa Andina in Puno was one of the nicest places I have every stayed in Peru. While I cannot say much about Puno the city, the lake itself is breathtakingly beautiful and full of culture. We spent all day Saturday hopping on and off of our tour boat and learning as much as possible about this region and its people. The rain began shortly thereafter and rarely stopped during my remaining days there…(5 beds – 6 weeks).
From there I traveled solo by bus to the great white city of Arequipa…in terms of interest and intrigue this might be my favorite city that I have been lucky enough to travel to in Peru. Arequipa has a heavy Spanish influence (which could have been part of the allure) and it is both interesting to look at and learn about. The majority of my morning was spent in one of the world’s largest monasteries (Santa Catalina) and exploring the main Plaza and surrounding streets. I spent my afternoon on one of the those huge tour buses that I normally can’t stand but I only had one day in Arequipa and was determined to see as much as possible. Not five minutes after boarding the bus the rain began to fall once again, which unfortunately meant heading down to the enclosed cabin below, but all in all it was a great tour and I was able to cover a lot more ground. (6 beds – 7 weeks).
After all of that I finally returned to sea level, scorching temperatures and puddle free streets – packed up all of my belongings that were being indefinitely stored in Debbie’s home office and moved into my new host family’s apartment! Thus far it has far exceeded my expectations and every day I am reassured that I made the right choice – pictures to come.
There you have it : (7 beds – 8 weeks). My intention is to stay put for a few weeks at least, we’ll see how that goes.
For more photos of the real adventure – not just the beds where I recovered from them – you can go to todossomosfamilia.blogspot.com and click on the “Felices Fiestas” on the top right corner.
Hope you all had a wonderful holiday season with friends and family and thank you for your continued support of the YAV program.
Sean Delaney (Elena)