Standing on top of a mountain at the mouth of the Sacred Valley I paused for a few pictures and then turned around to take in the view. Peru had been full of mountains, of treasures big and small, of animals of strange and interesting foods and laughter. Looking down at the wild grass, animals and hills I found myself thinking…I’m on top of the world. And I was.
I’m late in speaking on behla fof Peru as coming home was a bit of a challenge. Between flying into Montreal on my own amidst overflowing anxiety and then having two intense interviews in a row then back to my parents house where I was faced with huge life changing decisions I am moved to just unplug from everything and take a few breaths, as it is important for my mental organization not to make too quick of a decision on any front right now I’m sort of…lost,in a way. I didn’t want to write anything before I knew what was going on.
Peru changed me like any other trip would. I learned so much about ideologies, about people and about cultures that really got me thinking internally, looking inward upon myself and wondering why I am the way I am. Do I need to identify with a religion to practise belief? Do I even think religion is relevant in our day and age or to myself at all? Am I cut out for this globetrotting lifestyle that I have take on and exuded for the past few years and am I realy the kind of person who can live out of a suitcase for an etended period of time? These questions remain unanswered as I have been home for a few weeks now, but I continue to wonder.
I was sitting on a small grassy knoll on the top of Machu Picchu with my guide who was telling me about his life and his beliefs, and while he spoke I overlooked the beauty infront of me, the sun peaking through storm clouds, the ruins of an ancient science lab before me, my bum becoming damp from the morning grass and sweat from climbing the mountain. It had been four hours and eleven days of intense mental, physical, emotional challenges, challenges of patience and of adventure, yes or no’s, keeping my eyes open and constantly being reminded that there is a detail or two left out of my own vision. How important is it to really see? And then my guide asked me what I could see of the “Old Mountain.”
I’ve studied the seven wonders of the world since I was in fourth grade and I remember thinking that it was such a hard thing for someone to say “THIS IS WONDERFUL” and other things were not, and the mountains were incredible, they were huge and foggy in the morning haze, and the grass was real, under my hands and feet, the stones, the people the tourists surrounding me, the llamas and wildlife on the mountain, and I reflected on my trip in a short time, thinking about the people I had met and the conversations that I had experienced. That time I saw the volancoes, the mummies in the dessert the exhilarating feeling of sleeping on a cliff-ridden night bus ascending thousands of feet into the air just to see the magnificence. To see it, yes, but to feel it, to experience it.
I looked back at my guide (his name was Richard and he was lovely) and I said that Machu Picchu feels amazing. And that’s all he needed, and we headed down the mountain and I journeyed back to Cusco to eat nachos and hummus with Devra and our tour guide in a small Americanized restaurant and watching the hills that were lit around the city by small huts and houses and thinking of what it would be like to live in the mountains. Life, it seems, remains exhilaratingly fascinating. It remains worth it.
So, I came home a bit anxious of the things I would be deciding, the things in my life that would make or break my future I guess, and remembering how different our culture is from the Peruvians’. We spent an evening on the top of a mountain with a small Peruvian family who didn’t speak any English and didn’t have any running water or an automated vehicle or anything and they seemed perfectly happy with a radio instead of a tv and soup every meal and salted pancakes, and their chickens that ran around our feet and heavy alpaca-clad blankets on the beds. You surround yourself in your own realm of your life with the things that make the most sense and the most happiness for you, and that is what I have taken from Peru.
I am staying in Canada for the time being, and I am surrounding myself with things that I love for a change. University was amazing, but I had to live on a small relatively unhealthy diet with (sometimes) people I disliked and in a small bed and constantly challenged by academics as well as social situations. I have consciously made the decision to surround myself with beautiful plants, and books on a book shelf that I chose for myself not because I had to read them but because I would like to. I am going to buy a kitchen table, a real one, and I am going to save up for a vacation so that I can live my life. This decision is the best one for me right now.
What am I going to write here? For now I think I’ll write about what’s going on in my life and what kind of things I have been up to. What I am cooking or reading or actively doing. I would like to write about the plays I am seeing and the dates I am going on and the evenings that I love and the moments that make sense to share, and that is what is going to happen. I will share them as I like to, because sometimes it gets hard to write right now, and that’s all I can handle right now.