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Over a month ago, I embarked on what has become the journey of my life. Leaving my family and home behind, I came back to Cusco with the genuine hope of becoming a better person and perhaps making a small difference by being part of Mosqoy. At first, it was all very difficult. Adjusting to another world with different social norms, attitudes, belief systems, and ways of life proved to be a more daunting and difficult task than I had previously assumed. I missed my family, friends and comforts of being at home. I also pondered whether or not I had the skills required for my role at Mosqoy and whether or not I was truly ready for such an adventure. Luckily, I soon learned three very important things. First, I learned that in order to successfully adjust, I needed to rid myself of the many assumptions I had made since day one. Second, I learned that all new experiences needed to be perceived as everyday learning opportunities and not scary out-of-the-ordinary situations. Third, and perhaps more importantly, I learned that instead of having arrived at a new strange place, I had indeed arrived at a home away from home.

Interestingly enough, and despite my struggle to adjust, it did not take long before all the students at Casa Mosqoy and my fellow Mosqoy team members became my family. Their welcoming smiles, genuine introductions, friendly attitudes, and warm hearts made me feel comforted, safe and not lonely. As the days went by, exchanges about each others’ dreams, goals, life experiences, struggles, and memories allowed me to feel included and acknowledged, while realizing that we were (and are) all on a similar boat: away from home, yet still at home. Now, this is not to say that everything was and has been perfect or rose-coloured since my arrival. Truthfully, when you live with 14 other individuals, all with different personalities and backgrounds under the same roof, nothing is ever as easy as it seems. However, anyone who has lived at Casa Mosqoy will understand me when I say that there lies the true beauty of this place. Despite all differences, struggles, and adjustments, Casa Mosqoy and its inhabitants soon become a safe heaven in strange lands for anyone willing to be part of it.

But O.K., what has made Casa Mosqoy and my time here all of the above? Well, in all honesty, nothing but the smallest, simplest things one could imagine. These include: Alicia’s Monday Night Games and activities during which all of us have a fun time, laugh, express our feelings, and forget about our worries; individual cooking turns when we can share and teach one another how to cook and what to cook; and the simple, everyday interactions bound to happen while in the kitchen or at the table doing some work and even while waiting for one’s turn to go to the bathroom. J Sounds pretty homey, right?

Although there are still tons of things for me to learn here in Peru, I know one thing for sure: I am now part of the family at Casa Mosqoy, and regardless of what happens during my time here, I now have 14 other family members I can count on and relate to as family. Something like this cannot always be found so easily and may only be true in gem-places such as Casa Mosqoy.

Stay tuned for more updates on my adventure as a Mosqoy team member here in Peru!

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