I have done a lot of thinking lately about friendships and relationships. I consider myself to be extremely outgoing and friendly. I have no problem walking up to someone, introducing myself and starting a conversation. It has proven to be quite an asset at times and I have met some really interesting people. My best friend here in Cusco became my roommate because I overheard her saying she needed a place to stay and offered a room in my apartment. Thank goodness! I am so glad she moved in and we started a great relationship. While I am happy that I can make friends easily, I have also realized that many friendships are fleeting, especially when you live a nomadic English teacher lifestyle in South America. It really sucks to see friends leave but it's inevitable. Gone are the days when people grew up and continued living in the towns they grew up in with all their childhood friends. Of course, I am not saying that we should all stay put and never move around or explore, but there is something to be said about planting oneself and really making it home. Lately, I have been feeling like Cusco has become a home to me and I asked myself why. It wasn't difficult to realize what the most important part of having a place feel like home. It is the relationships that I have with people that make it so homey. I could be anywhere in the world and if I am surrounded by good people and good company I will be happy. Of course, another part of it is that I am very comfortable speaking the language, eating the food, and dancing a LOT. These are all things that I can get in cantidades grandes (large amounts) here in Cusco. I guess what I am saying is that I am grateful for the people that I have met and the friendships that I have made here.
I have also thought about the relationships that I have with people back home. People have asked me if I am homesick at all and while I occasionally get a pang of nostalgia for certain things like the sound of the central fan in my house during the summer, I can't say that I am very homesick. The internet is a great tool that has allowed me to stay in touch with family and friends quite easily. There is still no way to keep in touch with everyone though. Facebook makes keeping in touch extremely easy but at the same time people somehow fall out of contact. It's normal. It's supposed to happen because it's a part of life and if I held an intimate relationship with everyone I was "friends" with on facebook I would have no life. It would be consumed by internet use and that is no way to live. I had the opportunity to talk with my best friend from high school the other day and it was so fantastic catching up with her. We hadn't talked for a little over a year and it was so great to hear what she had been up to and to be able to share with her what my life has become since moving to Peru. It only takes the occasional phone call or email to keep in touch with someone who matters to you. Even though we haven't seen each other in a while I still feel like she is a great friend and that when we do see each other again it will be great. It's nice to know that when (or if) I return to the States, I will have good people to come home to.
In other friends news, I went to a dinner party the other night at my friend Marissa's new place in San Blas. She make enchiladas and tacos. It was super cute because it turned out to be more of a couples dinner party. I was happy that Marco was able to share it and meet some of my friends and eat excellent food too. We discussed the desserts that were possibilities for the restaurant. This delicious picture is a chocolate and peanut butter cake. Mmmm. I felt kind of bad that we were speaking mostly in English because Marco is still pretty novice but he said that he understood a good portion of what was being said even though he didn't get every word. I have no doubt that he will eventually master English. He is a dedicated student in everything he studies. Hmmm maybe that's why I like him so much. :)
I also spent yesterday morning and early afternoon with three of my Maximo friends who I adore, Erica, Jordan, and Corey. We had a brunch with pancakes, fruit, and eggs. I don't laugh as hard with anyone here like I do with them and it makes me incredibly happy. Everyone should have friends that make them laugh really hard. It is really one of the best simple pleasures in the world.
Something that always intrigues me and really makes relationships and friendships the most interesting and what bonds us are the things that don't always come out or get found out until after the superficial stuff has been said. It is the stuff underneath that leaves us vulnerable and our trust in one another that bonds us and makes friendships strong. Trust, loyalty, dependability, and respect are four things that make a great relationship. If that is in place among two people, there is no doubt that the friendship will last and that is what I try and foster with my friends and loved ones. So to all my friends and even if you are an acquaintance, I hope that you feel the love and know that I am grateful for meeting you and if we haven't talked in a while drop me a line, a comment, or a facebook post. Let's catch up. :)
Below are two photos I cropped and played with on iphoto. My old roommates from Saphi and Erica and myself.