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 lose my breath when golden afternoon strikes the black and white tiles,  the stripes curving and dancing before my eyes ocean air winds its way through the city,  the flag billowing, red and white dancing together i step down an empty alley,  the bustle of the city suddenly cut off by brick walls and […]

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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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