So I’m frustrated. Community is hard. The kids in the comedor didn’t remember to bring their spoons, but instead brought whistles today. The women in the kitchen are blaming me for the ensuing chaos. And there are just so many other things going wrong today.
What do I do?
Everyone has their own routine, their own thing that they do to unwind, to de-stress, to forget the troubles of the day. But in the international setting, many of us have to leave behind some of our more normal de-stressors in search of others. Back in the states I could easily rely on some good tunes or a quick run to get me out of a funk. But in Peru my ipod’s selection has gone stale, and I live in a town built of cobblestones on the side of a mountain which makes any thought of a quick jog somewhat stressful in itself.
So what to do?
Well, I fortunately have a few tricks up my sleeve. Like I said earlier, we live on the side of a mountain. This provides ample opportunity to go for a hike and enjoy the beauty of nature. This is what I decide to do today.
Side note: remember how JVC said no pets and especially no llamas? Yeah, you do. Well, we here in Andahuaylillas have found a way around this pesky rule. Instead of us adopting pets, we had pets adopt us. Two street dogs have decided that the gringos are friendly, and therefore we should be their humans. They go by the names of Yogi and Colitas (meaning ‘little tail’, ironic because she has no tail). The two of them are partners, as far as street dogs can be faithful to one another, and Colitas just gave birth week to a litter of 10 (yes 10!) puppies. Unfortunately only 5 have survived to present day.
So here I am, hiking boots on, water bottle in the backpack, and Yogi at my side. Ready to hike a mountain. 45 min later I have arrived at my destination. A small landing about halfway up the mountain where the Cross of Andahuaylillas stands overlooking the pueblo.
I take a seat next to Yogi and just observe all that is around me. The river that runs through the valley. The corn fields that are in the process of being harvested. The towns of Pucutu, Piñipampa, and Huaro off in the distance.
All of it bigger than me. My perspective has been reset. The stressors in my life are not gone, but something about the immense majestic beauty sitting here in the Andes causes me to realize that li
fe is good. I spend a while longer up on the mountain. When the sun finally disappears behind me the temperature begins to drop, and I realize that I should head back home. Descending the mountain with Yogi still at my side I am content with everything. Content and ready to renter Andahuaylillas, ready to return to my role in the community.